>> Tuesday, September 1, 2009
How do you make your stewed tomatoes? Denise and I were having a conversation the other day about making tomato juice, sauce and more. We discussed that sometimes parts of the tomato goes to waste. I am sure there are better methods where you can use the juice, and the other parts but for us beginners and for ease of use the way I am about to show you has been the easiest for me when making stewed tomatoes. My Lasagna Garden is about done but I found a wealth of tomatoes from a close source and so the tomato canning/freezing continues.
The first thing you want to do is remove the skins because they become hard and yucky in when cooked. To do this boil a big pot of water and drop some of the tomatoes into it for 45 sec to 1 min. to blanch. If you have time making a big X on the bottom of the tomato can help to peel but I found that you really don't have to do so. I use tongs and grab the tomato out of the boiling water and place it in a bowl full of cold water. Most places will tell you it should have ice in it but I have found that using cold water from my tap has been fine. Place the tomato in there and then place more in the boiling water. Grab the ones out from the cold water and place in another bowl. And then just keep repeating until all your tomatoes are blanched. It takes only a few minutes. Below is a picture of what the tomatoes will look like when you blanch them. Notice the skins are coming off.
Now is the really messy part. I sat at the kitchen table and had a cutting board, a sharp knife, a clean bowl and a bowl for the discarded parts. Yes I find I use a lot of bowls. Being very careful because it is slippery peel off the skins and take the knife and core or cut off stem. Then cut in half (small) or quarters (bigger, rounder). Take your fingers (or a core scoop, fingers worked better) and just scrap out the seeds and take the harder whitish flesh with it. That doesn't break down in cooking.
This Roma type tomato is an easy tomato to de-seed. Below you see what a bigger, rounder tomato will look as you de-seed it.Once you have your tomatoes all done then comes the fun part. You get to really get dirty. You can use a potato masher of any other type of masher if you like and I do use those as I cook but for this first part you just stick you clean hands in the tomatoes and squish away.
Try taking a picture while squishing tomatoes....:). Once you are done squishing then put them into a pot and cook down. I put them on the lowest setting and slowly let them simmer apart. Stir every once and awhile and continue to break the tomatoes down with a masher if you don't want any chunks of tomato left. My family doesn't like the chunks so I break it down as much as I can. After you get the consistency you want you are ready to can or freeze. I made mine into spaghetti sauce and here you can see the product about an hour into the cooking. I will let this simmer for several hours and then cool slightly before I freeze it this evening.
A quick note. If you find you don't have enough tomatoes to make sauce then you can use what you have and add a few cans of tomato sauce. I did that with my first few batches because I didn't have enough tomatoes ripe to make a batch to freeze.