Friday, March 9, 2012

How to Blanch Tomatoes

Step 1
I will admit this was my very first time blanching tomatoes.  I wanted to make sure I froze them correctly and ready for certain recipes. We had so many tomatoes from our produce box that I wanted to freeze half right away. 

This being my first time I was surprised  how easy it was.  Start with cleaning your tomato.  My husband was my right hand man through the entire process.  One thing he noticed is the waxy film on the produce.  I explained that I usually buy organic and these were conventional.  The wax is used by farmers and transporters to extend the shelf life of the produce.  You have a few options in cleaning your produce.  You can make a simple natural cleaning solution featured at Pistachio Project Blog ,shared this recipe with me.  For those that like the convenience of buying a safe green product, check out Mama Chocolate Blog experience on cleaning produce with Natural Eco products.  The important thing is to use a safe gentle way to clean the produce. Buying organic it is best for reducing the toxic pesticide and herbicides, but conventional still holds great nutritional value.

Step 3
Step 2- Remove steams and top nub.  I just make a straight slice down the tops of the tomato.  While we worked on steps 1 and 2, we had a large pot of water brought to a boil.  Step 3-  Add enough tomatoes to allow them to bob freely in water.  The tomatoes are in the water for about 5 minutes, more or less.  You will notice them to be ready when the skin on the outside starting to slice back.  I had a towel on the counter to allow the tomatoes to cool.
Step 4

Step 4- The skins are very easy to remove. Some people like to use their hands to just peel them off but I used two forks to just gently peel skin off.  I found this to be less messy and easier.  Now you are left with a blanched tomato.  I waited for tomatoes to cool completely before placing in a freezer bag and labeling with a black sharpie "Blanched".  I did freeze some tomatoes with out blanching for vegetable soups and stews that I like to be chunky. 

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup Recipe                                                                                     
4 cups of chopped tomatoes
1 whole sliced onion
4 whole garlic cloves
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar (cuts some of the acidity)

In a pot place tomatoes, onion, garlic, broth, and seasonings.  For this soup I used vegetable.  Bring to a bring to boil and reduce to medium for about 20 minutes.  Strain out vegetables and place in food processor, blend completely.  Add everything back into broth and heat back up to serve. 

Seafood Tomato Soup
Seafood Tomato Soup
3 cups Tomato soup (above)
1 cup water
1/4 of sliced onion
2 blanched tomatoes crushed
2 cups seafood mix ( mussels, shrimp, calamari, and scallops)
1 tbsp hot sauce

In a separate pan we added tomato soup (above) with the rest of the ingredients.  We cooked over medium low heat for about 30 minutes.  The hot sauce gave the soup a nice bit of heat.  This was a very delicious and delightful seafood soup that even the kids enjoyed and finished off for us. 

Nutritional value in tomatoes:  vitamin A, C, E, K, folate acid, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Health benefits include
  • high in antioxidants
  • protects the heart and reduces cholesterol
  • shown to counter effects of cigaret smoke
  • aids a healthy digestive system
  • nourishes the skin
  • lowers hypertension
  • high in Vitamin A which improves and supports vision 

Tomatoes have long be said to be a very heart healthy produce!

Kids corner
Tomatoes might be up there on the list of not liked foods.  It's OK.  You would be surprised how you can hide this item in your meals.  If your child gets upset over them, don't fight with them, keep positively introducing it in dishes and toppings.  When my kids try something new we like start with a small portion along with the meal.  If they say they don't like it, thank them for trying it and ask "what does it need, whats missing"?  This gives them ideas to be a part of the experience and fun of cooking and healthy foods.  Then continue to introduce to them in small amounts.  In time they are not so overwhelmed with something new and forget they don't like it.  They will see how much you enjoy the food and their palates will change.  Here are some ideas to introduce,and get creative to use more. 
  • Tomato soup
  • crushed in spaghetti sauce
  • chopped very small for raw over tacos
  • in stews, soups, and wraps
Fun Project 


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