Thanks to all old-time our followers from TomatoJam the HOW TO: TOMATOES is BACK!
This is a simple guide to what to do with Tomatoes, by all mens it’s not 100% comprehensive and of course, if all else fails you can always make a sauce, salsa or a jam !
And If you still have a ton of green tomatoes try pickling or jamming!
Pick a Tomato
Store Fresh Tomatoes
Which cooking tools are non-reactive?
Pick a Tomato:
Lets start with the basics: What are you preparing? For stuffing, choose evenly shaped tomatoes without bruises; for saucing, jamming or making salsa, shapes and bruises are not important.
For salads choose tomatoes that smell fresh, the aroma will pretty much hint you of the taste.
Red tomatoes with deep green stripes are a sure sign that they’ve been left to ripen naturally.
If your tomatoes are still on the vine, check the state of the stem & leaves, do the look fresh? dark? brownish? Remember to discard the stem since the leave & vines are poisonous.
Store your tomatoes at room temperature, NEVER REFRIGERATE or you will loose the great taste; the sugars tend to break down, the juices dry and the consistency becomes overall “gummy”.
To Peel Tomatoes:
Cut a 1 inch cross on the top of the tomato. Prick the stem side of the tomato with a fork, submerge for 15- 20 seconds in a pot with boiling water. Immediately submerge under cold running water or a bowl with ice water. Carefully peel off skin.
To Roast Tomatoes:
Cut tomatoes in 1/2 inch wedges, mix with olive oil, balsamic vinegar salt, pepper and the spices of your choice. Place in a shallow pan and broil in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
To Can Tomatoes:
Select only disease-free, preferably vine-ripened, firm fruit for canning. Do not can tomatoes from dead or dying vines. Unripe tomatoes are more acidic than ripened fruit and can be canned safely with any of the following recommendations. Treat all ripe tomatoes (yellow, green, pink, orange, red, etc.) the same way. To ensure safe acidity levels in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes use the following recommendations:
Acid for 1 Pint / 1Quart
Choose one of the following:
Bottled lemon juice 1 Tablespoon / 2Tablespoons
2 Tablespoons /4 Tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon1/2 teaspoon
Add acid directly to the jars before filling with product. If desired, add up to 1 Tablespoon of sugar per quart to offset acidic taste. Vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes. The use of salt is optional in all canned tomato products. Salt is used in canning only for flavor or color protection.
Whole or Halved Tomatoes:
Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split, then dip in cold water. Slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halve. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars. See acidification directions. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars.
Crushed Tomatoes (no added liquid):
Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split, then dip in cold water. Slip off skins and remove cores. Trim off any bruised or discolored portions and quarter. Heat one-sixth of the quarters quickly in a large pot, crushing them with a wooden mallet or back of a knife as they are added to the pot. This will draw off some juice. Continue heating the tomatoes, stirring to prevent burning. As soon as the tomatoes are boiling, gradually add remaining quartered tomatoes, stirring constantly, these remaining tomatoes do not need to be crushed. They will soften with heating and stirring. Continue until all tomatoes are added, then boil gently 5 minutes. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars. See acidification directions. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars. Fill jars immediately with hot tomatoes, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process jars.
The acidity of the tomato will deteriorate many materials like aluminum and non-stick pots & pans. It is highly recommended to use 18/10 steel or enameled surfaces instead . To stir it is best to use wooden spoons, just remember to keep some spoons for savory recipes and some for sweet.
The best way to keep tomatoes frozen is to lightly “stew” them. Quarter your tomatoes and remove the seeds (if desired). Place in a non-reactive pot on medium heat with 1 cup of water or the stock of your choice per every 2 cups of tomatoes. Add basil, oregano, salt & pepper to taste. Let it cook till it reduces to half of the original content. You can use this mix as a base for pasta or pizza sauce. It preserves very well in the freezer for long periods of time.