How to Get the Most from Your Tomato Harvest

{Before we get to talking about tomatoes, I want to share with you something you are not going to want to miss out on.   My ebook, The Gardening Notebook, is going to be in this year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle.  There is so much to love about this bundle but one thing I think is really great and that I want you to know about is that you can get it for FREE for just helping us spread the word before the bundle is actually for sale.}

SchneiderPeeps - Get the most from your tomato harvest

My absolute favorite thing to grow is tomatoes.  I love that there are literally thousands of varieties to try. I love the flavor of homegrown tomaotes – store bought tomatoes just cannot compare.  I even love the smell of tomato plants – which don’t really smell very good, but I love them anyway.

So, when we harvest our tomotoes I want to be sure that we don’t waste one single bit.  When we bring our tomatoes inside, the first thing we do is cut the “belly button” off (most people call this the stem) and any bad parts and then cut the tomato in half.  We put the tomato halves in zip lock bags and put them in the freezer.

I do this for two reasons, the first is that it’s not always convenient to process the tomatoes when we get our biggest harvests, in fact, it is almost never convenient to process them at the height of harvest season. The second reason is that they are so much easier to peeel once they have been frozen.

I take tomatoes out of the freezer the night before I’m going to can them.  I put hem in large bowls and pans and let them thaw out. The next morning I take the ones that are the most thawed and dump them out of the zip lock bags into a large roaster pan (I use this because my strainer is oblong and it fits into the lid of the roaster pan.)

peeling tomatoes after freezingThe tomato peels come right off the thawed out tomato.

straining the tomato juice so they don't need to cook downIn the middle are the thawed tomatos.  I put the peels in a bowl (see photo below), the pulp in the strainer and I pour all the juice into a big pot. I can the juice to use in rice or soups.  I like doing it this way so that I don’t have to let my spaghetti sauce or salsa cook down for hours.  I have a friend who cooks down the juice all day to make it more concentrated.  You can do whatever works best for you.

DSC01936

tomato skins in the blende

tomato skins after being in the blender

Eventually the peels go into the blender with a little of the juice and get turned into “sauce”.  I add this to the spaghetti sauce or salsa that I’m making that day to help thicken it up a little.

You can also dehydrate the peels and then blend them up into a powder.  This is what I do with the cherry tomatoes. I use it in soups or rice, it’s super good.

So there you have it, a way to use every bit of the summer goodness of tomatoes.

This post is shared at Homestead Barn Hop, 

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Comments

  1. says

    oh my goodness! so many good ideas! I do some of these things (like freezing the tomatoes instead of heating up my kitchen in the heat of the summer) but I will be implementing the rest of this this winter, for sure!

    • Angi Schneider says

      lol… yeah, I’ve been really eyeing an Excalibur, but until my $40 one from Walmart bites the dust, it’s out of the question.

  2. says

    To save even more time, just slice and dehydrate the entire tomato peel and all, right out of the garden. Then you can grind the entire thing up and use the powder for all kinds of stuff: soup, paste, sauce, juice, ketchup, etc. Just add water! Save hours of trying to cook the tomatoes down or canning them and it takes a lot less space in your pantry and frees up freezer space.

    • says

      Never would have thought to do this…not even just the peels, but the whole tomato. I bought a dehydrator a couple of years ago for $2 a garage sale and have never used it. What a great idea!

      I do like to boil down the tomatoes and then can them, that’s what I use for my tomato soup all year long. But I really like the idea of saving a lot of space by making the powder as well.

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