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how-to-freeze-tomatoes

How To Freeze Tomatoes for Storage

Garden fresh tomatoes, bursting with flavor, are far superior to anything available in the supermarket. For this reason, many people now grow their own, and enjoy the terrific flavor, texture, and high nutritional value of ripe juicy tomatoes straight from their own gardens. Some harvests, however, provide a bumper crop of tomatoes. If you are picking bowls of ripe tomatoes daily, you will soon have more than you can possibly eat at one time, and giving them to neighbors and friends doesn’t work if everyone is experiencing the same abundance of harvest. There is no need to let any tomato go uneaten however, as it is very easy to put tomatoes up for fall and winter eating.

Freezing Vs. Canning

While canning is one well-known option for putting up tomatoes, canning is not always possible to do. You may lack the time, the know-how, or the proper equipment to can tomatoes. Luckily freezing tomatoes is an easy and quick method to put them up which requires no special equipment or materials other than plastic freezer bags and some room in your freezer for storage.

Tomatoes can be frozen raw, blanched, or stewed. You can freeze tomatoes whole, cut into chunks, or pureed. You can choose to freeze them with or without their skins and seeds.

Assemble Your Tomatoes

First, assemble your tomatoes. Pick tomatoes as soon as they are ripe. They should have a deep color, firm flesh, and feel heavy for their size. Choose tomatoes that are not bruised nor seriously split. Do not use tomatoes that are going bad or those with any mold, as spoilage can spread to an entire batch. Wash tomatoes, remove the stems, and cut away stem scars and any bruises or faults.

Raw and Whole

You can also freeze raw tomatoes that have been sliced or diced in the same way. Stack frozen slices in bags. Bag diced raw tomatoes before freezing. Don’t fill freezer bags completely, rather leave about one inch of head room at the top of the bag, which allows for expansion during freezing. Squeeze out any excess air before sealing. Then freeze the bags on a flat surface in your freezer. If you don’t freeze them flat, they will often freeze in awkward, lumpy shapes that cannot stack easily, and therefore take up more room than necessary in your freezer.

Get a Pan of Ice Water

If you prefer to use tomatoes with skins removed, it is easy to do this prior to freezing. Fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Have ready a panful of ice water. Drop a few tomatoes at a time into the boiling water and blanch them for thirty to sixty seconds. When the skins start to pucker and split, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into the ice water. The skins will then slip off easily. If you want to remove the seeds, simply cut tomatoes in half, and squeeze them slightly, Juice and most seeds will run out, leaving only the flesh. Cut blanched tomatoes as you like, halved or cubed, fill freezer bags, freeze flat, stack, and store.

Tomatoes can also be lightly stewed before freezing, which is generally agreed to produce the best flavor. Heat olive oil in a pot, and place tomatoes, either whole or chopped, into the oil. Cook on medium low heat for fifteen to thirty minutes, until slightly softened. Smaller sized chunks will cook more quickly than whole tomatoes, though any size does fine, as long as each batch is of uniform size. Once softened, cool tomatoes in the refrigerator before freezing.

If you stew tomatoes, don’t bother to add any seasonings before freezing. Many herbs and seasonings will lose potency during the freezing process. Wait until you use the tomatoes for cooking to add salt, pepper, garlic, onion, or basil.

Freezing tomatoes is quick and easy. In the space of a half of an hour, you can put aside a couple of quarts of frozen tomatoes to use through the fall and winter. Frozen tomatoes can keep safely for at least eight months, or until the start of the next growing season!

Loss in Texture

Frozen tomatoes retain excellent taste and most of their original nutritional value. The tomato’s texture, however, does change. Do not plan to use frozen tomatoes as you would fresh: they will not be suitable for sandwiches or salads. However tomatoes from your freezer can be used in all of your cooking. Use them for delicious pasta sauces, pizza toppings, soups, stews, casseroles, meatloaf, or chili. You can defrost them in the refrigerator, or simply add them, still frozen, to your hot pot.

Pick Them Before Winter

So go out and fearlessly pick all of those ripe tomatoes in your garden. Wash them, prepare them as you choose, bag them, freeze flat, and then stack them for storage. The little bit of work that you devote now will allow you to sail past the sad offerings of industrial tomatoes in the supermarket come winter. With minimal effort and no special equipment, you will can feed your family delicious and nutritious homegrown tomatoes all winter long.

Easy and Affordable Meal Planning For Single People

affordable-cooking-for-single-people

Living on your own offers tons of advantages. You can stay up late without disturbing anyone, go wherever you want whenever you have the time, and make your own decisions without needing to consult other people.

Unfortunately, singles have a harder time than large families when it comes to cooking cheap, healthy, made-from-scratch meals. A savvy shopper can save money by buying in bulk, but perishable items spoil quickly when there’s only one person eating them. Many nutritious recipes are intended to serve three or more people, and a group can split kitchen duties.

Because of the difficulties of shopping and cooking for one, many singles find themselves fixing microwave dinners every night or eating out more often than their budget allows. Before you convert your oven into a storage cabinet, however, the following three tips can teach you how to prepare great homemade meals at affordable prices.

1) Make Plans

plan-your-meals

Avoid those last-minute trips through the drive-through by mapping out a week’s worth of meals ahead of time. Meal planning might initially seem intimidating, the habit of supermoms and health gurus. However, with a little practice and forethought, even the most amateur cook can work out a basic food schedule.

