ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Cook Canned Tomatoes - Preparing Fresh Peeled Tomatoes for Sauces, Soups, and Salads

Updated on July 17, 2015
Yum! Come here you, we're gonna make some sauce today!
Yum! Come here you, we're gonna make some sauce today! | Source

This is my second post in a series about how to cook fresh stuff into its canned component. I can see this series being renewed for years to come.

To make sure you're in the right place, allow me to preface with this: this post is not about canning tomatoes, nor how to cook tomatoes from a can. This post is about how to prepare fresh tomatoes to use like you would use canned tomatoes from the store. Because we all gotta start somewhere...


As a child of the '80's, I grew up on boxed mac-n-cheese and canned tomato soup. These were "ingredients", and that's how I learned to cook. Step one usually involved a can-opener.

It was my hunter husband that turned me on to preparing food straight from the Earth. We had similar life philosophies but opposite backgrounds - I did not grow up in a hunting family, and he took deer from the woods to the table all by himself. That grossed me out, but I wanted, NEEDED, to learn how to do that - how to feed myself without going to the store. And as he needed me to help him throughout the deer processing process, like hanging the deer to drain, and running the meat through the hand-cranked grinder, I learned to get down and dirty in order to feed my family ... though sometimes when I'm cleaning knives I still make the "eww" face.

The first time we baked bread as a young couple, I was hooked. The aroma that filled our home, the delicious flavor that filled our mouths, and the satisfaction that filled our stomachs...there was no going back to less nutritious, less delicious food. The first pizza crust I ever made was like a meal in itself! I didn't KNOW the crust of the pizza could be as delicious and filling as the rest of the pie - it was like home-baked bread all by itself.

With my frozen pizza days behind me, I wanted to know more. What else tasted better homemade? What else permeated our house with appetizing smells, vivid colors and truly satisfying meals that magically seemed to transform our small house into a loving home for our new family?

When learning something new, you can take your cues from surrounding events, and when it comes to food, freshness (and the impending lack thereof) is its own little natural timer. Within a few days of searching for new dishes to prepare fresh in our kitchen, our friend Lou delivered a 5 gallon bucket full of tomatoes to our home. Now, I can only eat so much salad and caprese, so chopping up dozens of tomatoes for fresh consumption wasn't going to "cut" it. It was time to learn how to take these tomatoes from the bucket to the saucepan, and then on to the freezer to wait with the deer meat for use in future meals.

The kind of tomatoes Lou dropped off look like the preschool flashcard version of "T is for Tomato". They're called beefsteak, globe, or slicing tomatoes and are your typical big, red, round tomato. Of course there are other types of tomatoes, and the sizable ones like heirloom and roma you could prepare for sauces the same way as the beefsteak.


Watch closely - they split quick! See my "x"s?
Watch closely - they split quick! See my "x"s? | Source
The hot tomatoes melted most of my ice cubes instantly. Should have more at the ready next time.
The hot tomatoes melted most of my ice cubes instantly. Should have more at the ready next time. | Source
Peels right off!
Peels right off! | Source
Seeded and sufficiently squished...er, chopped. Think it's time to sharpen my knives...
Seeded and sufficiently squished...er, chopped. Think it's time to sharpen my knives... | Source

The process of turning the garden tomato into the ready-to-use uncooked skinless version is called "blanching". Blanching removes the skin from the rest of the vegetable (er, fruit?) and leaves you with a wet plump of a tomato you can leave whole, or seed and dice. It does not cook the tomato - it just prepares it to be a fresh, skinless ingredient at the ready for sauces, soups, salads and sandwiches.

To prep the tomatoes, rinse them off in cold water. Cut off the stem and cut out the hard "stemmy part" (or just slice through the top part of the tomato to remove them both in one fell swoop) and any imperfections that go into the tomato. You don't have to worry about marks that are just on the skin's surface because the blanching process will easily remove the skin. Then cut a small "X" shape into the bottom of the tomato.

Once your tomatoes are prepped, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Just put a bunch of ice cubes in enough water to cover the tomatoes. I like to use a metal bowl for this, because it tends to keeps the water cooler for longer. Then in a large pot, boil enough water to also cover the tomatoes.

Drop just a few tomatoes into the boiling water at a time. In 20-60 seconds time, their skin will split.

Watch closely - they split quick! See my "x"s?

At this point, immediately remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and put them in the ice bath. After about one minute, they should be cool enough to handle.

The hot tomatoes melted most of my ice cubes instantly.

Pick up the tomato and easily slide the skin off with your fingers (or use a knife in places where the skin seems to be stuck).

Peels right off!

What you're left with is a whole tomato, like if you were to buy a can of "whole tomatoes" at the store. I like to cut mine in half and squeeze the seeds out, then use the seedless halves as a base for spaghetti sauce, chili, and (American) goulash. From this point you can "chop" them, or "dice" them, and have what you'd buy from the store, minus the water or puree they're packed in.

Seeded and sufficiently squished...er, chopped. Think it's time to sharpen my knives...

This is my go-to recipe for fresh spaghetti sauce, using my tomatoes in place of the "1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes" listed in the ingredients: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spaghetti-sauce-ii/ . Right off the bat this recipe has you sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil, filling your home with an appetizing and drool-inducing aroma. Then you add your tomatoes, herbs and spices and simmer for a few hours. The whole process of making this sauce in your own home as you spend the afternoon stirring, smelling, and tasting the sauce is calming, delicious and rewarding.

Another place to substitute your fresh tomatoes for canned ones is in this venison lasagna recipe, which calls for diced tomatoes. It's labor intensive and definitely an impressive presentation piece: http://leetea.hubpages.com/hub/Venison-Lasagna-with-Homemade-Sauce

Mmmmm - YES!

And here's a tasty and crowd-pleasing American-style goulash that uses fresh tomatoes, venison, and a crock pot. A fresh dinner hot and ready anytime! http://leetea.hubpages.com/hub/Goulash-with-Fresh-Tomatoes-and-Ground-Venison

*tummy grumble*...great for game day!

Taking tomatoes from the garden to the plate is a nutritious and rewarding experience. Use your tomatoes now, or refrigerate them to use within a few days. Preserve them for later use by canning them, or cooking up a big pot of sauce and freezing the leftovers. You can do it!! So grow a pair (or more ;)), man up, and make your own food from scratch. Your good health, pleasing home, and happy tummy will thank you.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)