Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Best way to preserve tomatoes and peppers (get them planted now!)

With our garden getting started, I just thought I'd revisit this post that I did back in October when I tried out some new ways to preserve last year's fall harvest.  Be sure to read how I did it there.

The results were incredible, and I may not ever get out the canning kettle again when it comes to tomatoes!  I hate heating up the kitchen in the warmest parts of the year.  I still remember my grandmother looking at me like I was crazy about 20 years ago when I told her that I had learned how to can and was doing a lot of it.  She said "Don't you have a freezer?!?"  While I still like to can, I have to agree that sometimes the freezer is indeed better!

Basically, I roasted the peppers, let them steam, then laid them out on a cooking pan to freeze, then put all of these into a big zip lock bag to pluck out 2 or 3 at a time all winter.  Here's a picture of the peppers I used all winter long, right out of the freezer.  The wonderful part is that you just run them under water for 20 or so seconds, and the skin slips right off.  I'm for sure going to do some red peppers this way as well.  They're great in any egg dish, chili, stews, etc...

The tomatoes turned out incredible.  No peeling or chopping.  I just put them roasted into a blender, pureed them seeds, skin and all, and poured that into canning jars, leaving enough room so that they would have room to expand and not break the jar, put lids on them and kept them in the freezer.  They were all totally gone before Thanksgiving :-).

So, go plant some peppers and tomatoes soon!  If you can't, there will soon be plenty at the local farmer's market or grocery store to take home and preserve for next winter!

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