Harvesting tomatoes in great quantities is what we look forward to. Storing the summer goodness to use in the dead of winter is a great way to save money and provide your family with nutritious meals.
When it comes to mid to late August in the northern hemisphere, we are usually inundated with tomatoes and it’s time to do something with them. Canning has always been a popular method of dealing with this bounty, but there are other, less time consuming methods available.
Saving the summer goodness for the winter is easy to do after harvesting tomatoes begins.
Since most of the uses for other than fresh tomatoes is in sauces, making sauce and freezing it is easy to do. If you have a lot of tomatoes to process, a tomato strainer will save you lots of time. Simply halve or quarter the tomatoes and feed hem through the strainer.
Seeds and skins come out one end and the juice comes out the other. Put the juice in a large non-reactive pot and simmer slowly until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Cool the sauce and put it into freezer containers, pop it in the freezer and you have sauce to use all winter long.
Another method for harvesting tomatoes is to freeze them whole to use in cooking. To remove the skin or not is up to you. Removing the tomato skins is easily accomplished by dipping them briefly in boiling water and removing them with a paring knife. They can be cut up or left whole and placed in freezer containers.
Harvesting tomatoes in many countries includes drying the tomatoes. They can then be stored in oil or dry. Drying tomatoes can be done with a food dehydrator or by setting them out in the sun to dry naturally. In either case, the tomatoes are sliced thinly and place on screens until they are thoroughly dry.
Inevitably, at the end of the season we have some green tomatoes left over. If you are one that likes fried green tomatoes, have them that way. There are recipes for green tomato relish and chutney that you can try to use up the green tomatoes.
They can also be brought in and ripened artificially by putting them in a covered fruit bowl or paper bag with an apple or a banana. The apples and bananas naturally give off ethylene gas which will ripen the tomatoes.