Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Freezing Food: Tomatoes & Tomato Juice

The first in the Freezing Food Series are tomatoes.  Lately there has been an abundance of tomatoes from the csa and I was a little daring by buying a 20 pound box.  With all these tomatoes Friday night & Saturday I took the plunge using this method to freeze them.  My main motivition to get going was when I saw my 3 year old throwing a tomato like ball.  Luckily no tomato csaualities.

What's needed for this method:
Boiling pot of hot water
Cold water and ice cubes for the cold water bath
1-2 bowls for the cold water bath
sharp knife and cutting board
food mill
small stainer or tongs (whichever you prefer to transfer tomatoes to and from the hot water)
measuring cup or bowl with pouring lip to pour juice into ice cube trays
ice cube trays
freezer bags
1.  Wash tomatoes and lay stem side down.  With a sharp knife slice an "X" on the bottom of the tomato just enough to break the skin.  Also cut out any marks or undesirable parts of the tomato.  Bring a pot of  water to a boil then lower heat medium to low to keep the water hot during the whole process.

2.  With tongs or a small strainer drop tomato in hot water for 15 seconds no longer.  Remove from hot water and put in cold water bath (bowl of cold water and ice).  I usually keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator and extra ice on hand.
3.  After a few minutes scoop out the cold tomatoes put them on a cutting board stem side down and peel.  Yes it comes off that easily!
4.  I apologize for the next step there no pictures.  Keep the the tomato stem side down and cut the tomato with knife "parallel to the stem".  Now you have two halves gently squeeze the tomatoes so the juice and seeds run into the food mill.
If you don't have one of these you can put a strainer over a bowl and with a utensil squeeze the tomato seeds so the juice goes through the strainer into the bowl. 
5. Lay all the tomatoes on a cookie sheet and freeze till solid.  
6.  After they are frozen remove from cookie sheet and put in freeze bags.  Then back into the freezer they go until ready to cook for chunky tomato sauce, pizza, chili, soup etc.

 7.  The strained tomato juice gets poured into ice cube trays and frozen.

8.  After they are frozen put in freezer bags. 

With all these tomatoes and juice in the freezer can't wait for those soups and chili's.
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