A Ton of Tomatoes

by Teresa Higginbotham

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Those little red orbs are coming out your ears and you don't want to start canning? Do your neighbors start running when you start walking towards their door with a grocery sack? Tomatoes are a wonderful blessing but they can also seem like a curse. You need to do something with them....fast, but you don't have the time you need to do it! Here are five easy ways to use them up and have tomatoes for the wintertime.

Chop and Freeze Plain Tomatoes

You Need: Quart-Size Freezer Bags

This is what I did with most of my tomatoes this year. I like being able to use chopped tomatoes in recipes so I did the chop and freeze method. First put a pot of water on to boil. Take your tomatoes and cut off the tops and then taking some tongs, dip the tomato in the water for about ten seconds. This will make the peel come right off. Pull off the peelings and then either cut up the tomato or chop it up in the food processor. Put in bags and freeze.

Basic Spaghetti Meat Sauce

There are two ways to do this. You can use a sauce mix and just add the ingredients called for on the envelope and then freeze in a quart size freezer bag. You can also use the recipe below and start from scratch.

You Need:

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 cups of chopped tomatoes
  • One 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • One 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup parsley flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fennel

Check sale prices for Quart Size Freezer Bags on Amazon.

Brown onion and ground beef and then add remaining ingredients and let simmer one hour until sauce is thick. Add water if needed. Put in freezer bags, label and freeze.

Tomato Soup
Yes, you can make it yourself!

Creamy Cheese and Tomato Soup

Source: Kitchen Link

  • 2 tsp. Margarine
  • 1 md Onion chopped.
  • 1 Garlic clove crushed (optional)
  • 1 lb (480 g) tomatoes skinned and Chopped
  • OR use 14-oz (420 g) Canned Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lg. Carrot chopped.
  • 1 pt (600 ml) vegetable stock.
  • 4-oz (120 g) low fat soft cheese.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Chopped fresh basil or Parsley to garnish.

Melt the margarine in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes and carrot and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes stirring constantly. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Blend the soup until smooth in a liquidiser or food processor. Return to the saucepan and add the cheese, stirring to melt. Season to taste and heat gently until almost boiling, stirring constantly. Serve one portion in a warmed soup bowl garnished with fresh basil or parsley.

To freeze the remaining soup cool quickly and place in rigid containers (one serving per container). Seal label and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost and re-heat gently to serve.

Stewed Tomatoes

Just stick the tomatoes in the crockpot and let the cooking get done while you work!

Slow-Cooker Stewed Tomatoes

Source: PureSugar.net

  • 6 whole to 8 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion -- thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sweet basil
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Quickly dip tomatoes in boiling water; remove skin. Quarter tomatoes and remove core and seeds. In slow-cooker, combine all ingredients except parsley. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle top with parsley. Makes 4 to 5 servings. Note: Recipe can be doubled and still fit in a 3 1/2 quart slow-cooker.

Check sale prices for Containers on Amazon.

Tomato Juice
You can freeze this!

Homemade V8 Juice

Source: Kitchen Link

  • 15 lb fully ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 c Celery, chopped
  • 3 lg Onions, chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced/mashed
  • 1/4 c Sugar; or to taste
  • 2 tb -Salt
  • 3/4 ts Pepper
  • 2 ts Prepared horseradish
  • 1/3 c Lemon juice
  • Worcestershire to taste

Over medium high heat bring the vegetables to a boil and boil gently for about 20 minutes. In a covered blender (food processor) and a portion at a time process until smooth. Strain and discard pulp. Add seasonings and bring to just under boiling if canning, or chill and freeze. Yield about 6 quarts.

So don't feel like you're an extra in attack of the killer tomato crop. Clear those tomatoes off that counter and rejoice in your harvest!

Teresa Higginbotham is also known as "Tightwad Tess."

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