Monday, September 29, 2008

Ways with Tomatoes (an answer to a comment)

photo courtesy of World Community
Here is a question I received in a comment section here on my site.

"how do preserve sauce from tomatoes in garden,freeze it?"

That is a very good question. It is very easy to answer. I would never freeze tomato sauce even though you could; to me it gets very watery after it is thawed and I do not like watery tomato sauce. I would just can it like any other fruit or vegetable you would can.

Tomatoes are very versatile in the canning department. You can make tomato sauce, tomato puree, spaghetti sauce, salsa, soup, and so much more. My favorites when I have a ton of tomatoes is making spaghetti sauce and canning it so I have a good supply all year round since we eat quite a bit of pasta. You can even process plain tomatoes to be used for something else later; it is very easy.

Here are my tips for canning tomatoes:

1. Pack tomatoes in halves or quarters in pint or quart jars and use the hot water bath canning procedure. Tomatoes are so simple; you just wash, peel, cut, and fill the jars. You can either can with raw pack (simply cutting and packing in jars) or you can do a hot pack.
To do a hot pack, you just cut as directed for raw pack; but, then you will boil the tomatoes for about 2 minutes to get them hot and pack liquid and all plus 1/2 tsp salt for each pint jar and 1 tsp salt to every quart jar and process in hot water canner.

2. You can can any spaghetti sauce recipe when you put it in hot jars, just process for 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts.

3. Tomato ketchup can be made from many recipes and then process them for 5 minutes for pints and 10 minutes for quarts. If you find you use alot of ketchup at home, you can make your own ketchup and save bunches of money and it is better for you too. Roma tomatoes make excellent ketchup because the puree is thicker because Romas contain less water than other tomatoes. (Romas are also excellent for tomato paste because of this reason).

4. Salsa is great to prepare ahead and process in a canner. It is similar to a chutney in preparation and processing times. Normally salsa takes about 15 minutes to process both pints and quarts.

5. Get a good canning cookbook so you can see all kinds of varieties of ways with tomatoes. They are inexpensive and are a huge resource about canning just about anything. I use Putting Food By and it is a wonderful book for canning and freezing food. There are many others available but this is what I have found to be quite comprehensible.

That should get you started for now on tips, if anyone needs anything else, do not hesitate to ask! Thanks for your question!


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