Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blanching tomatoes

For anyone who's never blanched tomatoes,
I thought I'd share a brief tutorial with you.

During the summer season, since our tomatoes tend to ripen at differing times, we've found it to be SO MUCH EASIER to blanch/skin the tomatoes as they come and freeze them until the entire harvest is completed. Then in one fell swoop, we can can can can can until we're done (usually all within the span of a weekend). It works for us because we don't have canning paraphernalia lying about all summer. :-)

So, without further ado: Blanching 101

Step 1: wash/rinse tomatoes; core
*if you have super juicy tomatoes, wait to core them*

Step 2: slit a (+) on the bottom
*this aids in the peeling process later*

Step 3: bring your water to a rolling boil; then carefully drop tomatoes in the water; set timer for 2 min.
*2 min. is only an approximation*
For large batches I often reuse the hot water- just bring it back to a rolling boil again (which it will do quickly since it's already still hot).

Step 4: remove tomatoes from boiling water and immediately place in COLD water
*this stops the cooking process*
To test whether your tomatoes are ready to be removed from the boiling water, they should start to split and peel and look like this:

Step 5: peel the skins off
*if you left the core in due to having a juicy tomato, now's the time to core it*
They should just slide ride off with ease.

Step 6: bag it and allow to cool

Step 7: seal and freeze (deep freeze)

When you're ready to start canning, simply thaw!


Anonymous said...

My way of blanching is a little simpler because it dirties less pots and bowls and is a bit less messy.

The first couple steps are the same - core, and put an X on the bottom - but I don't bring an entire pot of tomatoes to boil. Instead, I bring just the water to boil - preferably in a large teapot because of the spout, but a large pot will do. Meanwhile, I put the tomatoes in a pot in the sink - without water - and when the water is boiling I pour it on the tomatoes. Then I let them sit for a minute or two before using a lid to help me pour the hot water off the top. Then I turn on the faucet and let cold water run over them. They can cool down quite quickly this way because the pot didn't super heat like it would have had it been on the stove.

I've found that not only does a pot of plain water boil faster because it isn't full of tomatoes (so it uses less energy and the batches can be done more quickly) but it also means I don't have to clean that pot.

Also, using this method means you can quickly cool and peel them because they were never boiling. If you are going to be cooking them again to can them, this might be a method to try. :)

MelissaD said...

I guess I wasn't clear in my "Step 3"- I bring a pot of WATER ONLY to a rolling boil, THEN drop my tomatoes in, set for 2 mins. I corrected it on my post so it's a bit more clear. Sorry for the confusion.

Your process sounds interesting. And I suppose if my batch was small it'd work fantastic. But when I have (4) 1-gallon freezer bags to fill, perhaps it'd work better with my method as I can keep reusing the hot water. As soon as I pull out the tomatoes for their cool water bath, I get the water on the stove back to a rolling boil, which takes no time at all since it's already quite hot. It's really a quick process.

Rose said...

I Melissa~I just wanted to thank you for visiting my blog a while ago when I had my cross stitches up. You said your mom did the same crossitch as me for her anniversary! Well, today is my anniversary~16yrs! I see you have a very nice blog here. I am not a great cook so I know how to make tomato sauce the old fashioned way with the tomatoes and the herbs and all that stuff. You seem to be a great cook! I will have to visit again~Today is also my husbands birthday so I am getting some food ready for a little surprise party~just some appetizer's and birthday cake. My children are very excited! God bless you, Rose

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes - your method would work better for large batches. I was thinking that you were bringing the water AND tomatoes to a boil every time, and then dumping the water. This would lead to some mushy tomatoes and a lot of wasted water - which is NOT what you are doing of course.

I do love my method though for smaller batches - which is what I do when I use them to make soup - like tomato and white bean. So yummy - just roma tomatoes, white kidney beans, onion, garlic and chicken broth. Saute the onion and garlic, add beans (a third of them mashed to thicken the soup) and broth and then peeled and eigthed tomatoes last. Top with fresh cilantro. All the flavors really stand out and the tomatoes are still fresh tasting.

MelissaD said...

Ooooh... that recipe sounds good! Thanks! We'll have to try it! And yes, I agree, for small batches your method would work great! I'll have to remember that!