Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today is my 8th wedding anniversary.  Wanna know what I did on my anniversary?  I did laundry and canned tomatoes.  So romantic.

My dad came over and let my kids help him plant a cherry tomato plant and a regular tomato plant in our back yard a couple months ago.  We have to water them every single day.  The plants have struggled in the 100+ degree days we've been having, but they have survived.

For a couple weeks now we have been collecting the red tomatoes everyday, mostly cherry tomatoes.  The problem is that Jared and I are the only people in our family who like tomatoes.  So we have been able to just incorporate tomatoes into our meals in order to use up what we have.

However, the last week or so has brought more tomatoes than we could possibly eat.  Can you relate?  Well, if you are also growing tomatoes and drowning in more than you can eat, you may be interested to hear what I did with mine.

First, I brought a pot of water to a boil.  I also filled a large bowl with cold water.  You should add ice to this cold water.  Unfortunately, we don't have an ice maker, so we rarely have ice.  But I did look in our freezer and found two large cooler ice packs.  They did the trick!

{Sidenote: This reminds me of a funny scene from the show "Mad About You."  A convenience store owner says, "Ice is our biggest profit margin.  It's just water and cold and time."  Anyone else ever watch "Mad About You"?}

I made very shallow "x" cuts on the bottoms of the large tomatoes, trying to just pierce the skin.

I placed the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, or until the skin started peeling away from the score lines.

Then I put the tomatoes into the "ice" water.  I let them sit in the cold water for several minutes.  In the meantime, I began the tedious task of scoring the bottoms of all the cherry tomatoes.

I did the same process with the cherry tomatoes, but they only needed to stay in the boiling water for about 10 seconds.

Once the tomatoes were cooled in the cold water, I pulled them out and easily peeled the skins off the tomatoes. 

Once I got all the skins off the large tomatoes, I chopped them and placed them in jars.  Once I got all the skins off the cherry tomatoes, I decided to try to just cut off the tiny spots where the stems had been.  Not easy.  I ended up accidentally squeezing many of the tomatoes.  It was easiest to cut off the very tops of the cherry tomatoes.

I also had four large tomatoes that had weird spots or splits on their skin, so I just cut out the bad spots and chopped the rest of the tomato with the skins on.  I don't mind tomato skins when I eat them raw, but I prefer not to have skins on when they're cooked.  I'm sure I can find uses for all these forms of tomatoes.

I ended up with two jars of skinless chopped large tomatoes, one jar of skinless whole cherry tomatoes, and two jars (one 1-pint and one 1/2-pint) of chopped tomatoes with skins on.

I had these (and more) canning jars on hand because that's just the kind of girl I am.  The wide-mouth half-pint jar is left over from one of the most successful homemade Christmas gifts I've ever made.  I'll tell you more about that another time.

I also had these adorable strawberry jar labels on hand:

I slapped the labels on the jars and put them in my deep freeze.  We can use these tomatoes later in casseroles, chili, or whatever.  I love that none of our homegrown tomatoes went to waste!

And really, the whole point is that these tomatoes are proof that I kept a plant alive!  (see Random Fact #18)

I hope this helps any of you wondering how to preserve all your tomatoes.  I know there are lots of ways to can tomatoes, and this is just how I did it.

Now when I pull them out of the freezer in a few months, I hope that the labels make me happy and not bitter that I spent my anniversary canning tomatoes.


P.S.  Here are a few pictures from our wedding album:

And here we are 8 years later:

1 comment:

  1. Well Happy Anniversary yesterday! I am so grateful for the timing of this post. I was all set to turn my abundance of tomatoes into spaghetti sauce (that we freeze to use all winter) when I read this. I have never thought of giving the tomatoes an ice bath before peeling the skins off. I have been making spaghetti sauce and canning tomatoes with my mom as long as I can remember. My mom always pulled those tomatoes straight from the boiling water, gave them a little rinse under the cold water faucet and began to peel and dice. It took several years for my hands to get tough enough to stand the boiling insides of the tomatoes, but over time my fingers seem to withstand the heat. Jason flipped out the first time I asked him to help. His poor fingers were so red and burnt. Today I tried your ice bath. Why have I never considered such a brilliant thing? It was so much more relaxing to leisurely peel the skins off the cooled tomatoes as opposed to my usual sloppy rush with the steaming ones. I'm sure my mom just does it like she was taught by her mom and grandmother. Well that stops here. I declare today that my daughter will learn about ice baths for boiling tomatoes!

    On another note, I came across this recipe yesterday and thought it had promise. It's a salad, but rather than lettuce, it uses fresh corn cut off the cob (ice bath the corn before cutting it from the cob - woohoo I'm learning). Despite our conversation this week regarding the gagging down of lettuce salads, I thought this sounded good and refreshing for a change. So, use up some more tomatoes! Oh and if you want my spaghetti sauce recipe (and have several empty tupperware/butter dishes lying around to freeze it in), let me know. I feel like you have a family spaghetti sauce recipe already, but if not, I've got a keeper for ya. Truly the best I've ever had.

    The corn salad recipe: