Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard: November 3, 2011

Every Thursday, Robin at The Gardener of Eden hosts “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” where we can share posts on how we are using our garden harvests.

Full Freezer

The only things remaining in the garden last weekend were leeks, green onions, and herbs. I had not harvested them because I was absolutely out of room in the freezer to freeze them. We have a chest freezer in the basement filled mostly with tomatoes right now. It was time to make some room.

I pulled out five 1-gallon freezer bags of tomatoes and placed them in a sink full of cold water to thaw out overnight:


Once the tomatoes were completely soft they were put through my Food Strainer and made into a batch of "Seasoned Tomato Sauce" (Ball Blue Book of Preserving) and canned:


There are still a lot of tomatoes in the freezer, but at least I made some room for the green onions and leeks from last week's harvest.

Although the gardening season is over, the canning will continue for me throughout the winter. There are still a good amount of this season's tomatoes, peppers and onions in the chest freezer waiting to be turned into sauce and salsa.

Join others at “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” at The Gardener of Eden and share a what you've been baking, cooking, canning, drying, or how you have used some of your preserved garden bounty.

13 comments:

  1. I really need to get a food strainer. I have a couple of old Foley Food Mills, which I hardly ever use any more.

    My mother always uses that recipe from the Ball Blue Book. It is very good.

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  2. Your sauce looks good. I have the Blue Book but have never tried any recipes from it. I have a problem with recipes except for baking I usually read several and then decide on my version of them all put together. I even do a little experimenting with baking as you will see with the muffin recipe I posted today. I think it depends also on what addition of Blue Book you have what recipes are in it.

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  3. I love the convenience of freezing the tomatoes whole so that not only can you accumulate enough to do a batch of sauce at a later date like you just did - but they also work great for cooking to replace peeled chopped tomatoes in recipes. What makes that so appealing as compared to opening up a pint or quart jar of my canned diced tomatoes - is that I can pull out one or five or whatever number I really need for that one recipe and not have too much or too little from a jar. They are particularly nice to add to minestrone type soups! The skins just slip off after the tomatoes are partially thawed which makes it very simple prep as well.

    The sauce jars look gorgeous and smart you to do the canning now when it is cooler and more comfortable.

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  4. What a great idea. I use my freezer for storing so many things.......I've toyed with the idea of getting a second one. It seems a bit odd for just two people, but we REALLY love our freezer.

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  5. An excellent idea, sometimes we have a few tomatoes coming on in July and early August that just don't add up to enough for a canning party....but if I saved them up in the freezer like you did. I will definitely remember this for next year and have no idea why I have never thought of this myself.

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  6. Robin: The food strainer really makes it easy to make sauce. I use it to make applesauce and grape jelly too. The "Seasoned Tomato Sauce" recipe is the closest to my home made one. It makes a good basic sauce that can be used right out of the jar or doctored up.

    Wilderness: I try to stick with tested recipes for canning safety, but I will admit that I do not always follow other recipes exactly either. It is funny that the "Seasoned Tomato Sauce" recipe is in my Ball Blue Book of Preserving but not on their website.

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  7. Thanks for this post, I just harvested some tomatoes tonight and I am going to pick up one of those strainers. They seem like a good tool to have for the kitchen.

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  8. That sauce looks superb - I tend to bottle my sauce in empty beer bottles which although practical isn't nearly as attractive. Those frozen tomatoes look just immaculate too.

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  9. Laura: I was making a batch of sauce or salsa almost every weekend but I still couldn't keep up with all the tomatoes this year even if I tried. Freezing them until later works out really well. That way more canning jars are available and the weather is more comfortable.

    Sue: There are just two of us in this household and our freezer is full. What does that tell you :) We could probably eat for quite a while out of the freezer. I freeze a lot of the garden harvests; home made chicken, beef, and vegetable stock; and we tend to stalk up on good quality meats when we find them at affordable prices. We love our freezer too.

    Mr H: I feel more efficient if I am canning a large batch of sauce or salsa. I also freeze tomatoes early in the season until I have enough for a larger batch. The kitchen will be a mess anyway, so might as well get as much accomplished as I can while I am at it.

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  10. What a great idea! I have a friend who freezes his excess summer tomatoes, then pops them into soups or stews later in the season. Gorgeous photo of the canned tomatoes. Looks like you used a softbox for photography. I have one but haven't used it yet. I must give it a try.

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  11. I have a whole bunch of tomatoes that I threw into the freezer in August. I need to get rid of them too. I'm going to have to find someone to take them to make sauce. I have way more than I need already.

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  12. G, beautiful tomatoes and sauce! I didn't freeze many this year because of our colder than normal June and July; I was able to can a bit, but mainly will rely on last years bounty for the winter.

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  13. How nice to have canning to do still. I love that you can freze your tomatoes for later canning batches when it's not so busy.

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