How To: Stew and Freeze Tomatoes


I am still not 100% up on canning tomatoes. There are many issues with trying to put them up, the first obviously being you can’t get them to reach the correct PH level of acidity to not have serious problems later on.

After picking bags of them in the garden last weekend, they were reaching the point of needing to be used or tossed. Having so many still, throwing them out and being wasteful was not an option. Mama J suggested freezing and provided the following tips.

Bring a stock pot half full (the weight of the tomatoes will raise water levels) to a hard rolling boil. Fill another pot (or just your sink) with ice and water.
Carefully but quickly roll your tomatoes into the boiling water. If they have soft spots are ickies as you can see from mine above – that’s fine, but leave the skin on !
After one minute or as the skin begins to slightly pucker scoop them up and place in the ice bath. I used my canning rack (wire rack) as it pulled all of them out at once so they didn’t sit longer in the water.

Take an old wide-mouthed vase and insert a ziplock freezer bag into it, folding the edges about 2-3 inches down the side. Place canning funnel on top. These are wider and allow chopped veggies to pass through without getting stuck.

Take one of your tomatoes, place gently in the palm of your hand and slice off the top root part and bad or soft spots. Stick knife into meat and gently pinch off the skin. It’s that easy. It simply lifts right off. Coarsely chop tomatoes on a cutting board and scoop up with slotted spoon. This allows extra juice and seeds to stay on the board. If you want the seeds and juice scrape meat off-board and into baggies (this is where the vase and funnel really help prevent large messes). I sit my board on a large platter to allow juice and seeds to drip off. These do get messy when cutting. The outer shell will be slightly mushy (closest to removed skins) and the inner meat will have that nice stewed tomato consistently. Firm but not like a fresh-cut tomato.

I fill my bags about 3/4 up as these can be used as the base for stews, soups, chili and even salsa.

See no mess. It also makes it easier to seal with out juice going everywhere. I flip the edge up once full and seal almost to the end. Gently I squeeze out as much air as possible. Now if you are planning a specific meal from these you can add your spices, onions chilies or peppers now. Because I didn’t have a specific recipe in mind I opted to freeze several bags plain, and one smaller bag with peppers and jalapeno. That one is going to be salsa.

Into the freezer they go! I lay flat and place a few ice cubes or something at the head of the bag to just curl it up a little – this keeps the contents about an inch or two from the top. Always handy to prevent future messes! Once completely frozen they can be stood up in your storage freezer as they are compact flat and airtight !

 

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