I hope that I have many seasons of tomato canning ahead of me, but for now I am relieved to store the space-hogging canning pot. 60 lbs is the official tally for 2014 (give or take a few pounds for fresh salsa and dinner prep).
I used my existing pantry and last year’s plan to help guide my quantity goals this year. The dedicated tomato shelf is happy. Here’s what I now have on hand:
Ketchup – 3 ¼ pints total
I gave quite a bit of my ketchup away as gifts last year and I still have a full pint left, so I decided to go with just one batch this year. I always portion my ketchup into quarter pint jars so that I don’t risk losing any to the fridge after opening. Crossing fingers that the stash holds up for a full year. We shall have to pace ourselves. Recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (omitted the allspice).
Basic tomato sauce – 10 pints total
I didn’t make but a couple of portions of basic tomato sauce last year and regretted it within a few weeks of tomato season closing. This stuff is so versatile when left plain and unsalted. I use it for quick batches of fideos and, with a little doctoring, it makes a great base for pizza sauces. Recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (no spices).
Crushed tomatoes – 14 pints total
These are top of my list every year. They go in vegetarian chili, soups, stews, take the place of blanched and peeled tomatoes in chana masala on weekdays, and even make a decent batch of tomato soup with the help of some fresh shallots and herbs. Recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
Oven-roasted tomatoes (freezer) – 2 pints total
I didn’t put as much of these away this year, mostly because I don’t have the freezer space. The foresight required to defrost ahead of dinner time is not something that I do well either. That said, these are great for a quick pasta sauce. Shallots, a smidge of balsamic, salt & pepper, and voila. I’ll be putting up little bits of this when I have extra tomatoes on hand this summer. I freeze these in half-pint portions so that I don’t have to defrost more than absolutely necessary.
Oven-roasted green tomatoes – 7 pints total
This is my first year putting oven-roasted green tomatoes and I am really excited. My hope is that they’ll brighten up some of my wintery stews with their tang. I’ll figure out other uses throughout the year. Maybe in some homemade Indian Food? I had originally planned to freeze them, but my limited freezer space ended that pipe dream. Recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (used recipe for crushed tomatoes as a guide).
Enchilada sauce (freezer)
I didn’t do this last year, but I noticed that an amazing difference in my enchilada sauce this summer when made with fresh summer tomatoes and couldn’t resist putting a little up in the freezer. I’ve never put up a fully prepared and seasoned sauce in the freezer and I am not 100% convinced that the flavor will hold up well, but decided to give it a shot. Half-pint portions so that I can use them for a morning batch of huevos rancheros or chilaquiles without waste. Recipe is my own and coming soon.