Here in sunny Queensland you can grow toms almost year round, but traditionally summer is the season for harvesting tomatoes. Even in Queensland they are at their best, and CHEAPEST, in the warmest months of the year. I’ve got one lot of plants just starting to fruit, and another variety of seeds all set to put in the ground…well as soon as I get my A into G and dig a new bed :-p I’m all for procrastinating in summer.
Ah, swimming and ciders on a hot day.
While I’m patiently waiting for my fruit to be ready, and getting ridiculously excited at the appearance of these little green globes, I’m stocking up at the markets. $12 for just over 10kg of tomatoes! Bargain baby.
But what on earth do you do with a glut of tomatoes? You get to bottling, of course! Here’s some ideas for preserving tomatoes. Why? To save money, reduce waste (no packaging waste here), and move that little bit closer to self-sufficiency. Plus it’s just plain fun. Seriously, there are few things in life as satisfying as a well stocked pantry you’ve filled yourself.
So here’s a few ideas to try:
*Jars of whole tomatoes
Preserve jars of whole tomatoes to use in recipes which call for tinned tomatoes. A good use for Roma tomatoes.
*Jars of chopped tomatoes
As above, but this can save you time later if the recipe calls for chopped rather than whole toms.
Sooooo much better than that salty, sugary mess that comes in a plastic squeeze bottle.
I hate buying tomato paste. Either you buy a jar and it goes mouldy before you can use it all (why are the jars so BIG?). Or you buy the individual sachets and have to throw away a foil wrapper or two every time you cook with paste. Plus homemade just tastes sooooo much better. Dehydrating and bottling paste is on tomorrow’s to-do list as well. Make sure to use big, juicy tomatoes for a decent yield.
Bottle to use later for pasta sauces.
You can freeze whole tomatoes to use later in cooking. Personally I think this is best for cherry tomatoes.
If you have a pressure canner (which I sadly do not), you can prepare pasta sauces WITH MEAT IN THEM and can to use later. This is not safe to do with a water bath, you must use a pressure canner for safety.
Okay, okay. I cheat and use a dehydrator. Very basically, you dry your tomatoes and preserve in jars of oil. Perfect on a pizza, or on a plate of nibblies.
And just because I love you, here’s a post on peeling tomatoes in bulk to make life easier for you 😊
Those are my favourite ways of preserving tomatoes. Do you like to put away food for use later?