Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Preserving My Tomato Harvest

The last couple of days have been filled with harvesting more tomatoes and preserving them to consume later.

I filled 5 trays in the dehydrator. Each tray will hold about 2 1/2 pounds of sliced tomatoes. I cored the tomatoes and then cut the tops and bottoms off of them and then sliced each tomato into 2 fat slices. The tops and bottoms got diced and made into sauce for pasta tonight and a sauce for an eggplant dish last night.

You can see how much they shrink down. I pack the dried slices into a jar and keep them in the refrigerator. Refrigerating the dried tomatoes preserves their color.

Here's a roasting pan of Blue Beech paste tomatoes that I simply sliced in half, arranged in the pan cut side up, sprinkled with a touch of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil, and roasted at 300F for an hour. They were then put through a food mill and then packed into 2 cup containers and frozen. I ended up with 3 containers full from this batch and 4 from a couple of previous batches. The frozen puree gets popped out of the containers and sealed in food saver vacuum bags for long term storage in the freezer. Sometimes I make an easy sauce for freezing by roasting the tomatoes with onion halves, peeled garlic cloves, and herbs, then putting it all through the food mill.

My freezer is starting to get rather full so I pulled out my pressure canner and put up a dozen pint jars of Blue Beech paste tomatoes. Here's eleven of them, one of them didn't seal. Dang, there's always one.

I'm tired, it's time to go to bed and there's more tomatoes to pick tomorrow...

What joy to have such bounty!


  1. That would be a joy and it all sounds so delicious especially since I'm now into fall foods and have no more tomatoes.

  2. Great ideas and it all looks great. yummm

  3. A dehydrator would be fabulous, and it would be great for figs too. But we couldn't run one as I expect it's electric!

  4. It all looks good, as usual. The dehydrator seems like a useful thing to have. How do you use the dried tomatoes and how long do they keep in the fridge?

  5. They look delicious... I've never seen/heard of a dehydrator before but it looks like a fantastic idea and I may have to look into getting one myself for my own Tomato harvest!

  6. Michelle your toms look amazing. I wish we had your climate - the usual British rain here this summer fanning blight across the whole plot :o( Oh well there's always next year!

  7. I've been doing the same things with tomatoes. Seems as though having a plan ahead of time might have been a good idea. . . Next year I'll be prepared like you.

  8. Looks wonderful! FYI, frost advisory for south Monterey county tonight....

  9. Sorry everyone for being late to publish your wonderful comments, I was away for a weekend of hiking and never went near a computer for 3 days.

    Daphne, I hope you were able to put enough tomatoes by to get a taste of summer now and then.

    flowrgirl1, yumm is right, I'll be happy for all the hard work later when a decent fresh tomato is impossible to find.

    Jan, I originally bought the dehydrator when I had a large apricot tree that produced far more fruit than we could eat fresh. I've also dried figs, apples, and plum tomatoes. It also has trays for reducing tomato puree down to paste.

    Liz, as I said to Jan, the dehydrator is great for preserving other produce as well.

    nipitinthebud, I am lucky to be in such a tomato friendly climate! Sometimes, though, it would be nice to have a touch of your rain here in the dry season. I had a few *maybe next year* experiences in the garden as well, more critter related problems than weather though...

    Stefani, I can't really say that I planned ahead for this tomato season. I wasn't really sure what kind of harvest I was going to get. But I used to have great tomato harvests when I lived in the SF Bay Area and still had all my preserving equipment.

    lolamako, thanks for the heads up, too bad I was out of town... I think it was ok here, but I haven't been out to the garden yet this morning.


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