I stopped in to my local grocery store the other night, and I came across 7 large packages of tomatoes reduced to 99 cents. When I see deals like that, I can’t pass them up! Tomatoes are popular for canning, but there’s a high risk for botulism if they’re not done properly. Stewed tomatoes are really versatile, and they freeze really well, so that’s how I prepare tomatoes if I’m not making salsa.
Usually if I’m doing stewed tomatoes, or making sauces to freeze, I prefer to use plum tomatoes because they have a meatier flesh, and fewer seeds to deal with. Since these were so cheap, and readily available, I used them anyway. They were a mixed bunch of beefsteak, and vine tomatoes.
I have to work on using the zoom so I’m not sticking my face in the pot to take pictures for you!
When you put the tomatoes into the boiling water, it’ll take only a moment or two for the skins to start to crack. Remove them right away into a large plastic bowl. Repeat this in batches until all of your tomatoes are done.
The best part of doing up stewed tomatoes, is you can impart your favourite flavours. Peel away the skins from your tomatoes, and discard. Toss the tomatoes without skins into a tall pot.
I used two large onions for a soup pot that held about 8 cups of tomatoes.
Next, we’ll add the seasonings. Add 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 1 tbsp of basil, 1 tbsp oregano, and 1 tbsp of onion powder.
The last part is to bring the tomatoes to a boil, and turn the heat down and let them simmer for about half an hour or so. You want the celery and onions to be cooked, but not until they’re mushy. Tender-crisp is a good point to take the tomatoes off the heat, and allow them to cool before storing in freezer-safe containers, and freezing them for later use. If you decide to use resealable bags, make sure they’re the heavy-duty freezer type. I’ve stored mine in plastic containers for up to a year and they were just as good as when first done.
If you notice the bubbly froth on the pot… that’s because I let the tomatoes come to too high a boil. If you turn down the heat as soon as you start to see bubbles, and stir regularly you won’t get that froth on top. It doesn’t harm anything, just doesn’t look as nice when taking a picture!