Monday, September 9, 2013

All of the Tomatoes!

Hello everyone! I had my surgery last Friday and have been spending my time trying to keep up with the work around the house without setting back my recovery. Super fun, as I strongly dislike sitting around with things to do that I am not allowed to.

Before I went to surgery though, everyone's tomatoes came in! This may be coming a bit late for some, but just before I went in, I canned some tomatoes and salsa, and the one thing that you always have to do for those items is peel. There are some who don't peel for salsa, and that does no harm, but I tried it once and found too many sharp strips of peel in the condiment for my taste.

You may notice that I am not mentioning sauce with the peeling. There is a reason. If you are canning tomato sauce, there is no need to peel each tomato. That goes for ketchup or anything that you will be turning to a soupy sauce. In those cases, I just wash the tomatoes, core, chop them a bit and cook them down. Once they are nice and soft you can put it through a strainer or a mill and that will remove the skins and seeds. Some people find cooking the seeds in the sauce makes it bitter. If that is you, just scoop the seeds out of the slices before putting them in the pan.
Now, on to peeling tomatoes for other recipes. The pictures below should help lead you through any unclear bits.

1. Wash tomatoes thoroughly. Even organic vegetables are exposed to bacteria, and if you are canning it is best to be as clean as possible to avoid contamination in the finished product.

2. Lightly score an "X" at the blossom end of the tomato.

3. Plunge tomatoes into boiling water in batches. As soon as the skins seem to be slipping a bit, drop them in cold water to shock them.

4. The skins should peel easily from the cuts. Although I have always cored after peeling, it makes sense that coring before blanching would make the skins even easier to remove. Doh!

5. To "core", use a melon baller and scoop the stem end out. I hate that they call it "coring", to me that implies removing the center entirely.

6. Use as directed in recipe.

Coming up: Adventures in making pantry staples!

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