We read some very useful tomato tips from another home-canner's blog; after blending tomatoes for sauce, let them sit in the refrigerator overnight to separate the majority of the water from the tomato. The water settles to the bottom of the container, leaving the thicker tomato on top. This saves a lot of time when cooking the tomato down to reduce to sauce. However, there is one caveat to this tip: as we learned towards the end of our tomato sprint, the tomatoes need to be blended fairly fine in order for this to work. At first we thought our tomatoes weren't separating because they were romas, and more meatier than beefsteak; but we found eventually that the more finely blended romas separated just fine overnight. You can remove the water by pouring off the tomato and leaving the water in the container, siphoning out the water from the bottom, or using a turkey baster. We used clear containers for our tomatoes so it was easy to see the water level.
|After separation: Tomato sauce on the left, water on the right.|
|Scene of the crime, post clean-up|
All things considered, the cocktail sauce turned out spicy and delicious, and I can't wait to enjoy it with home made fries and Mr. H's fresh-caught seafood.
|Fresh peels in a bucket on the right, blended peels on the left|
A last Useful Tip on tomatoes comes from a combination of lessons learned from pears and peaches, and the timeless Waste not Want not adage. I'll share the lesson about the pears and peaches in a subsequent blog, but for now I will share with you a jewel of a tip from tomatoes. Save aside the 10+ pounds of skins from blanching/shocking all of your whole and diced canned tomatoes in a bucket or something. Set up a blender and squeeze some of the water out of a handful or so at a time; blend for several minutes per handful, and cook the resulting sauce for a little (depending on how much water you squeezed out) to reduce to a thick, nutritious tomato paste.
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