NY Farm to School Harvest of the Month Poster Tomatoes

Harvest of the Month: Tomatoes!

August: What's Up With Food & Nutrition?

August: What's Up With Food & Nutrition?

AUGUST HARVEST OF THE MONTH: TOMATOES !

Tomatoes are bountiful in late summer and can be found at the Farmers Markets and roadside stands. 

Check out these recipes for enjoying ripe tomatoes in the peak of their flavor and freshness, along with how to preserve them to enjoy in the months ahead:

RECIPES
Roasted Roma Sauce
(Yield: One Quart)

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise (approx. 20 tomatoes)
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay tomatoes on foil, cut sides down. Add garlic, basil, salt and pepper to the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly toss ingredients together.
  2. Roast in 400 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes.
  3. Let tomatoes cool. Peel skins. Puree tomatoes in a blender (optional: leave skins on, leave tomatoes chunky.)
  4. Package, label and date.

Recipe from: Shelley Pletcher, Master Food Preserver

Cherry Tomato Bruschetta
Servings: 6-8
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups (1 quart) Cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (minced)
  • 5-10 Basil leaves (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
Instructions:
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Mince garlic cloves and add to pan. Cook 1 minute.
  3. Rinse cherry tomatoes and slice in half. Add to pan.
  4. Chop basil leaves and add to other ingredients.
  5. Stir ingredients and cook until tomatoes are wilted and a slight sauce forms.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper.
  7. Serve warm on slices of toasted sour dough or French bread.
Corn, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad
Servings: about 8

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of corn, cooked (to equal about 2 to 2½ cups corn kernels) 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • ½ cup lime juice (or white wine vinegar)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 6 tablespoons parsley 

Instructions:

  1. Cut kernels from corn and place in medium bowl.
  2. Seed and dice the tomatoes and cucumbers and add to the bowl.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together lime juice, sugar, oil, salt, and pepper. Stir in red onion and set aside.
  4. Toss corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers with dressing.
  5. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Add chopped parsley or cilantro just before serving
Fresh Salsa
Servings: 4
Ingredients:
  • 2-3 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 3 jalapeno chiles (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Chop tomatoes, onion, and peppers. Juice the lime.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients.
  3. Serve or store salsa in refrigerator for up to three days in a covered plastic or glass container.

Recipe adapted from: www.myplate.gov

Tomato Cucumber Salad
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
  • 6 1/2 ounces Cucumber (diced)
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped, as desired
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 3/4 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp vinegar (cider or red wine)

Instructions:

  1. Wash cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Slice ends off cucumbers and dice.
  3. Make dressing with liquids and seasonings.
  4. Mix all ingredients together.
  5. Makes four 1/2 cup servings.
Tomato Peach Salsa
Servings: 8
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups tomato, diced
  • 1 cup peach, diced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, diced
  • 1– 2 Tbsp jalapeño pepper, diced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar or lime juice
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Combine the diced tomato, peach, red onion, jalapeño pepper, and chopped basil in a large bowl.
  2. Add the vinegar or lime juice, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  3. Serve with whole grain ciabatta, tortilla chips, or use on top of tacos.

Recipe adapted from: www.fruitsandveggies.org

Freezing Tomatoes and Sauce
Preparing and Packaging: Select firm, ripe tomatoes with deep red color.

Sauce: Remove stem ends. Cut large tomatoes in half and leave cherry tomatoes whole. Roast in the oven until soft, juices are boiling, and slightly charred if desired. Puree in a food processor, pack, and seal. Freeze immediately.

Raw – Wash and dip in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Core and peel. Freeze whole or in pieces. Pack into containers, leaving l-inch headspace. Seal and freeze. Use only for cooking or seasoning as tomatoes will not be solid when thawed.

Stewed – Remove stem ends, peel and quarter ripe tomatoes. Cover and cook until tender (10 to 20 minutes). Place pan containing tomatoes in cold water to cool. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze

Storage Time: 4 to 6 months.

Serving: Slightly thaw in refrigerator, enough to release from the container. Reheat to a rolling boil, or at least to a temperature of 165°F.

Freezing Pointers

  • Freezing:
  • 1.Freeze foods at 0°F or lower.
  • 2.Freeze foods as soon as they are packed and sealed.

Containers:

  • 1.Rigid containers made of plastic or glass are especially good for liquid packs. If using glass jars, it is best to choose wide-mouth dual purpose jars made for freezing and canning. Do not overtighten metal lids.
  • 2.Bags can also be used for liquid packs.

