Preserving Tomatoes

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toRenae sent us this great post on preserving tomatoes.

This time of year tomatoes are plentiful. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a vine ripened home grown tomato! Store bought tomatoes, especially in the winter, don’t compare to the juicy and sweet summer tomatoes. This year my garden has been plentiful and I am preserving what I can for winter. There are several ways to preserve fruits and vegetables: canning, freezing and drying.

This year I took on the task of canning spaghetti sauce. It was very easy once I got started. I just used my own recipe (tomatoes peeled and diced, onion, garlic, basil, italian seasoning, dash of sugar) and let it cook in the crock pot all day. I found making small batches to can was much easier; especially since it takes a lot of tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce. My crock pot netted 6 pints of spaghetti sauce for canning.

Another way to preserve tomatoes is to dry them. Sun dried tomatoes ad a lot of flavor to recipes. My favorite way to use sun dried tomatoes is in hot pasta withhomemade basil pesto. The old fashioned way of making sun dried tomatoes is cutting tomatoes in half and letting them sit covered by a cheese cloth. This method could take up to two weeks. My method is much faster- use the oven!

Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Cut Roma tomatoes in half and sprinkle with sea salt. Place on a baking sheet and place in the oven. It takes anywhere from 8-12 hours for the tomatoes to dry. It’s a great project to work on if you have a home day planned or let them cook overnight. Other types of tomatoes work too, although Roma tomatoes have less seeds and juice.

Sun dried tomatoes will store indefinitely. Just make sure that they are dry all the way through. It is a fine line between being too crispy and too wet. They should still be flexible but the moisture should be gone.

Renae is a married mom of two young boys. She enjoys working in her garden and cooking when she has time. Her other passion is teaching people how to make dollars out of change on her blogĀ Madame Deals.

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