We planted our garden boxes later than we should each year and then we cross our fingers and hope for a huge bounty. We plan on canning and jarring enough homegrown goodness to last us a lifetime!
This hasn't happened yet, but we're working on it. <promise!>
This year we have been picking some decent Roma tomatoes and small cucumbers from the garden. We figured we could clean and blanch the tomatoes and put them in the freezer to make sauce later. The cucumbers were made into refrigerator pickles. Shelby made some last season and they turned out great. She used a different recipe this time and they should be about ready.
I was checking out the tomatoes from our own garden when my mother called and said she had some a customer brought into her barber shop. She'll trade produce, seafood, venison, etc... all kinds of stuff if someone wants a haircut. She dropped off a box of of huge, ripe tomatoes with some other vegetables! I picked out a few that were too "ripe" and washed them off. The rest I put aside till we decided what we were going to do with them.
After a day or two we decided to go ahead and blanch, then freeze the tomatoes. Shelby likes to make her own tomato sauce at home, she'll put them in a pot all to stew and it makes the whole house smell great. We had a bunch of tomatoes so I blanched them in a couple of batches. Here's all you'll need:
- 1 Large Pot
- 1 Large Bowl with ice water
That's it--of course water and tomatoes but I really don't need to say that right?
Fill the pot enough to cover the tomatoes with about 2 inches of water and for every cup of water put about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Put the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds then removed them from the pot and immediately places them in the ice bath. This will stop the cooking process and keep the tomatoes firm.
After they sit in the ice bath for approximately 45 seconds remove them from the ice bath and remove the skins. You'll notice that the skin has started to peel by itself, it will easily separate from the flesh. Pick off stem or other parts you don't want to save from the outside.
What I do afterwards is cut the tomato in half and then gently squeeze it to remove the seeds from the inside chambers. That's it. I ended up with about 4 1/2 pounds of prepared tomatoes that were put in the freezer for later use. Easy!