Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Farmgirl: Food Preservation: Freezing Tomatos & HOWDY!

Plans4You Join us in posting about our love of everything FarmGirl!
Yes, I do have a garden!
Lettuce/celery is in the raised bed
beside the garage.
I've never thought of myself as a farmgirl.  I was raised in the city and I love city things a lot, BUT I love farm stuff MORE! I guess it's my "city side" that has me recoiling from the work a farmgirl endures, but I adore all the farming benefits that the hard work and blessings can give! 

While I'm not a farmgirl in reality, I am ONE AT HEART! and I married a farmboy at heart too...and he has a GREEN THUMB~I don't! I've learned to do stuff to complement his talents and labors like canning and food preservation! What true farmgirl at heart doesn't need to know how and to DO this kind of thing? 

Today our garden has blessed us with quite a few fresh LOVELY red tomatos! While there are not as many as last year, we have been blessed.  So how do you LOVE your fresh tomatos? We like a tomato sandwhich~

Here's how:
Mater Sandwhich
  • Slices of fresh tomatos as thick or thin as you like.
  • Mayo~I use Helman's Fat Free (loads less calories!)
  • Black pepper (whatever grind you like~I use finely ground.)
  • Fresh bread (The Southerner way is white bread, but my healthy eating equals whole grain bread choices instead...STILL GOOD!)
  • Salt (I don't use it for health reasons, but if you do~go a head!)
Make sure you put the mayo on both sides of the bread and then pepper (and salt) one side laying the tomato down to cover the bread...NOW, you have a tomato sandwhich! Enjoy!

For preservation, I like to freeze them instead of canning. There's little difference in the taste, texture, and quaility of a frozen tomato from a jar canned one, sooooo because it's sooo much easier, I say FREEZE away!

Here's HOW:

Freezing Tomatos
Before of after you wash them, be sure to cut the hulls out and any "bad" places.
Gather ALL your supplies together before you start.
Supplies BESIDES tomatos:
tongs             2collenders      couple of dish towels    paring knife   
freezer bags   large pot for boiling      CLEAN kitchen ;-))
  • Wash tomatos well...(You can use a vegitable brush if you have it, but the idea is to make sure they are very clean.)

  • Bring to boil a pot of good quaility water. Our water is so hard that we use distilled in our cooking and processing.
  • While the water is coming to a boil, prepare a sink full of chilled water with ice cubes.  This is used to stop the cooking process of the "scalding" so the skins can be removed. I used a pot.

  • Freezer bags (I recommend ZipLoc because they WILL hold up and not come open (yeah, it's happened to me! AND they seems thicker grade.  USE whatever size your family needs to prepare your meals. We use quart b/c gallon is too big, but when I prepare speghetti sauce or the like, we usually use two quarts (1/2 gal) which means we aren't cooking too much if we use gallon and I'm not wasting bags space either if I fill it just 1/2 way. 

  • When the water on the stove comes to a boil, drop each tomato in ONE AT A TIME and remove after about 1-2 minutes~no longer! This will scald them enough to remove the skins so they are better in cooking after being frozen.  Frozen skins toughen as they are waiting for use.  The tough skins don't hurt the flavor, but they sure hurt the texture, so I recomment the scalding and skin removal.

  • After you remove each tomato from the boiling water, IMMEDIATELY place in the ice water which will stop the cooking process and cause the peel to lift from the tomato and make it easier to remove before bagging. 

  • Let them sit in the cool water long enough to cool the tomato and then place in a collender and drain.
  • Use a seperate bowl and peel the skins which should come off easily and put into that bowl.  This can get very messy. I like to have a dish towel on hand to keep the tomato juices from rolling down my arms and elbows and making ME yucky!

  • Once they are all peeled, then you will have fresh tomatos you can either puree in the blender OR chop with a paring knife OR freeze whole.  ALL are fine! In fact, last year, I froze homemade salsa because I didn't want to jar it! It turned out fine; just remember your spicing will become more intense with the freezing method of preservation and so you will want to be sure you don't overdo on the peppers!! OOOWWWEEEE how hot it can get if you're not careful!
OK, so now you know MY JOB for today in my FarmGirl Life...

Are you doing any food preservation from the garden this year?

If you didn't garden this year, you can get food from the farmer's markets or you-pick fields for preservation that is so good~remember FRESH IS BEST!



Katia said...

Thanks for sharing with us today. I do both, can and freeze. I agree the frozen ones have a lot more taste.

IllinoisLori said...

Wow, very cool! I didn't realize that you could freeze them whole like that! And Katia says they have more taste? Hmmmm!

I know I froze my applesauce last year, and made freezer jam w/my blueberries, too, since I was too tired to do the canning. All were delicious. Maybe I'll look into trying tomatoes! Thenyou just thaw and use like canned ones, I suppose, yes?

Great tips! Thanks SO MUCH for joining FFG!
Blessings and {{{HUGS}}},
Lori (aka IllinoisLori at Plans4You)

Illinois Lori said...

Hi there, me again! Just letting you know that I found this one for my project today, and to thank you again for sharing it, LOL!

Blessings and {{{HUGS}}},