Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tomato Day

Last batch a-steamin'
The weather is cooling, which means that it's now possible to spend a day in the kitchen, with steam coming up everywhere, without making the two top floors of the house unlivable.  And as I like to can in big groups and get it over with*, today was the day to can up the 50-some pounds of tomatoes I gathered over the summer.

Now, you would think that scalding and then cooling and then peeling 50# of tomatoes would be an enormous pain in the rear. And you would be right. The cool water never stays cool and so you have to keep adding ice, and the hot water never stays hot so you have to wait after every load, and the scalded tomatoes are hot enough to burn your hands but seemingly not hot enough to allow a good peel.  It's a huge pain every time. Which is why even though that's how garden tomatoes are "supposed" to be processed, that's not the way I do them.  There's a much easier way: freeze them first.

All through the summer, as tomatoes come off the vine, every one that cannot be eaten fresh - which is 90% of them- gets dropped in the freezer. Once it's frozen, it gets put in a 1-gallon freezer bag.  Once the bag is full, it gets moved to the chest freezer downstairs until this special day.

Then when it's time to make salsa and spaghetti sauce, I bring all the bags up and spread the frozen tomatoes all over the counter. When the "frost" melts, the tomato is about 1/4 thawed - mushy on the outside but still kind of frozen on the inside. Time to core it and slide the skin off. Unlike scalded tomatoes, the skin usually comes off in one piece. Then I chop it up, and since the tomato is still mostly frozen, the juice doesn't get all over the place, either.  Once I have a pot full, it's time to get the blender or the mix or whatever I'll be using to make whatever I'm making.

Today it was a case + of pasta sauce and two cases of salsa. That should last a year, which is a good thing. Because not only am I out of tomatoes, with all the pear and applesauce canning Rogue has been doing, I'm out of pint jars as well.

Of course, I could always go buy more. First world problems, FTW.

Enjoy them while they last.

* unlike the lovely and gracious Rogus who, due to her other, louder responsibilities, prefers more and smaller batches.


  1. No Air Conditioning at ElB Acres? John Kerry approves.

    1. John Kerry is bound to be disappointed. The house has AC, though the poor design of the ductwork makes the upstairs tough to cool in the heat of summer. After almost 20 years, we finally stopped fighting it this summer and installed in-room AC units in the two bedrooms upstairs. We only turn them on about an hour before the kids go to bed, tho.