Sunday, September 10, 2017

Processing Tomatoes

Summer has been cool so tomatoes are ripening later than usual. We plant about 100 tomato plants so that we can process what we need in large batches. We share early and later harvests when there are fewer. This year we were running low on soup stock, tomato sauce and ketchup so tackled replenishing these.
Floradade Tomatoes Ripening Nicely But Leaves Drying Up
Super Roma Tomatoes Producing Well But Leaves Also Withering
Sauce Tomatoes: 2017
We use a Squeezo food processor to separate tomato pulp from seeds and skin. It takes a whole day each to pick a few bushels of tomatoes, manually grind them through the Squeezo, decant and preserve the "tomato plasma", add spices to the sauce and ketchup and can them, clean the equipment and feed what we don't use to the Guinea fowl. This year's totals: 22 quarts of tomato sauce, 31 pints of ketchup and 65 quarts of soup stock. 

Squeezo Processor With Sliced Tomatoes Placed in Funnel, Juice and Pulp Slide Down the Chute and Seeds/skin Comes Out the End

Squeezo Closeup From a Different Angle

Bowl Full of Tomato Skins and Seeds But With Some Pulp

Second Squeezing of Above, Now Much Drier and a Third the Volume
It takes only half an hour to cook these because we separate the plasma from the pulp using a colander which we try to float in the sauce. To keep it from sinking, we bail out the clear liquid that leaks through the holes in the colander. This process does steal some of the garlic, onion and basil flavors from the sauce  but delivers them in the soup stock. We make the ketchup after separating the plasma so that soup stock is pure tomato juice.
The Colander We Found That Works Best for Bailing Soup Stock from Sauce
We use a canning technique that uses a small amount of water in a pan covered by a jar support plate with holes. When the water boils, steam envelopes the jars and exits through two small holes in the lid. We steam these acidic products for 15 minutes once steam exits the lid. 
Canning Technique Where Water Boils under the Plate that Holds the Jars and the Cover Traps Steam to Envelop the Jars.

Difference: Ladled the Left Quart While Tomato Sauce Was Boiling. Right Ladled Out of the Colander With No Boiling (Steam Bubbles Pumps Some Pulp Through the Colander Holes)  

First Batch (18 Quart Pot) of Soup Stock and Tomato Paste (5:3 Ratio)

First Batch of Soup Stock and Ketchup (12 Quarts: 12 Pints or 2:1 Because Vinegar Is Added to Make Ketchup)

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