Tag Archives: freezing tomatoes

Quickie Tomato Spread for Bread Pizzettes or Bruschetta

15 Apr

Yes, you can freeze delicious summer tomatoes and use them for sauce the following April!

I had cored, blanched and frozen (but not peeled) about 1.5 lbs of San Marzano tomatoes (click for more specific how-tos  of what I call “Lazy Preserves”) from Restoration Farm last summer when I just couldn’t figure out what to do with all that lycopene bounty and was — gasp! — almost sick and tired of summer tomatoes.

Last summer's investment in this spring's good eating

They were in the back of my freezer in a freezer bag (suffering a bit of freezer burn, I must admit) and I decided that now was the time to see how they had fared.

The other day I knocked off some — but not all — the ice crystals that had formed and put them in a soup pot and simmered them down to about a pint that was more paste than liquid, removing the peels as they separated from the flesh. Today I took that pint to a friend’s house and we used it for the base of a bruschetta/pizza toast dish that pleased adults and kids alike. It was dense and sweet with a balance of acidity — in short, everything you want from tomato sauce — and since it was organic and local — there was nothing you don’t want in it (even the freezer burn didn’t matter).

Here is the quickie recipe with tinned tomato substitute:

Tasty Tomato Paste Topping

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 pint homemade tomato paste (or a 28 oz canned of pureed tomatoes)

five large fresh basil leaves

1 Tbs dry red wine (or whatever you have open, really)

Salt to taste

Warm the oil in a saucepan. Add the smashed garlic and cook at medium low turning cloves until they are uniformly golden brown. Remove cloves and discard (or rub the insides on toast for bruschetta), Add tomato paste or puree and basil leaves. Bring to a simmer and add the tablespoon of wine and salt to taste. Simmer until the sauce reaches desired thickness (at least 15 minutes to incorporate flavors). Serve over pasta, or on toasted bread. Top with olives, grated mozzarella or parmigiano reggiano, minced fresh basil, or other pizza-loving ingredients.

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Freeze! The Lazy (or clever) Cook’s Guide to Preserving Tomatoes

5 Sep

This was the year I would start preserving and canning…at least that’s what I swore when I laid down the money for a canning pot and associated equipment at Walmart a couple of months ago (Walmart being the new Woolworth’s; it is where you will find a lot of the old-fashioned domestic arts type of stuff that Woolworth’s used to carry back in the day).

Well, canning with heat didn’t happen, or at least hasn’t happened yet and doesn’t look like happening any time soon. But I have still been making an effort to preserve some of the flavors of summer for the colder months in a less time-consuming and sweaty way. Regular visitors will remember a creole tomato sauce I made and froze for later, for example https://hotcheapeasy.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/fresh-tomato-sauce-criollo-style/.

But at this time of year, with all the vegetables we have and the time to work with them running short due to school, I had to shorten even the shortcuts. So I blanched and froze sauce tomatoes for later.

All you have to do is

1) take your farm fresh, ripe tomatoes, wash and core the stem area (you don’t have to go all the way down; just take a cone out),

2) throw them in boiling water for a minute (until they start to split)– 30 seconds for smaller tomatoes — and then

3) plunge them in ice water for about five minutes for large tomatoes and a couple of minutes for small.

Et voila! Freezer-ready tomatoes. Some people peel them at that point; I sometimes do and sometimes don’t. You will have to do it when you thaw them later, as the skins get chewy in the freezer. Some people don’t even blanch them, but I do like to set the flavor and freshness and I think blanching does that pretty well. Anyway, once they are cool, all you have to do is

4) put them in a freezer bag (quartering them is optional), squeeze out the air, seal and label them. Stick them in the freezer and they will keep 6-8 months and will be suitable for sauces and soups (not salads, as the texture will get mushy over time.

Right now I have a few pounds of San Marzanos, a pound of plum tomatoes and about four pounds of whatever yellow tomatoes it is that I am getting from the farm. I am going to be soooooo, sooooo, sooooo happy to make fresh sauce or minestrone with them in the dark days of February when my arms are about to fall off from shoveling snow!

Recommended tomatoes are Roma, Brandywine and plums, as they make great sauce!

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