(POSTED: November 1, 2007)
Storing Tomatoes for Winter Use
Idea's for storing tomatoes for winter use, including canning, freezing, preserving and storing fresh tomatoes.
Since the winter is almost upon us again, it is time to think of preserving foods for winter consumption. While gardens are plentiful right now, in a few more months there will be no gardens left. This article will give you some ideas on keeping tomatoes for winter use, by canning, freezing and storing your tomatoes you can enjoy the for an entire year.
Tomatoes are simple to prepare for canning and freezing, particularly if you are short on time. You can always make the canned or frozen tomatoes into chili, pizza or spaghetti sauce later on, when you have more time. Or it is simple to make a fresh batch of sauce each time you fix pasta.
To can tomatoes either in quart or pint jars, first wash your jars and make sure they are sterilized. Set upside down on a dish towel to dry while you are preparing the tomatoes for canning. Heat a large pot of boiling water, and add the fresh tomatoes, several at a time, leaving them in the boiling water until the skins crack. Now immediately remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and put them in a sinkfull of cold water. This step will make it simple to remove the skins.
Now core your tomatoes and remove any other rough spots. Start putting the tomatoes in your jars, just keep adding more tomatoes and crushing down until your jar is filled to within ½ inch from the top. Next add a teaspoon of salt to each quart jar and boiling water to cover the tomatoes. You may need to take a knife and slide it down the sides of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Wipe jars and rims well, making sure to remove any seeds or pulp from the rim. This will keep your jar from sealing. Next cap your jars with a two piece ring and seal.
You will need to process your tomatoes in a boiling water bath canner for 35 minutes. Do not start timing until the water reaches a boil. After the allotted time, remove the hot jars from the boiling water and set out on a dish towel to cool. It is best to not move your jars for 24 hours. You will be able to tell if your jars have sealed if there is a small dent in the top of the lid. If not, stick the jar in the freezer. Be sure to date each jar, and store in a cool, dark place.
Freeze tomatoes using the same steps as above, but you do not have to process the jars. Any tight sealing container will work, whether it be a glass jar or a plastic freezer container. Again be sure to label your containers, and then pop into the freezer.
Okay, well since you now have more basic tomatoes than any person could ever possibly use, lets move on to some other canning ideas using fresh tomatoes.
INDIA RELISH- this makes a great hotdog relish or an accompaniment for other meats
12 cups, peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup salt
4 cups vinegar
3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup mustard seed
2 chopped red peppers
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoons ground cloves
Combine the tomatoes, celery, onions and salt in a large pot for 2 hours. Now add the remaining ingredients and cook slowly until thickened. Fill hot pint jars with this mixture, leaving 1/4 inch. Wipe down and cap. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. This will yield 10 pints.
24 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onions
1 ½ cups chopped sweet green or red peppers
2 hot red peppers
1 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup vinegar
Combine the tomatoes, celery, onions and peppers in a large pot. Cook until the vegetables are soft, this will take about 30 minutes. Press through a food mill. Return to pot and continue cooking until mixture reduces by half, this step will take about 45 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook slowly until mixture is the consistency of catsup, about 1 ½ hours. As this thickens up, be sure to keep stirring frequently to keep the mixture from sticking. Pour into hot jars, straining out the peppercorns, leaving 1/4 inch. Process pints for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. This will make 4 to 5 pints of a very spicy barbecue sauce.
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spice
1 piece of ginger root
4 cups sugar
2 lemons, thinly sliced
3/4 cup water
2 pounds of small, ripe, but firm, peeled tomatoes (do not core)
Tie the spices in a small cheesecloth bag; add this bag to the sugar, lemon slices and water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook gently until the tomatoes become clear-looking. Be sure to stir this occasionally to keep from sticking. Cover this and let it stand for 12 to 18 hours. Reheat to boiling and pack the fruit into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch space. Now remove the spice bag and continue to boil the syrup for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. Pour the syrup over the tomatoes to 1/4 inch. Cap and process for 20 minutes in a hot water bath. This will make 6 half pints.
Okay again you have canned every tomato is sight, but now a frost has hit and you are stuck with a bunch of green tomatoes that will not ripen on the vines. This is when you pick your tomatoes for fresh consumption during the winter months. You will need to wrap each tomato in newspaper and store in a box in a cool, dark place. Your tomatoes will ripen wrapped in the paper. Just be sure to check on these once in a while, because if you have one spoil, it will spread to the others.
Also here is a great recipe using green tomatoes.
HOTDOG RELISH- this is a great relish with the mustard already added.
6 green tomatoes
6 green peppers
6 medium onions
6 medium carrots
Grind these ingredients together, then put in a large pot with;
2 tablespoons salt
3 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar
1 small jar of yellow mustard
Bring this to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
In a second smaller saucepan, cook until thick and smooth.
3/4 cup flour
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
When thick and smooth, add to the vegetables, simmer for a minute or two. Then pack into jars and seal. Put in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. This will make 7 pints.
This should give you some ideas for ways to use the multitude of tomatoes that are available right now. Believe me in the dead of winter you will appreciate the bit of time you take now.