Tomatoes should be picked or bought at peak season, beginning about mid-July through late September. I find that the first crop is usually the best quality.
Tomatoes should be almost perfect – ripe, red in color (the higher the intensity of red the higher the lycopene content), minimal seeds, minimal water, thick, meaty, and blemish-free skin–spotless, unmarked, and sweet.
If you find tomatoes in your batch that are discolored or spotted or have other imperfections, these would be the perfect candidates to use for “Puree” Canning.
To preserve tomatoes in their natural state is a beautiful thing. To store this product in abundance is a “simple treasure” that you can enjoy all year round.Related: Potatos
Every year during peak season, mid-July through late September, I look forward to canning my 300 jars of tomatoes. This supply is for my family, and also to fill gift baskets for friends and neighbors.
I use two canning methods for my tomatoes, pure plum and puree. I use two methods because it allows me to have more options regarding the texture of the tomatoes for my desired recipe.
For example: If I’m making steak pizzaiola – I want my tomatoes crushed with skin; If I’m making a traditional Italian sauce with meat – I want my tomatoes smooth; If I want to make a Tuscan tomato soup – then I want to use my puree Tomato.
Pizza, of course, can vary. It can be smooth and it can be crushed with skin. Some dishes call for scattered or torn tomatoes which are excellent for Foccachia bread
Another misconception about tomatoes – Tomatoes are not only used for making pasta dishes. There are hundreds of dishes used with tomatoes that do not include pasta at all.
To name a few: shrimp marichiara, veal/chicken cutlet parmagiana, tomato soup, assorted types of fish – pizzaiola style – or zuppa di pesce, beef – like beef stew, veal/fish/chicken in many varieties – cooked, baked or steamed with tomatoes,vegetables cooked with tomatoes – like stuffed peppers, stuffed eggplant, beef or chicken soup – with added tomato for color,tripe – baked mussels, assorted pizzas,vegetable minestrone dish, garnished hot dogs with onions savored in a hot tangy tomato sauce, rissotto dishes, cacciatori dishes made with braised chicken or meats like duck, quail, pheasant, etc., etc. The list is endless. Tomatoes can enhance almost any dish.