August 14th Farm News
"A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins."
Laurie Colwin, ‘Home Cooking’
This week, I'm going to talk a bit about preserving the bounty - specifically the bounty of tomatoes. We have three different tomatoes products that we see as essential to our larder: plain tomato sauce (canned), oven-roasted tomatoes (frozen), & frozen tomatoes.
For our plain tomato sauce, we use a Squeezo Strainer. We find using a food strainer is the quickest (& sometimes, the messiest) way to process a lot of tomatoes at once. You simply cut whole tomatoes into pieces that fit into the strainer, and it separates the seeds and skin from the pulp and juice. (We use the medium sized strainer for our sauce.) This liquid can then be cooked down to your desired consistencyThe sauce is then added to warm, clean jars. To ensure safe acidity, we add 1 Tbsp lemon juice to a pint and 2 Tbsp lemon juice to a quart. Then, they head into the canner! For more details on this process, visit: http://newlifeonahomestead.com/simple-tomato-sauce-canning-recipe/.
My FAVORITE tomato product for the winter time is oven-roasted tomatoes. This recipe is from a great book, The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. You can roasted with or without the garlic or herbs. The olive oil is key!! We usually make up a few different batches (think Italian seasonings, Mexican seasonings...).
Roasted Tomatoes for the Freezer
6 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and halved
1 head of garlic cloves, separated and peeled
Fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line two jelly-roll pans with parchment paper.
2. Lay the tomatoes on the tray, cut side up. Scatter the garlic cloves over the tomatoes, then scatter the herbs. Give both trays a shake of salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil.
3. Roast for 5 hours. Remove and let cool. Pour the contents of the trays, including the olive oil and juices, into freezer bags. Store in the fridge, covered for 3 days or in the freezer in freezer bags for 4 to 6 month.
The third item we preserve is just plain on frozen tomatoes. Cut in half, quarters, or diced. We even freeze excess cherry tomatoes! These go straight into quart of gallon freezer bags to be added to soups or stews - or turned into sauce at a less busy time of year.
Speaking of preserving tomatoes... our tomato patch will be open for u-pick for our members at our potluck this coming Friday! Bring a box, and be ready to get a little dirty. (The tomato plants like to leave behind their yellow/green tomato tar on your skin.) If you plan on harvesting, please come around 5:30pm!
Lauren & Craig