Suggestions for preserving tomatoes

I have a load of Heritage Tomatoes this year, so I'm looking for some ideas on how to preserve them.
Sherwin D.
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sherwindu wrote:

The obvious answer is to "can" them. What I do with most of ours though is peel them and simmer them down to sauce. Then into good ziplock bags and lay them flat in the freezer.
"Fresh" sauce all year.
--
Steve

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Ran out about a month before we started to get ripe tomatoes for more sauce. :-(
Puckdropper
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wrote:

Tomato juice spaghetti sauce pizza sauce salsa put some in the freezer whole. The skins slip when thawing.
The sauces can be frozen. I usually can mine since the freezer is full of things that do not can well, like strawberries and broccoli.
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Susan N.

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I like to put up a couple dozen quarts of salsa. This time of year I use any leftover salsa up by adding a quart to a pound of hamburg, 1/4 cup taco seasoning, a cup of pasta and a cup of water. Sprinkle with grated cheddar- serve with sour cream.
I also can chili sauce. [anyone know why it is called chili sauce? There are no chilies in it and I have never seen a chili recipe that called for it?] This is my recipe- Chili Sauce 1 peck tomatoes [10 quarts- or about 17 pounds] 2 1/2 c chopped onions 6 inches stick cinnamon 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves 4 1/2 c brown sugar 4 c chopped celery 2 1/2 c chopped green pepper 1 T dry mustard 1 qt cider vinegar 1/4 cup salt Peel and cut tomatoes in chunks into a large kettle. Cook 15 minutes; *then drain off half of the juice.* Add celery, onion and green pepper. Simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add remaining ingredients. Continue cooking 1 1/2 hours. Remove cinnamon. Fill pint jars; process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
I also dry a bunch. If you're in Phoenix you might be able to sun dry them. In my part of the world we get too much humidity and too little sun to make that feasible. I use an electric dryer. [paid $10 at a garage sale for one-- got another for $2 last weekend] The dryer is in the garage so it doesn't heat up the house.
Dried tomatoes are good as an addition to any tomato dish. I use them to 'thicken' my canned salsa after opening the jar. Everyone eats them like candy if I leave them out.
Once dried I keep them in the freezer. I'm guessing, but I think a couple bushels dry down to a gallon or so.
Jim
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sherwindu wrote:

The easiest way is to have a lot of paste tomato plants, which are ideal for canning. Every year I reduce the number of slicing tomato plants and increase the San Marzanos (now they are 50%, or 9 of 18). And I don't even can. When making salsa, or bruschetta, or for a quick pasta with blended tomato, garlic, and basil sauce, they are the tomatoes to use. Same for midsummer mixed vegetable soups, when you get only a handful of okra, one zucchini, a handful of string beans, etc. The base has to be paste tomato because slicing tomatoes make a pale, less flavorful broth.
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Hi all,
I am in UK and wonder if I understand 'can' in the same way that you do. To me it means tin cans and that says to me you have some sort of large industrial plant at the end of your garden making tinned tomatoes?
Or are you talking about putting them into glass jars?
Personally I like the idea of frezzing and have done this myself last year. One pound bags of chopped toms.
Also, a guy asked earlier about drying - that sounds interesting - anybody help?
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Steve Newport wrote:

Yes, the reference to canning implies in glass jars (usually Mason jars) and processed in a hot water bath.
I just peel them and cook them down into totally unseasoned tomato sauce and freeze in ziplock bags. Works very well. Freezes flat so they stack nicely and we have "fresh" sauce all year.
As for drying, the question was about sun-drying as I recall which is why I didn't answer as I've never done that. You can dry in the oven as well though.
Preheat the oven to 200dF (TOPS). Quarter the tomatoes and place them in a single layer on non-stick baking sheets. Some people seed them, I don't. Personal preference. Others flavor them with herbs/spices at this point. I don't. Again, personal preference.
Into the oven for 16-20 hours (no I'm not kidding) The goal here is not to cook them but to dry them out. I do this quite frequently in my Little Chief cold smoker for smoked, dried tomatoes. They're fantastic but you have to be careful what type of wood to use while in the smoking process and how long you keep the wood on the heating element.
After they're dried, you can store them in sterilized jars covered with olive oil and sealed tightly. They'll keep for 2-3 weeks that way in the 'fridge. I vacuum seal them and into the freezer.
--
Steve

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*snip summary: Tomato preserving ideas, especially unseasoned.*
I like unseasoned too. You lose something when THEY (I.E. canning manufacturers) put in their onion, garlic, other herbs and spices you'd never use.
Tomato sauces are my base for spaghetti sauce (simple recipie) and soup (mainly vegetable, but with hamburger for seasoning.) That's why we plant so many tomato plants each year.
Puckdropper
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