Hello Spring! Before long the iconic tastes of summer will be abundant. As any gardener knows, nothing quite stands up to a homegrown tomato. They will also tell you that once tomatoes start growing, there is no stopping them. Many people end up with so many tomatoes by the end of summer, that they can’t find enough people to pawn them off on. As plentiful as they are in the summer, we are all sad to see them go as soon as fall rolls around. This summer, when your garden, neighbors and friends start sharing an abundance of tasty tomatoes with you, try these easy recipes to preserve them for the winter. This will keep them from going to waste as well as fulfill your cravings in the winter when supermarket tomatoes just fail to hit the spot. Enjoy!
Before we get into the recipes, here is a link that outlines the basics of canning, whether you are a first time canner, or just need a refresher; this website is a phenomenal resource: Canning Basics
When canning, the processing time can vary depending on your elevation. Here is a chart to help out:
If you would rather stay away from canning, you can still follow these recipes, but opt to freeze the finished product.
Now for the recipes
You may use as many tomatoes as you like, keep in mind that it takes about 3 pounds of tomatoes to produce 1 quart of tomato juice.
1. Wash tomatoes. Cut away any bruises. No need to core or seed them.
2. Quarter all of your tomatoes and add a handful of them to a large pot on a high temp.
3. Crush them with a masher as you stir.
4. Slowly add the remaining quartered tomatoes, allowing each handful to come to a high temperature before adding more. Crush as you go.
5. Simmer all of the tomatoes for at least 5 minutes.
6. After simmering, strain the mixture to remove seeds/skins.
7. Bring the strained juice back to a boil and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stirring often.
8. If you are simply going to freeze your tomato juice, take it off the heat, let it cool and portion it into freezer bags. Freeze for up to a year. If you are going to can your tomato juice read on:
9. Acidify jars. This is a very important, yet simple step. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart jar before adding the tomato juice.
10. Carefully spoon hot tomato juice into quart jars, leaving about ½ of space before the top.
11. Wipe down jars and rims before putting lids on.
12. Process in a water bath. Process for about 40 minutes. Adding appropriate time for elevation.
Sun Dried Tomatoes
You can use any variety of tomato, but roma tomatoes work best and take the shortest amount of time.Don’t be afraid to play with different herbs and spices when making your sun dried tomatoes!
1. Wash your tomatoes and cut away the tough area where the stem originates.
2. Slice your tomatoes into slices about 2 cm thick. Try to keep the cuts as even as possible so that cooking time is more similar.
3. Place slices close together on an oven safe stainless-steel wire rack. This allows for airflow unlike a tradition oven sheet.
4. Sprinkle slices with salt, about 2 teaspoons. Crush 4 cloves of garlic and place them around the rack. Add sprigs of whatever fresh/dried herbs you have handy. I prefer to use basil, thyme and a touch of rosemary.
5. Place rack in oven and bake at the lowest temperature your oven will go, typically about 170 degrees.
6. Bake for 2 hours and then check on them, they won’t be done yet, but opening the oven will allow additional airflow. Proceed to check on them every 2 hours for about 8 hours.
7. Some tomatoes will dry faster than others so remove individual slices as they finish.
8. Your finished sun dried tomatoes can be frozen or stored in olive oil in the fridge. The drier they are, they longer they will last, up to a year.
Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
5 lbs of paste tomatoes See Varieties Here
1 lb mild green chili peppers
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1-3 lemons, for juice
1. Wash, core, peel and de-seed tomatoes. Cut tomatoes into large cubes, about 6 cubes per tomato. Add tomatoes to large pot on high heat.
2. Wash and remove the stem and seeds of the chili peppers. Finely chop the peppers and add them to the tomatoes.
3. Add seasoning to pot and bring to boil. Simmer for at least 10 minutes.
4. If you are simply going to freeze, take mixture off the heat, let it cool and portion in it into freezer bags. Freeze for up to a year. If you are going to can your diced tomatoes and chilies read on:
5. Acidify jars. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint jar, or 2 tablespoons per quart jar.
6. Carefully spoon the hot mixture into each jar, leaving ½ inch of space.
7. Wipe down jars and rims, put on lids.
8. Add jars to a water bath and process for 40 minutes. Adding appropriate time for elevation.
Marinara or Pizza Sauce
18 pounds paste or roma tomatoes
1 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3/4 cup lemon juice
1. In a large pot, sauté the onion, garlic, and salt in the olive oil.
2. While those are cooking, wash, peel, core, de-seed and quarter your tomatoes.
3. Add tomatoes to pot and cook for at least 5 minutes on a high heat. Crush them as you stir.
4. Use a blender or hand blender to puree mixture until smooth.
5. After pureed, add herbs and spices and simmer for 20 minutes as the mixture reduces. Stir often.
6. If you are simply going to freeze, take mixture off the heat, let it cool and portion in it into freezer bags. Freeze for up to a year. If you are going to can your sauce, read on:
7. Acidify jars. Add 2 tablespoon of lemon juice into each quart jar. (1 tablespoon per pint jar)
8. Pour hot mixture into jars, leaving ½ of space.
9. Wipe down the jars and rims, apply lids.
10. Process in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. Don’t forget to add time according to elevation.