This is a great problem to have and, there are several solutions to this abundance besides eating tomato sandwiches three times a day. Tomatoes are easy to “preserve” for later uses, by freezing or canning, making pickled or jellied products. Make your own tomato sauce for pizza or pasta dishes, use tomatoes as an ingredient in soups or stews. . . or make holiday gifts of green tomato pickles or red tomato preserves.
A really delicious product to eye and palate is Oscar Relish, which is composed of tomatoes, peaches, onions, green peppers, pickling spices, hot pepper sauce, cider vinegar and brown sugar. Red tomato preserves remind me of strawberry preserves. I used to make a case of pint jars for my Mother-In-Law every year for Christmas.
Well, do I can or freeze tomatoes to preserve them? It depends on the amount of tomatoes you have, what type of equipment you have and know how to use, storage space and product you want to make.
Freezing is very quick and easy. It works well when you have a small quantity, too. Wash tomatoes under running water. Dip in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Core and peel. Freeze whole or in pieces. Pack into containers, leaving 1-inch headspace. Seal and freeze. Use for cooking as tomatoes will not be solid when thawed. To use to make vegetable soup, drop frozen tomatoes in with the other ingredients while cooking. No need to thaw in the refrigerator ahead.
Do you like stewed tomatoes? Cook peeled and quartered tomatoes for 10 to 20 minutes, until tender. Cool and pack into containers. You can also choose to cook tomatoes until they are thick (sauce or paste), then package and freeze to reduce the amount of freezer space used. Store at 0 F or below. Freezing is easy and you will have fewer food safety issues.
If you choose to can tomatoes, give us a call. There are specific processing times for boiling water bath and/or pressure canner methods. Tomatoes also must be “acidified” to have the proper pH for room temperature storage in canning jars. Tomatoes are lower-acid than they used to be. If you are canning in the middle of the night, use your computer and go to the UGA website for food preservation – it is the national site and has all the latest tested recipes and methods. (www.homefoodpreservation.com) I will be glad to talk to you during the day.
Preserving the food that you cannot eat fresh because you have too much prevents waste and saves money, too.