Headspace for Liquid Pack:

  • 1.For containers with wide top openings, you should allow pints ½ inch headspace and quarts 1 inch headspace.
  • 2.For containers with narrow top openings, you should allow pints ¾ inch headspace and quarts 1 ½ inch headspace.
Canning Tomatoes (Whole or Halved)
Quality: Select only disease-free, preferably vine-ripened, firm fruit for canning. Do not can tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines. Green tomatoes are more acidic than ripened fruit and can be canned safely with any of the following recommendations.

Acidification: To ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes. For pints, use 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid. Acid can be added directly to the jars before filling with product. Add sugar to offset acid taste, if desired. Four tablespoons of a 5 percent acidity vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid. However, vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes.

Procedure for hot or raw tomatoes filled with water in jars: Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split; then dip in cold water. Slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halve. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars. See acidification directions. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired. For hot pack products, add enough water to cover the tomatoes and boil them gently for 5 minutes. Fill hot jars with hot tomatoes or with raw peeled tomatoes. Add the hot cooking liquid to the hot pack, or hot water for raw pack to cover, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process. (Acidification is still required for the pressure canning options; follow all steps in the Procedures above for any of the processing options.)

Recommendation: Use of a pressure canner will result in higher quality and more nutritious canned tomato products. If your pressure canner cannot be operated above 15 PSI, select a process time at a lower pressure.

Process:

  • Boiling-Water Canner: Pints 40 minutes, Quarts 45 minutes
  • Dial Gauge Pressure Canner: Pints 15 minutes at 6 pounds, Quarts 10 minutes at 11 pounds
  • Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner: Pints 15 minutes at 5 pounds, Quarts 10 minutes at 10 pounds

Caution! Altitude Adjustments

The processing times and pressures given for canning tomatoes are for altitudes of 0-1000 feet. If you are canning at a higher altitude, the processing times stay the same, but you will need to adjust the pounds of pressure. 
Drying Tomatoes

Selecting: Select fresh and fully ripened fruits. Immature produce lacks flavor and color. Over mature produce can be tough and fibrous or soft and mushy. Drying does not improve food quality. Thoroughly wash and clean fruits to remove dirt or spray. Sort and discard any fruit that shows decay, bruises, or mold. Such defects can affect all foods being dried.

Pretreating: Pretreating fruits prior to drying is highly recommended. Pretreating helps keep light-colored fruits from darkening during drying and storage and it speeds the drying of fruits with tough skins, such as grapes and cherries. Research studies have shown that pretreating with an acidic solution dip also enhances the destruction of potentially harmful bacteria during drying.

Citric Acid or Lemon Juice Pretreatment: Citric acid or lemon juice may also be used as anti-darkening and antimicrobial pretreatments. Prepare the citric acid solution by stirring 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of citric acid into one quart (1000 milliliters) of cold water. For the lemon juice solution, mix equal parts of lemon juice and cold water (i.e., 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup water). Cut the peeled fruit directly into the citric acid or lemon juice solution. Allow to soak 10 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and dehydrate.

Drying: Arrange pretreated fruits on drying trays in single layers, pit cavity up. Dry at 140 degrees F (60°C) in an oven or dehydrator. The length of time needed to dry fruits will depend on the size of the pieces being dried, humidity and the amount of air circulation in the dehydrator or oven. Thinner slices and smaller pieces will dry more quickly than larger, thicker pieces or whole fruits. Also, products will generally dry more quickly in convection ovens or electric dehydrators than in conventional ovens. Foods should be dry enough to prevent microbial growth and subsequent spoilage. Dried fruits should be leathery and pliable. To test foods for dryness, remove a few pieces and let cool to room temperature. When warm or hot, fruits seem more soft, moist and pliable than they actually are. Squeeze a handful of the fruit. If no moisture is left on the hand and pieces spring apart when released, they are dry.

Packaging and Storing: Pack cooled, dried foods in small amounts in dry, scalded glass jars (preferably dark) or in moisture- and vapor proof freezer containers, boxes or bags. Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Properly stored, dried fruits keep well for six to 12 months.

Preservation Information Source: 

  1. National Center for Home Food Preservation - https://nchfp.uga.edu/
  2. So Easy to Preserve – Cooperative Extension, The University of Georgia, 2014

Last updated August 3, 2022