Monday Basics: Preserving Tomatoes Without the Cans

It’s the end of the tomato season, but there is still time for you to stash some organic heirloom tomatoes away for a chilly winter day.

This is my canning work-around. I hate having the stove on when it’s hot outside. But I also want to enjoy organic heirlooms all winter and spring. Another plus is that you can freeze other tomatoes, like yellow, orange and green tomatoes that aren’t acidic enough to can.

Your mission is to go find some ugly, not perfect, or so called seconds, tomatoes this weekend. Ask the farmers and you’ll probably get a box cheap. Sometimes they’re called blemished,  cosmetically challenged or other clever sales terms.

This is an easy, free-form non-recipe. Give it a try and you’ll feel a deep satisfaction when you use your handy work in soups and stews later in the year.

As you can see above, the tomatoes I bought were far from perfect. But they were only $10.00 for the whole box. Try to cook the tomatoes on the same day you buy them if at all possible. The blemishes will get larger and those mystery tomatoes on the bottom aren’t getting any fresher. In fact, you may have a few that still don’t make the cut.

You will need to thoroughly wash the tomatoes and cut away any blemishes, soft spots or other spots that don’t seem appetizing.

Dice the tomatoes. I leave the skins on, but you can remove them before you dice if you prefer. Put the diced tomatoes and their juice in the slow cooker. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or on high for about 3 hours.

Roma varieties have less liquid in them and will cook down faster.

Make sure the tomatoes are completely cool before freezing them. Many times I cool it in the fridge before I pack them.

Weck canning jars have glass lids and a rubber gasket and are my new favorite thing to freeze tomatoes in. It does take longer to defrost, but your tomatoes never come into contact with BPA or plastic!

You can use a freezer safe container, or a re-closable plastic bag that says it’s for the freezer. Those bags are thicker and help it stay fresh longer. The bags are easy to stack in the smallest freezer. I put about 1 1/2 cups (the size of 1 can of tomatoes) per bag, push the air out, and close. Wipe the outside of the bag off to make sure it’s dry or they will freeze together. Stack them on top of one another.

These are easy to make and even easier to use! Pull a bag out the night before you need it and thaw it in the fridge. Or, since the bag is so thin, run cold water over the bag in the sink. Most of all, enjoy not going out to the store to buy a can of tomatoes in the middle of a snow storm later in the year!

Don’t forget – my latest book,The Great Vegan Bean Book, is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

Comments

  1. I used your method to preserve tons of tomatoes this year to use in place of canned tomatoes all winter long. They taste much better than canned tomatoes!

  2. This is an awesome tip, thank you! I will definitely be doing this. :)

  3. Good recipe. I spend 4 to 5 hours on the stove top to cook tomatoes. Trying this for the first time.

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