After a stretch of extreme heat here in Missouri, last week’s 80-degree weather felt downright fall-like.
The crispness of the morning air must have stirred something in me. All of a sudden, I realized that I’d be kicking myself come wintertime if I didn’t preserve any of the gorgeous food coming off the farm right now.
Although I enjoy canning, I’ve been too busy to devote any time to it. Luckily, one of my mentors at the farm shared some quick, easy ways to preserve summer’s bounty without canning.
Check out these short-cuts to preserve surplus food quickly and easily during the work week.
Although tomatoes are a classic choice for canning, they keep just as well in the freezer. Frozen tomatoes can be thawed for winter sauce or stews.
1. Remove skins: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Drop in a few tomatoes (you may have to work in batches) and boil until their skins start to blister or split (about a minute). Remove the tomatoes from the water using tongs, a slotted spoon, or a Chinese skimmer and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, use your hands to peel the skins (they should just slip off).
2. Prep tomatoes: Next, chop off the tops of the tomatoes and slice away any tough flesh, bruises, or rot spots. At this point, the tomatoes are ready to be frozen (step 4), or you can proceed to step 3.
3. Remove seeds and water (optional): Cut the tomato in half lengthwise and gently scrape out the seeds using a small spoon or your finger. Then drain the tomatoes in a colander to remove excess water. Removing seeds and water makes for a smoother, thicker tomato sauce.
4. Store: Place tomatoes in plastic freezer bags, remove air, and store in the freezer.