Back in 2012, I posted an article about canning tomatoes, and I re-posted it back in November of 2015. It is a popular article here on my site, so I wanted to bring it forward a bit.
But, there’s a better way.
Last summer, I planted only a few tomato plants because I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with a lot. I think in total there were maybe 12, and there was a variety. But, there wasn’t a great yield. Truly, I need to try an get raised beds going this year, but that’s another story. I think in total I ended up with 12 gallon bags of frozen tomatoes this year. Seriously, I know I should have kept better track.
For Christmas presents, I wanted to make sauce and homemade pasta (I did run out of time, so it ended up just being sauce). This year, though, I had in my arsenal a Victorio food strainer that my aunt had found at a garage sale. I did not have this back in ’12. Back then, I just cooked down the tomatoes, and used my stick blended to mix everything together. The end result was amazing, though on the thin side. This is what I did differently.
First, I threw all my frozen tomatoes in my 16 quart roasting pan.
Then, I had to call Oster because my roasting pan stopped working. They promptly shipped out a new one. Later that same evening, my husband came home and asked me if I checked the GFCI outlet on the other end of the line. Huh. I had no idea. In the meantime, I had to switch everything over to pots and pans to get the tomatoes thawed out in order to keep going. I digress.
Now, I tried putting even half-thawed tomatoes in the food strainer and it didn’t work well at all – this is a hand crank version, and it was hard pushing them through. I changed my plan, and as the tomatoes thawed, I would process them through the strainer.
This strainer is wonderful. It separates the seeds and skins from the pulp. The pulp goes in the bowl, and the seeds and skin goes out the back. I think I actually had more “juice” than if I used fresh tomatoes simply from the frozen/thawed aspect, so I did have to still cook it down just a bit, plus I had to heat it up for canning anyway.
To this I added sauteed onion, oregano, and sauteed garlic (all to taste). Then, I processed according in the water bath canner accordingly and ended up with 5 quarts of this:
Ok, but that’s not the super exciting part. This is:
Dehydrated tomatoes! I took all of the skins and seeds from the tomatoes and ran them through the dehydrator for a few hours, then pulverized them and ended up with this! Perfect! Absolutely NO wasted at all. This tomato powder can be used in soups and stews for a base, to add flavor, or to help thicken things up a little. Voila!