What to do with a summer tomato crop

Okay, here’s the dilemma:

photo of bin full of homegrown heirloom tomatoes

Photo by Aaron Morris

We have a healthy crop of homegrown, heirloom tomatoes that all ripen simultaneously. It’s impossible to consume all the tomatoes raw, so we must preserve them before we lose all our hard work. It’s a great problem to have. But we still need a solution.

Solution one: make tomato sauce

photo of tomatoes cooking in pot on stove

Photo by Aaron Morris

Roughly chop the tomatoes, or you can leave them whole if you want to save time. Place oil in the bottom of a stock pot and cook the tomatoes over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree the tomatoes with a hand immersion blender. Simmer the mixture over low heat until it’s reduced by half, or until you’ve gotten rid of enough water so the tomatoes are the consistency that you want. Now you can store the sauce in mason jars and can it (or freeze).

Solution two: make fire-roasted salsa

photo of homegrown tomatoes and peppers in pan on grill

Photo by Aaron Morris

Roughly chop the tomatoes. Also chop some peppers: we use a mixture of both red and green jalapenos and serranos, but you’ll have to decide based on the spiciness you’re looking for. Add some garlic and onions, too! Place the produce in a pan and roast them on a low-heat grill for about one hour. Cool the veggies to the touch, peel the skins and remove the seeds. Blend the salsa in a blender with some water, lime juice, salt, pepper and cilantro.Now you can put your salsa in mason jars and can (or freeze) it.

Solution three: can the tomatoes

photo of three canned jars of homegrown tomatoes

Photo by Angela Morris

This is a little more complicated, but it’s worth it because you’ll be able to use the tomatoes for any recipe. Immerse each tomato in boiling water for about one minute, and then transfer it to an ice-water bath. Cool the tomato to the touch and then peel off the skin. Chop the tomato and remove the seeds. Now your tomatoes are ready to can.

Canning is a complicated process and it should be the subject of its own post! In the meantime, check out this awesome website by the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia.

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  1. Aaron’s delicious tomato-egg toast | Sustainablogity - July 26, 2011

    [...] couple of weeks ago I posted about methods we’re using to preserve our tomato crop. We also love eating our mouth-watering homegrown tomatoes raw! Here’s a great recipe Aaron [...]

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