Do you have tomatoes galore? Try freezing or canning.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is bursting with tomatoes of all shapes, sizes and even colors. If you shop around you may find a deal on bulk quantities of tomatoes that you can preserve for use this winter. Freezing is the easiest method of home food preservation, and, if you have extra freezer space to fill, it isn’t costly.
To freeze tomatoes you’ll want to blanch them to remove the skin. Cut an X in the blossom end of your tomatoes and put 6-8 at a time in boiling water until you see the skins begin to split away from the pulp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes into a bowl of ice water. When they are cool to the touch peel off the skin and core them. Freeze whole or cut in smaller pieces. For better texture and flavor stew the tomatoes for 10-20 minutes by cooking the peeled and cored tomatoes in a covered pan before freezing. Having the tomatoes as cold as possible before placing in the freezer will result in a better product, so place the pan containing the cooked tomatoes in cold water to cool. Pack into freezer containers leaving 1 inch space at the top of the container to allow for expansion when frozen. Label and date; use within one year.
Tomatoes can also be preserved in a boiling water bath or pressure canner. If you’ve never used a canner before come down to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, August 21 (2103), for a demonstration of canning in a boiling water bath. Canning procedures and recipes for canning tomatoes, including juice, stewed, salsa, spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce and the Tomato Ketchup recipe below can be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation web site: www.homefoodpreservation.com.
Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering a hands-on food preservation class: Canning Salsa, Monday, September 9, 6-8:30 pm in Ballston Spa. For more information and to register call 885-8995.
24 pounds ripe tomatoes*
3 cups chopped onions*
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
3 cups cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
4 teaspoons whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon, crushed
1-1/2 teaspoons whole allspice
3 tablespoons celery seeds
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup salt
Yield: 6 to 7 pints
If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning and Using Boiling Water Canners found at www.homefoodpreservation.com.
Procedure: Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Dip in cold water. Slip off skins and remove cores. Quarter tomatoes into 4-gallon stock pot or a large kettle. Add onions and red pepper. Bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes, uncovered. Combine spices in a spice bag and add to vinegar in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to boil. Cover, turn off heat and hold tomato mixture for 20 minutes. Then, remove spice bag and combine vinegar and tomato mixture. Boil about 30 minutes. Put boiled mixture through a food mill or sieve. Return to pot. Add sugar and salt, boil gently, and stir frequently until volume is reduced by one-half or until mixture rounds up on spoon without separation. Fill pint jars, leaving 1/8-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (add 5 minutes if you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet).
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. For information about food and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.