Well it’s that time of the year in Australia, time to gather in the harvest and deal with it so that it lasts for the rest of the year.
Once again our tomatoes are only just starting to turn red, it is almost too late for them but hopefully they will continue. We are blessed to be able to purchase bulk tomatoes from our local farm produce store in town so each year our tomatoes don’t fruit enough I purchase a couple of boxes from them.
Where we live can be so tricky weather wise and it isn’t always beneficial to growing certain vegetables. Our corn looks great but I will leave that for another day.
I like to have over 50 bottles of tomatoes in the pantry each year. I could probably use 100 bottles but when I have to buy the tomatoes it is just too expensive.
Here’s what I do with them.
First of all I put as many tomatoes as I can fit into a saucepan and add some water and let them cook away until they are soft. I just chuck them in whole like they are below.
When they are finished cooking they will look like this. Nice and soft and juicy. They have reduced quite a bit too. My husband bought me this special tool years ago and I use it mainly on my tomatoes and when I preserve apples.
It’s called a tomato press and we got it at an italian/greek supermarket in Melbourne. It is a great store and we have been back there and always enjoy the experience.
You put the cooked tomato pulp in the top. (I wait until it is cooler)
You turn the handle and the tomato pulp comes out into the white dish.and the skin comes out the side. Once I have done the whole pot I put the skin mix through again to get out any more tomato pulp.
Using this tool leaves you with beautiful tomato pulp that is skinless and ready to go into bottles. You could put it back on the stove and add other ingredients and spices if you want. This lot I just bottled plain.
Now I fill my jars. Because of the acid level in tomatoes they can be processed through my Fowlers Vacola Unit which basically uses the water bath method.
My unit is a bigger electric one and it fits about 8 of these bottles.
Here is the finished product. I always double clip my bottles and then leave the clips on for 12 – 24 hours before removing and storing the bottles in the pantry.
Sometimes, if I have them I add zucchinis, and onion and other seasonings that I have on hand and then I can just cook up my mince and add this straight in it for a lovely bolognaise sauce for spaghetti.
How do you process your tomatoes??