Track What You Eat

First, track what you eat for several weeks and consider your personal dietary needs. How often do you grab fast food because it’s convenient? Do you enjoy cooking, or do you find it a chore? Does your daily schedule fluctuate, or do you stick to a routine? Would you be content eating leftovers for several days, or do you crave variety?

Take Inventory

list

Next, take inventory of all the dishes in your repertoire, writing down everything you enjoy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Maybe the best you can manage is pasta and tacos, or perhaps you have a few specialties like clam chowder or Asian stir fry. Next to each dish on the list, include the necessary ingredients and some good sides. You can now use this master list to mix-and-match all your meal plans.

Basic Common Ingredients

Next, take inventory of all the dishes in your repertoire, writing down everything you enjoy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Maybe the best you can manage is pasta and tacos, or perhaps you have a few specialties like clam chowder or Asian stir fry. Next to each dish on the list, include the necessary ingredients and some good sides. You can now use this master list to mix-and-match all your meal plans.

2) Shop Smart

Running through the drive-through might seem like a good idea at the time, but the cost of one burger could buy you enough store-bought food to last several days. Even if you do eat at home most of the time, your grocery bill can fluctuate greatly depending on the quantities, brands, and types of food you buy. As you manage your single income budget, learn these tricks for saving money at the market.

Compare Similar Products

Mature man doing grocery shopping

If one brand of potato chips costs $2.99 and a comparable brand costs $3.15, which is the better deal? The answer might not be as obvious as you think. Look at the price tag. In addition to the list price of an item, many stores also include a unit price, so the smaller $2.99 bag of chips might actually be five cents per ounce while the $3.15 deal is four cents per ounce, giving you more for your buck. Train your eyes to look at the unit price, not the list price, and you’ll save in the long run. Along those lines, purchase in bulk any item with a long shelf life, such as salt, flour, sugar, canned goods, cereal, rice, pasta, and sauces. Single portion meals may seem quick and easy, but if you freeze the leftovers from a family-sized dinner, you’ll get a better deal.

Shopping Generic Brands

Generic brands typically have the lowest unit price while tasting just as good as recognized brands; however, realize that for certain foods like raw meat and fresh produce, cheaper may mean lower quality, and it might not be worth saving a few pennies if the second-rate ingredient ruins your dish. Spend a little extra to stock up on quality staples like spices and olive oil, which enhance multiple foods. Additionally, if you need only a tiny portion of an ingredient for a special meal, it’s cheaper to buy the smaller quantity even if the unit price is greater.

Look For Deals and Coupons

Finally, always stay alert for deals and coupons. Most stores send out a circular listing each week’s sales, and if you’re feeling ambitious, you could visit multiple shops in one trip to hunt down the best prices on everything you need. Online coupon sites are a great resource too. If your favorite store offers a free member bonus card, sign up for it. Some of these cards will even reward you with discounts on gas.

3)Get Creative

creative-cooking-for-single-people

Save time and money with creativity in the kitchen. Use the same fresh ingredient in multiple dishes in order to limit the number of items in your shopping cart. For example, you can snack on tortilla chips in the afternoon then crumple them up in black bean soup for supper, eat mashed potatoes one night and shepherd’s pie the next, or invent your own casserole with whatever’s left in the pantry.

Eliminate Wastefulness

If you buy a lot of groceries at one time or live with roommates, food often gets pushed to the back of the fridge until it eventually spoils. If you find yourself buying fresh foods and forgetting to eat them in time, try this easy DIY project: Buy a large dry erase board and use masking tape to create a chart with three columns and as many rows as you want. In the first column, write down the names of recently purchased perishable foods and where they’re located—refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. In the second column, record the purchase dates, and in the third column, copy down the expiration dates. Now, rather than rummaging through drawers and shelves, you can take a quick look at the chart to see if you have any foods you need to use up.

Experiment!

Do you love experimenting in the kitchen? If you find a tasty new recipe intended to serve an entire family, you can simply halve the necessary ingredients. Alternatively, you could invite friends and neighbors over for a large dinner party and send them home with leftovers. A group of single friends could even make this a regular event, with everyone taking turns preparing a family-sized meal to share.

Eat Healthy, Stay Thrifty

Eating healthy while staying thrifty can be difficult when you’re single, as anyone who’s ever opened up the pantry, found nothing, and ordered Chinese takeout can testify. With no one around to keep you accountable or split the grocery bill, it’s tempting to slip into bad nutritional habits. However, by planning out your meals, saving money at the store, and getting creative in the kitchen, you’ll soon be enjoying delicious home-cooked meals.

Product Spotlight: Edlund Knife Sterilizer Cabinet

Clean Those Knives!

The Edlund Knife Sterilizer Cabinet is the perfect way to clean your knives. It holds up to 12 at a time and features a stainless steel construction.

Looking For The Best Knife Sterilizer?

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The Edlund Knife Sterilizer Cabinet provides better sterilization compared to other methods. Our one of a kind non-filtering transparent slotted knife holder and unique mirrored interior walls get rid of shadows on knife surfaces in the cabinet that could prevent full sterilization. The easy to use mechanical timer can be set for up to fifteen minutes, but the KSUV-18 will safely sterilize your knifes in as little as three minutes with ninety nine percent efficacy. It’s like a SPF-99 (Sterilization Protection Factor) for your knives.

Features of the Edlund Knife Sterilizer Cabinet

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