I struggle with preserving foods. Really, I do. I also struggle with gardening, but that’s for another post.
The reason I do not like putting up foods is simple: I hate the time involved. I hate realizing that I need to sit down for a few hours to get something ready to bag and freeze or can. So when we had an abundance of tomatoes last year, I was not happy about canning them.
Traditional methods of canning or freezing tomatoes involve dipping them in boiling water to remove the skins. My aunt gave me a much, much faster way: freeze the whole tomato, then run it under hot water.
What? This works? Oh, yes. The tomatoes come off of the vines, go straight into gallon-sized Ziploc bags, and are frozen just like that. When I want a tomato or two for a dish, I run the whole tomato under hot tap water and peel the skin off. Sometimes the skins need help from a finger nail or a knife to get them started, but once the slice is there, I am frequently able to pull the skin off in one piece.
I cut, chop, or dice the tomatoes while they are still frozen. Sharp knives are necessary for this; serrated knives just won’t do the job. The cut pieces look like shaved ice: snowy and soft. Once the tomatoes are chopped, I add them directly to whatever dish needs them. A few minutes on the stove top or in the oven and you can’t tell they were frozen. Frozen tomatoes taste much fresher than canned and take less work. Thanks to my aunt who told me of this nifty trick!