For the past 40 years, I’ve been making tomato juice and tomato purée using a deep freezer and minimal cooking.
When my excess tomatoes ripen in late August and I’m too busy to deal with them, I clean them, remove bad spots, and freeze them whole in their skins on a tray before bagging and storing them in the freezer.
When I have time to deal with the tomatoes, I decide how many I want to process, then dip the frozen balls in warm water and slip off the skins. I stack them in a dishpan and let them thaw for half a day. As the frozen tomatoes thaw, they release their juice as an almost colorless liquid. I dip this liquid out and it makes the best, freshest-tasting tomato juice ever (with or without salt added). This can be frozen or stored in the fridge for four to five days.
I drain the tomatoes until they become the consistency of sauce or purée. Then I run this mass through a blender and cook it for a few minutes before refreezing. I don’t remove the seeds, as I think they add food value to the tomato purée, but you can strain them out after a few minutes of cooking if you like. This is also a great way to make use of tomatoes that otherwise may not look the best for sale at your farmers market — and no canning necessary.
Forest Grove, Pennsylvania
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