Preserving « Archive

Posted on 24 February 2013 by tomatocasual.com

Preserving Tomatoes for Gift Giving

Photo Credit: How to make dried tomatoes by Joana Petrova used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: How to make dried tomatoes by Joana Petrova used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

In the past, I have given jars of canned tomatoes as gifts.

These wonderful jars full of summer’s delight consisted of tomato sauce, ketchup, salsa, and just good old fashioned diced tomatoes.

While these culinary delights have been appreciated and enjoyed, I decided to do something different this year.

One may wonder what else could be done with tomatoes as far as a gift. The answer is simple and consists of a preservation technique that is as old as the tomato.

The technique I refer to is drying.

Drying any fruit or vegetable can be done in two ways. One consists of using a commercial food Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 04 February 2013 by tomatocasual.com

Halloween and the Tomato

Photo Credit: Tomat’O'Lantern by Andrew Huff used under CC BY-NC 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I would like to start a new tradition with tomatoes.

Culturally, tomatoes have spanned the human belief system.

Some cultures build festivals around tomatoes while others view tomatoes as a “poisonous fruit.”

But, for myself, the tomato represents summertime, and health. This year, though, the tomato has changed its image due to the unusual weather we have been having. I cannot remember picking tomatoes in October but this year it is the norm not the exception.

In doing so, since my tomato crop is still growing and producing, I would like to introduce the tomato into my Halloween celebration. Below are the top six ways I plan to use the ‘love apple” come October 31.

1. Bloody punch will be part of the menu for my Halloween party. I plan to take and make my own tomato juice, which I plan to cool with a frozen hand made from a latex glove. Since my party will be multigenerational, I am choosing to keep it alcohol-free.

2. Stuffed tomatoes will be served with an assortment Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 28 August 2011 by tomatocasual.com

How to Save Your Seeds for Next Year

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day my dad and I were talking about the time he saw the best tomato plants in town.

He used to work for the Board of Health in Louisville, Kentucky and used to inspect the sewage treatment plants.

In the plants there was an area where they would place the sludge or solids that do not dissolve in the sanitation process.

In this sludge, tomato seeds and corn kernels remained and were remnants of what the human body will not digest. Through this nutrient rich sludge, tomato plants would grow abound but the fruits of these plants could not be consumed.

From this discussion we bounced to the direct ways, we in the past, have saved our tomato seeds. In the past few years, Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 26 October 2009 by tomatocasual.com

Drying Tomatoes

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drying-tomatoesBy Vanessa Richins

One of my favorite possessions at the moment is my food dehydrator.

I picked it up for only $7.50 at a garage sale.

It currently features 4 trays, and someday I can expand it up to 12 high.

I’ve been mainly drying apples this season, since I picked some for free and got a really good deal on another batch. Today, however, I decided to throw in a couple of tomatoes that I had on the counter.

As Hunter Angler Gardener Cook points out, “Getting 85-90 percent of that water out, which is what you need to properly preserve tomatoes (or anything, really) without cooking the tomato is tricky.”

A dehydrator is a good choice since many have temperature controls where you can set it low enough to dry without cooking – somewhere around 100-130 degrees. (Mine, unfortunately, is devoid of that feature.) Plan on keeping the tomatoes in the dehydrator for at least 8 hours to dry them out as needed.

A good choice for drying are Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 22 October 2009 by tomatocasual.com

Reader Question: Canning Tomato Juice

tomato-juice2By Vanessa Richins

Jim says:

“In the canning process, it calls to add 2 Tbl lemon juice to quart jars, totally blew it and forgot.  They are all sealed correctly. Should it be thrown away? Can I reprocess with the lemon juice, or reboil and go through processing again?”

Hi Jim! First, we should explore why they’re asking you to add lemon juice to your tomato juice.

The main culprit you’re trying to battle when you’re canning foods is a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which occurs in the soil and is the cause of botulism, a paralyzing illness.

There are two basic styles of canning – boiling and pressure. The method you use is determined by what you are canning. If you are working with highly acidic (below 4.6 pH) fruits and vegetables (which includes many tomatoes), you can Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 14 September 2008 by tomatocasual.com

Tomato Jam and You

By Michelle Fabio

If everything has gone according to plan, and I hope it has, you’re swimming in tomatoes right now.

There are plenty of ideas for what to do with your crop here on Tomato Casual from freezing to canning to homemade tomato juice, but have you thought about tomato jam?

Before you crinkle your nose (not that you would, tomato lover that you are), this fabulous concoction was recently featured in no less than the New York Times when writer Mark Bittman shared Read the rest of this entry »

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