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An (almost) effortless way to preserve tomatoes.

I remember my mother and maternal grandmother dipping tomatoes in cauldrons of boiling water and then in ice water to slip the skins. Then peeling and mushing some of them through a colander to remove seeds and produce liquid. Then placing whole peeled ones in jars and filling h the liquid, sealing and processing in a waterbath. The result was used all winter and provided many a good wholesome meal for the family.

While I would love to follow them I just do not have time. To use the time I have properly, I pick my tomatoes when red. I soak in a sink of water with a tablespoon of bleach for an hour and then drain and rinse.

I save bread wrappers all winter. I place the whole tomatoes (I may trim a bad spot or a cracked shoulder) in the wrapper and tie off and freeze. This vastly reduces the time and labor involved.

During the winter I remove them from the freezer and thaw in a stainless steel bowl. I use tomatoes for stews or sauces or soups or chill. I also freeze the small 1 " salad tomatoes, but more about these later.

The Bruhn hand mixer

When ready to begin cooking the larger tomatoes, I use a Bruhn hand mixer to mix and pulverize the skins and some, but not all, seeds. At the same time air is whipped in and thickens the liquid. While I have not tested the liquid chemically for solids/dissolved solids/pH etc., I do contend the flavor is more intense and the smell is the same as that of tomatoes fresh from the garden.

The thickening also facilitates much shorter cooking time. In fact we heat the juice, now thickened to a sauce by the hand held blender, add the herbs and other ingredients, warm for 15-30 minutes, and serve over spaghetti.

They're not boiled or simmered. This decrease in boiling and cooking time maintains the fresh taste and keeps things healthier. The taste and aroma instantly transports you back to your garden regardless of the snow piled outside.

The freezing does mush up the insides. But with the lack of boiling the small 1 " salad, when heated, can replace the stewed tomatoes my dad dearly loved many years ago. just heat and serve in a bowl. While not as firm as the canned ones, they retain more of the fresh flavor and are much less work and require much less energy to process.

They can be left whole for soups/stews etc., if added about 10 minutes before serving.
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Title Annotation:freezing
Author:Shover, James G.
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:Experiments with potatoes.
Next Article:Raising squab for the homestead table.

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