Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Preserving stewed tomatoes

These last few days have been a flurry of preserving.
I can't say how pleased I am with the heirloom tomatoes this year. I think my favourite so far is the Franchi pear tomato...well, my favourite for canning, for eating my new favourite is the silvery fir.I got started on stocking up on stewed tomatoes. This is my favourite thing to have in the freezer and we simply cannot have enough of them. This year we have one large freezer which will be dedicated solely to stewed tomatoes. I use them in almost everything that I cook - soups, sauces, casseroles, etc. I cook up peppers, onions, garlic and zucchini from the garden while I skin the tomatoes. Add them together and cook for awhile. I usually add some parsley and salt to all and sometimes basil. If I was an organized sort of person I would mark some Italian and some Mexican and add the appropriate herbs - cilantro, basil, etc.- but, sadly, I'm not that sort of person. Although now that I've written that I am going to endeavor to be organized and do that because it sounds like a really good sort of idea.Here is the first batch ready for the freezer. They are frozen in plastic yogurt tubs. Last year in an anti-plastic fit I started off freezing them in glass jars and quickly realized that they take a lot more room that way so I went back to yogurt tubs. The other thing I learned was that with the glass jars I had to take them out ahead of time to thaw (like I said, I am not that organized, dinner time would often find me stabbing at the frozen contents of a jar trying to break chunks off to thaw more quickly) whereas with the plastic containers I can run them under hot water and pop the frozen lump into a pan. I also fill plastic freezer bags and then freeze them flat on a cookie sheet. That way I can stack loads of them in the freezer.

I really recommend doing this if you have the time. The taste of this garden ripe goodness is what makes our meals.


Amanda said...

That looks so good! I am still recovering from my first failed tomato soup attempt from the first ripe tomatoes out of my garden. I am mourning the loss of so many of those delicious beautiful tomatoes.... booo hooo hoo. Once I am over it though, I am going to try this - well perhaps minus the zucchini and garlic ;-).

denise said...

OH YUM! We don't have quite that many tomatoes yet but we plan to make a lot of stuff to freeze for the fall/winter. Good idea with the yogurt tubs!

Heather said...

What happened to your soup, Amanda? I noticed that Simply in Season has a tomato soup recipe.

Yola said...

Today is one of the most fulfilling days of the season for me. The storm is brewing - out to the garden I charge with buckets and bags. With cold hands I pick tomatoes, peppers, basil plants. Into the pot they go and out comes the stuff of which winters are made. Hot stewed tomatoes with garlic, onions, celery, peppers, basil, salt and a little cajun spice. Today I will be happily cooking over steaming pots and dreaming of that first snow (which could come tonight!) Thanks for the recipe and a wonderful website!