If your tomatoes are beginning to ripen in the garden, you’ve probably been thinking of how you’re going to preserve all the tomatoes you get. While there are many ways to preserve tomatoes, here are our favorite ways to preserve them and ensure they’re fresh for a long period of time and taste great!
Try to always use mature, ripe, red tomatoes, and make sure to always wash your tomatoes and check them thoroughly before cooking!
Slow Oven Roasted Tomatoes
The first way to preserve tomatoes is also the easiest way. These tomatoes will last around a week in the refrigerator, and can be frozen for up to half a year! If you’re preserving these, It’s recommended to make preserves in large amounts, at least enough to last 3 or more months.
To make these tomatoes, start by preheating your oven to 250°F. Then you just want to chop your tomatoes into quarter inch slices and place them onto baking sheets. Add any seasonings you want, however be advised that if adding any seasonings, you will only be able to store these for two weeks in your refrigerator. If preserving tomatoes in bulk, you should season your tomatoes as you use them, rather than before preserving them. If using herbs, we recommend basil, thyme, and rosemary. If you enjoy garlic, you can add in a few cloves depending on how many tomatoes you’re preparing. Tomato slices can also be dipped into white vinegar, if you choose to. Then, drizzle vegetable oil over the tomatoes before placing them in the oven for three hours, or until your tomatoes start to wrinkle. Some tomatoes may take more or less time. If preserving, pack the tomatoes into jars tightly and immerse the tomatoes in vegetable oil.
If you don’t feel like roasting your tomatoes, you can also just simply chop your tomatoes to the desired size, place them in an air-tight bag, and freeze them. Roma tomatoes can be frozen whole without being cut, but other tomatoes need to be sliced up before being frozen. Also, the tomato skins will peel off when thawed, so you need not worry about peeling tomatoes if you freeze them.
When canning tomatoes, it’s recommended that some acid should be added to lower the pH level. You can do this simply by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid per pint of product. For quarts, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid. Also before jarring tomatoes, you should boil the lids and jars for at least 10 minutes to sterilize them and ensure they are clean.
To start, fill your water bath canner about 1/3 deep with hot water. Place rack or basket in the elevated position. Begin to bring another pot to a boil, you’ll use the extra water to submerge the jars. Then, you want to place the jars in the rack. Do not let the jars touch each other. Lower the rack into the canner, and place the lid on back canner. Bring water to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, add it to the water bath canner so that the tomato jars are submerged an inch or two in boiling water. Place lid on canner and let the water gently boil. Tomatoes will take from 35 to 45 minutes to fully process in boiling water. Once processed, turn off the heat and move the canner off the burner. Using tongs, remove all the jars from the canner and place them on a cooling rack or something heat resistant. Then put them in the freezer when done.
To dry tomatoes using a dehydrator, start by skinning your tomatoes. Once you’re done, then slice your tomatoes into quarter inch slices, and place them in your dehydrator trays cut side up, about 1/2” apart from each other. Add salt and herbs if desired. Set the dehydrator to 140°F, and wait four or six hours. Then, you should flip all the tomato slices, and let them in for another three or four hours, or until completely dry. When dry, pack tomatoes tightly in freezer bags and store them until you need them.
We hope you enjoy these many ways to preserve your tomatoes. You can purchase fresh grown tomatoes for preserving at Goffle Brook Farms, and if you’d like to read more in depth about safely preserving tomatoes, click here!