Monday, 19 September 2011

Did I Mention I Have Tomatoes?


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There are only so many fresh tomatoes you can eat in a day and I managed to pick my roma tomatoes before the chickens got to them – the chickens adore ripe tomatoes.

DSCF0286 tinyThis lot made the first of my bottled plum tomatoes.  The tomatoes are first skinned by plunging in boiling water and then moved to cold water after which the skins slip off easily.

I packed the skinned tomatoes in bottling jars and covered with brine solution and processed using the cold fill method.

It’s sad that there are so many horror stories put out about home preserving of food; while some may be legitimate, some I feel are to force us by fear to buy commercially prepared foods.  After all they are supposedly regulated and therefore pose no threat to consumer health – BSE in beefburgers and e-coli in bean sprouts are probably just a figment of my imagination!!!  Ok off soap box now. 

In truth there are foods and ways that are perfectly safe and have been used for years and years, what’s missing today is the understanding of the process. In the past while the science wouldn't have been known, the safe way would have been passed down from generation to generation, today we can also look up the science.  I chose tomatoes as my first things to bottle because they are slightly acidic and that inhibits a lot of the nasty's and I use the cold fill method, bringing the tomatoes up to temperature very slowly to ensure everything heats through completely.  I check the water bath temperature and that the jars are fully sealed.  I also seal check, visually check, smell check and taste check before I use anything and so far so good – the only problems I've had was listeria-like symptoms from a bought supermarket salami a couple of years ago. Of course I’m now going to worry about tempting fate Open-mouthed smile.

DSCF0284 tinyAnd there is the other great ‘how to use up’ tomato standby, ratatouille which also helps out with the backlog of courgettes, squashes and aubergines.

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