Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blanched Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes



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Fear Conquered: Peeled Tomatoes

I know blanched tomatoes doesn't sound like a very exciting recipe and you're not going to win any new best friends by making them a bowl of these barely cooked, skinned tomatoes. But tomatoes go into so many recipes, and if you're not using canned tomatoes (remember my kiss blog?) then a simple recipe with straightforward instructions for blanched tomatoes is the perfect first recipe.

If the term "blanching" sounds intimidating, then brace yourself - this recipe is so simple and easy you'll wonder why you ever bothered getting out a can opener. Well, it's not as easy as opening a can, but if you blanch a whole bunch of tomatoes, chop them up, and refrigerate or freeze in batches, it will help speed up your prep time on those days when you're busy volunteering, helping the kids with homework or spending one-on-one time with your partner.

And I kinda lied - this isn't a recipe. It's really just instructions made to resemble a recipe with realistic time estimates. And about time estimates - have you ever noticed how some recipes quote ridiculously low time estimates (e.g. 30 min when it really takes 90!)? I don't do that in my recipes - if you're generous enough with your time to cook something from scratch for someone you care about, then you deserve to know HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE! Every recipe varies slightly due to differences in available tools, appliances, and techniques. But my recipes will be accurate within +/- 10 minutes (and that includes prep time).

So, now that I've gotten all that out of the way, here's my very first recipe on this blog. In 30 minutes, you can blanch at least 16 tomatoes. And while I know it's not as easy as opening a can, at least you can be confident your tomatoes will be BPA free and skinned without chemicals. See my point? So who needs a can opener?



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Photo Tutorial

Pot of Boiling Pasta Water
Bring a gallon of water to the boil in a medium stock pot

Roma Tomatoes
While water comes to the boil, wash tomatoes

Coring Roma Tomatoes
Core tomatoes, then drop into boiling water (no more than 4 tomatoes at a time) and leave in water for 50-60 seconds until skin begins to split. Remove tomatoes and drop into ice water. Peel.



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Blanched Tomatoes

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 15 min
     Cook Time: 50-60 sec per batch
    

Ingredients (16 tomatoes)
  • 2 gallons purified water, divided
  • 16 ripe tomatoes
  • Ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Add 1 gallon of water (I prefer water purified by reverse osmosis) to a medium sized stock pot and bring to the boil
  2. While the water comes to the boil, wash the tomatoes in cold tap water. Remove the stems with a sharp paring knife, cutting a small circle in the flesh of the tomatoes around the base of the stems. Do NOT slice or chop the tomatoes
  3. Fill a large bowl with the second gallon of water and add at least 10 ice cubes; set aside near the cook-top
  4. Once the water is boiling, gently drop the tomatoes into the boiling water in batches of no more then 4 at a time. Leave the tomatoes in water for 50-60 seconds or until the tomato skins have split and started to separate from the tomato flesh
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water. This stops the cooking process and encourages the skin to separate from the tomato flesh
  6. While the water returns to the boil (if you are blanching subsequent batches of tomatoes), use your fingers (or a small paring knife if necessary) to gently peel off the tomato skins.
  7. The peeled tomatoes can now be sliced, chopped or pureed and can be refrigerated, frozen in batches or used immediately
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2010 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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Hungry for Tips?
  • Use a timer when blanching tomatoes to avoid leaving them in boiling water too long and turning them to stewed tomatoes
     
  • Stick with small batches to avoid over-crowding tomatoes in the pot or dropping the temperature of the water
     
  • Whenever you're working with tomatoes (or other soft-flesh fruits or vegetables), using a serrated knife helps to slice without mashing
     
  • If you make your own stocks, you can save the tomato skins and blanching water for flavoring stock
     
  • If you're substituting blanched tomatoes in a recipe that calls for crushed or diced canned tomatoes, chop and cook blanched tomatoes over low heat for approx 30 minutes to boil-off excess water before measuring
     
  • For extra flavorful tomatoes for spaghetti or lasagna recipes, first roast tomatoes sprinkled with chopped basil, oregano, parsley and a little balsamic vinegar

    Roasted Roma Tomato Pieces


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4 comments:

  1. Sabrina Spiher RobinsonFebruary 28, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    How long will the tomatoes keep when frozen? Like, if I were to do this to tomatoes in September, would they survive in the freezer until December?

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  2. yes, provided they are sealed properly in airtight containers. the only change to the tomatoes when freezing will be that the tomatoes come out with the water content separated out - which can be useful if you don't want the water content as you can just drain off before using.

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  3. There's a part of me that would love to learn to can. But there's also a part of me that is mortally terrified of killing everyone I love with botulism. Seriously, food borne illness is a phobia of mine, irrational like other people's fears of flying and heights and such. Twice in my life I have had serious cases of food-borne illness; as a child of eight, a case of salmonella that left me terribly, terribly ill for days and days under a doctor's close care, and as an adult, an unidentified illness that I refused to go to the hospital for (that shit's expensive) but that I probably should have gone for, which left me awfully, quasi-unconscious-ill for 24 hours and unable to eat anything besides bananas (why bananas?) for a week or so afterwards.

    THE POINT IS, I'm just too paranoid about food safety now to stomach home canning. I KNOW the government has good, step-by-step instructions. But ... I just can't. Honestly, it's fear like other people fear public speaking. So I'm always interested in other, non-botulism related ways to save summer's goodness until later in the year, and so the freezer duration of foods is of interest to me.

    Do you have a brand of container you'd recommend?

    ReplyDelete
  4. i share a similar terror of Somalia food poisoning. i won't eat raw eggs and i'm obsessive about cleaning anything raw egg or chicken touches. so i get the fear of botulism.

    freezing works just fine in my opinion. my mom used to can and freeze tomatoes every year and i never really noticed much of a difference between the two. so as long as you've got freezer space (or invest in a chest freezer), forget canning.

    to be honest, i've used a random collection of freezer containers. the best plastic to use is number 5 (make sure it's not number 7 or 6 as number 7 often contains bpa and number 6 is a form of pvc). my official recommendation is rubbermaid and here's a promising option that appears bpa free:

    http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-7J98-24-Piece-Storage-Containers/dp/B000WEKLLM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1267469250&sr=8-4

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