Sometimes at the end of the week of CSA vegetables I have veggies left over that I need to use before I get my new box. Certain times of the year I get overrun with particular things: jalapenos, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and sweet potatoes can be troublesome. So what’s a busy mumma who doesn’t want to be wasteful to do? In my previous post I mentioned an alternative way to use extra zucchini and squash. But what do you do with lots of extra tomatoes or cucumbers?
Being raised in rural Maine the answer to this question was really simple especially at the end of the growing season. You can or freeze stuff for the winter because winter sucks. In Texas winter is a completely different animal but some of the same ideas still apply. The only issue is I don’t have or want a pressure cooker. So full on canning isn’t something I’m going to be doing. Instead I freeze a lot of things – green beans, corn, and tomatoes in particular.
Freeze tomatoes? How, what? So the preparation of the tomatoes for freezing or canning is the same. You blanch them so that the skins come off and remove the “core”, that spot on top where the stem attaches. Then you can freeze them whole or in quarters. Cook completely, put them in a freezer bag, squeeze the air our and stuff in the freezer. What do I use frozen tomatoes for? Anything you’d use those canned tomatoes you buy at the grocery store. Another possibility is to blanch the tomatoes, puree them in a blender and then make tomato sauce. I’m partial to Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for Marinara sauce but I make my own tweaks like removing the carrots and scaling back the batch size based on how much tomato puree I have. Where she has “cans of crushed tomato” this is where you use your puree. She also has a Tomato Sauce recipe. If you like a kick in your sauce you can make it arrabbiata. Sauce is best fresh but you can freeze it too.
I ended up using my tomato sauce on an awesome breaded veal cutlet and pasta combination I made for dinner tonight!