Blanching Tomatoes: The Basics

The season for preserving the summer’s harvest is now upon us, unfortunately my 5 tomato plant’s offerings didn’t provide me with the bounty that I desired and they tasted like plastic; I’ve tossed the seeds as to not make that mistake again. 

Last year, when I canned my first batch of tomatoes, I was fortunate enough to be able to use some of my mother-in-laws delicious fruit, but this year, she over planted her garden not giving them enough sunlight, which coincidentally is something that tomatoes need to grow, so I decided to make a trip to the Kyustendil’s farmers market to stock up on tomatoes.  
I bought 6kg (13 lbs) of tomatoes, which I thought would give me enough for about 12 jars, but as it turns out I got 6 jars, roughly 1kg per jar that holds 720ml (24oz). Before you can actually can them, you need to blanch them, which is something I have done quite often and it is really simple.  It is however wise to be mindful of the timing… tomatoes left to boil to long become mush!

The night before, I washed and rinsed my tomatoes, filled a large pot with water and cleaned all my surfaces, then I prepared a few bags of ice, for the ice bath (about 16 cups) because of the amount of tomatoes I was planning to blanch. Normally, you don’t need so much ice.
So here it goes, score a cross onto the underside of the tomatoes, this will make it easier to peel. Be careful not to go to deep.

Bring a large pot of water to a full boil and prepare a large bowl filled with ice water.  Make sure that it has plenty of ice because you are going to be adding hot tomatoes too it, which will melt the ice rather quick.
As soon as you put the tomatoes in the water start counting, you should begin removing, the smaller ones at like 20 seconds and the larger ones at 30, use your judgement. Immediately transfer to the ice bath. You don’t want to cook the tomatoes, you want them still to be firm and hold their shape for what ever you intend to use them for.
The ice bath will halt the cooking process and help loosen the skins. Replenish you ice frequently. Once they are cool you can peel them and set aside for the next step, whether you are making sauce, salsa, ratatouille, curry etc… For the tomatoes that I was not canning, I quartered, seeded them by hand and then sliced them into eights for some ratatouille that I was planning to can next… recipe to follow!
I am planning on doing another batch later this week and I do hope it goes quicker.  I want to make some crushed tomatoes for sauce and experiment with homemade ketchup!
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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria www.caseyangelova.com

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