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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Continuing Preserving Tomatoes & Pizza Sauce

We are in the midst of processing tomatoes which will likely continue to at least the end of the weekend. It is a lot of work so I won't kid you by saying it isn't. I think one of the worst things about the tomato season are the fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). While these tend to be one of my favourite critters for scientific reasons I prefer them not flitting around my house! Oh well a few more days and the pantry will be filled will all kinds of great tomato products so they will be on their way.

freezing tomatoesFreezing Tomatoes

There was about 6 quarts of prepared tomatoes left over from canning the salsa and chili sauce so I decided to freeze them. By far freezing tomatoes is my least favourite method for preserving tomatoes. In my case tomatoes are home grown or free. They take up too much valuable room in the freezer that can be best used for meats and other produce that doesn't can well. Canning tomatoes makes the anti-oxidant lycopene more accessible to the body so they are a healthier product than frozen tomatoes. At any rate, I froze two 1 large zipper style bags of the left over peeled and chopped tomatoes. I like zipper style freezer bags for shorter term storage usually under 1 month. For storage longer than than my choice is vacuum sealing.

tomato pureéTomato Purée

There was a half hamper of tomatoes remaining so I decided to make pizza sauce. Many sauces start out using a tomato purée. The quickest and easiest way to make a tomato purée is to use a food mill or strainer. Pictured is my manual food strainer. Tomatoes are fed through the hopper at the top. Turning the handle (lower right) forces the tomatoes through a screen that removes the skins and seeds that are discarded through a tube while the purée falls through the shoot. The tomato purée is then ready for freezing as is or turning into sauces for canning or freezing.

Pictured in the background is my treasured pie keeper. Years ago my husband and I did a lot of ceramics including this pie keeper. It will hold a deep homemade pie. This beloved piece was made by my husband as a gift to me. It is signed Merry Christmas 1985 with from him to me with both of our names and a lot of XO's. I think the glaze used was called oatmeal meant to accent the set of homemade dishes I made that are lighter in colour in a glaze called eggnog. Both glazes are speckled. I'll have to share pictures of those as well. I still do the occasional piece of ceramics when I want something unique and personal.

drying tomato skinsDrying Prep

A side product from making tomato purée is the waste that some will throw out. Throwing out is extremely wasteful so should be avoided if at all possible. The waste can be added to your compost pile where it will give back in the form of compost. However, the waste can also be dried then powdered for tomato powder.
The tomato waste consists of skin, seeds and sometimes a bit of pulp. It is a good idea to run the tomato waste through the food strainer again to remove any pulp you can. The remaining tomato waste is then spreadin a thin layer on a parchment lined baking sheet for oven drying or onto dehydrator sheets if using a dehydrator. The tomato waste is then dried at 145ºF until completely dry. Once the tomato waste is dried break it into pieces, place in a food processor or blender to powder the dried tomato. Vacuum seal your jars of tomato powder. Use the powder to enhance the flavour of soups, stews, meatloafs, breads and ground beef dishes. It is also good sprinkled on salads or used s a garnish.

pizza saucePizza Sauce

Homemade pizza sauce is one product that is a must have on your pantry shelves. I made a batch of homemade pizza sauce for canning with a yield of 10 - 250 ml jars. At our consumption rate I will need to made 2 more batches which amounts to about 1½ hampers of tomatoes. The 250 ml size (about 1 cup) is the perfect amount for 2 homemade pizzas. Pictured are the processed and cooled jars ready for labeling and storage. I think it looks lovely in the jars but then I'm a bit biased.

Canning seems like a lot of works and some days it is but I can't describe what it feels like to see the filled jars cooling on the counter. I honestly can't think of any home canned food that doesn't look wonderful in the jars, feeding your eyes and tantalizing your tastebuds before even opening the jars. That eye appeal just stimulates and inspires me not only to can but also to use all the great home canned food we make.

2 food lovers commented:

Stephanie said...

What a good idea to make tomato powder! We've been giving it to the chickens -- I don't consider that waste since it comes back to us in eggs.

Are you feeding the tomatoes thru raw, or have you cooked them first? I have a food mill like yours this year, to replace my old foley mill.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Stephanie and thanks for visiting. Tomato powder is really a nice, versatile product to have in your pantry. Congratulations on your new food mill. I'm sure you will enjoy it. The tomatoes were fed through the food mill raw for the pizza sauce. However for other sauces I've used cooked tomatoes. It all depends on the desired sauce.