Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Preparing for winter

We've been eating tomatoes every day for weeks now, but yesterday was the first time we picked a basket full, enough to bottle. Everything seems to be about two weeks later than last year after the cold spring, but yesterday we found 5 kilos of tomatoes were ripe, with about the same again which will be ready in a couple of days' time. So it was time to start bottling.

Last year we tried many different ways of preserving our tomatoes, ending up with more than 50 jars so that we didn't buy tomatoes at all, eating our own all through the winter. This time we tried yet another method:

Bottled tomato passata

Roughly chop the tomatoes and remove the stems and tough centres.
Put them in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer until the skins start to come off.
Put the tomato pulp through a mouli legumes until all that is left in the mouli is dryish skin.
Simmer the pulp and juice until it has reduced by half. Bottle in jars which have been sterilised by placing in an oven at 140 degrees C for 10 minutes. Gently pour a little olive oil over the top of the pulp before putting the lid on. This passata can be used in sauces and dishes which require heating. I think it is safer not to eat it without reheating. It certainly keeps well for nearly a year as we have only just finished our jars of last year's tomatoes.

I had thought that this 'mouli' method would be easier than peeling the tomatoes before cooking, but I'm not sure that it does save time or effort. Next time we'll try peeling them as we did last year.
In the garden at lunchtime we at our first melon:


CityGarden said...

yes it's time for bottling!
we also bottle tomato in jars but we bought the tomatos because we dont have enough

Shibaguyz said...

Your tomatoes look so good! Reminds us of canning/bottling ours last year. The whole house smelled wonderful. Ever thought of oven drying some? I know we did that last year and they were welcome additions to all of our sauces, sandwiches and pasta dishes.

We're going to go out to the garden now and will our tomatoes to ripen now...

Shibaguyz said...

Seeing your tomatoes reminds us of last year when we were canning/bottling our tomatoes. The whole house smelled wonderful! Have you ever tried oven drying some? We did that last year and used them all winter in sauces, sandwiches and pasta dishes.

We're going to go out to the garden now and will our tomatoes to ripen...

chaiselongue said...

Glad you like the tomatoes! Yes, I have oven-dried them and last year we sun-dried some and they were delicious. We'll probably do some again this year. Hope yours ripen very soon!!

Kate said...

You are picking them now and bottling them and we are eating what I bottled last summer...the cycle of the seasons. I also openned a bottle of peaches and a jar of plum jam this week from our supplies of home-grown and preserved goodies. Soon I will be sowing capsicums and tomatoes for next summer's crops.