Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 15/365 To-may-toe, To-mah-toe

I've been remiss in my blogging, but it was unavoidable. It is the last week of July, the week of searing Virginia 90 degree heat, also known as "the-week-the-tomatos-come-in (and-must-be-dealt-with)". The first batch was put away yesterday, and photo'd so I'd have evidence to post of my excuse.

The wicker bowl above are the ones we kept out for slicing and eating, while all the rest were
washed up for chopping. There are several ways to preserve tomatos - the most common is canning (my mother's style), but too hot for me. I freeze mine (and yes, as my mother tells me, when civilization goes to h*ll in a handbasket, SHE will have canned food to eat, while I will have a freezer full of soggy thawed tomatos). I don't care. I served time in a 120 degree kitchen when I was a teenager helping for weeks on end during canning season (also known as the entire month of August), and frankly, I'd rather starve to death than do that again.

So - I have my own style of freezing tomatos - been doing it for years. In the winter I use my tomatos to make chili, spaghetti sauce, stew, soup, etc. All the same ingredients go in each -
tomatos, green pepper, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic.

Therefore, in July, I freeze them all together, so I can just dump them in the slow cooker with the meat, and go back to whatever's more important than fixing dinner (includes any number of things).

The cored tomatos are chopped into approximately 1/2" pieces, plus juice, seeds and skin. I have a very large blue granite wear bowl I use every year and it takes about 4 ice cream buckets full of tomatos to fill the blue bowl. Each year I grow different variety tomatos so each year the taste is a little different. This year, there were more Mr. Stripey's so the tomatos will more yellow than usual (Mr. Stripey's are a yellow tomato with a red star-like swirl at the base and low acidity).
After chopping, each container gets filled about 3/4 of the way with tomatos (and a couple scoops of juice).

After the tomatos, I add enough chopped green pepper to fill the remainder, top it with a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic, and a generous dose of Italian seasoning, and a little more tomato juice.

And this is what they look like when they are done. This is the first tray of the season, fresh to the freezer.

Tomorrow morning I'll be out picking more tomatos, rinsing and repeating, until the freezer is full and come October, the spaghetti will be in the crockpot.


  1. I guess this will have to work as an excuse....

    Looks lovely! And I know it will be tasty since you shared your knowledge with me. My mom was a canner too, but when she and Dad divorced, she gave all her canning stuff away and never looked back!

  2. Looks really good Jai - I've frozen tomatoes before, thugh didn't think of adding the other ingredients to the same container - great idea!!! LOVE tomato sandwiches.

  3. wonderful - sounds like a great method for those of us who do a lot of spaghetti/chili/etc. . . . hmmmm