Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Saving My Produce From A Certain Death


Every week before I go grocery shopping I do a thorough cleaning out of the fridge. It's a great way to take an inventory of what I already have on hand, what leftovers might need to be used up, and what's about to go bad.

We can't waste anything around here.
So when I noticed three sad looking tomatoes from I-don't-know-how-many-weeks-ago that were looking pretty mushy I knew it was time for a little tomato CPR.

I grabbed the bag and tossed the whole thing in the freezer...tomatoes, vine, and two little black spots beginning to grow on them. Last night when I made spaghetti I remembered my little frozen friends and decided it was a perfect time to use them up.

I took them out of the freezer and they were like little frozen red balls. I ran them under warm water and the skins rubbed right off. Then I scraped off the black spots and threw the vines and skins in the compost bucket under the sink. I nuked them to thaw them out, ran them through the food processor with a few cloves of garlic and tossed them in with my spaghetti sauce.

I love it when I can save something that I might have just otherwise thrown away. And I'm thinking that next years garden tomatoes might skip the whole canning process and just get plunked in the freezer.

16 comments:

momstheword said...

Very clever. I am sad to say that the tomatoes I pulled out of my fridge were past the point of no return. Even you could not have breathed life into their poor shriveled up little bodies. Some big bully shoved them in the back of the fridge, and there they stayed....timid and to shy to come out. Now they're gone...it's a sad, sad day.

Michelle said...

Awesome Gayle. I would never have thought to pop whole tomatoes in the freezer. I do that with my bananas for banana bread. Thanks for the tip!

Pug1 said...

I do that too! Can also use for salsa! CHEERS! Michele

Lynn said...

The freezer is my best friend!! Rather than throw away leftovers, I'll freeze them until I can figure out a good way to repurpose them. Just the other day I took out a tiny hunk of roast pork to use as a topping for baked potato night. I'm also a huge fan of Once A Month Cooking. I figure that even though I can't get our budget down to $60 a week, if I'm not throwing food away I'm doing pretty good!

onemotherslove said...

Great idea! Wish I'd read this last week when I added those funky tomatoes to the compost!

Julia said...

Hi! Love your blog and I just tagged you for a meme!

Joanna said...

That is something I never would've thought to do - great thinking! Thanks for the tip!

Lucy Marie said...

This year I canned tomato sauce but I had way too many tomatoes to deal with and not enough time, so instead of dicing/stewing/canning the rest, I just threw them in the freezer in bags. Whenever I am making something that calls for a can of diced tomatoes or anything, I just use some of these. I have determined that 3 large frozen tomatoes is approximately equal to one 28 oz can of diced tomatoes. It works great - it's so much easier than canning. The only thing is you can't use them in anything that requires the tomatoes to keep their shape at all because they go very mushy. Regardless though, I've found it very helpful.

Tina said...

Way to go! If I can offer just a little tip that I learned about a year ago - don't put your tomatoes in the fridge. Just stick them in your pantry. They actually lose flavor and get mealy faster in the fridge, but will keep well in the pantry.

Jennifer said...

that is a great idea! I will definitely have to remember that one.

desertdiva said...

I just cleaned out my produce drawer and "saved" some heads of romaine. I cut off the bad stuff, rinsed it off, put it in the spinner, and wrapped it in a dish towel before sending it back in the refridgerator.

My Life as a Soccer Mom said...

Whole tomatoes in the freezer?? I put pepper whole and onions chopped in the freezer but never tomatoes. Did it affect your taste of the tomatoes any? I will definately be freezing tomatoes instead of letting them die.

Thanks for the great tip!!

Super Healthy Kids said...

Great idea! I much prefer freezing food to canning anything. Jams, sauces, broths, etc, all easier to freeze.

Anonymous said...

Somehow the other day I didn't do my comment correctly because it never showed up. Anyway, I saw you mentioned a compost bucket. I have stopped composting because temps here are in the 30's and I didn't think I could. am I wrong....are you just throwing things on your pile and will turn later? Could you expand answer please?

Gayle said...

Anonymous,

If the compost pile freezes it stays inactive. But as soon as the spring thaw comes you can pick up where you left off. I don't turn my compost pile, I just let it set and do it's thing. It takes a little longer to decompose but since I have a few bins, I just rotate each year and I always have fresh compost. My compost book also says not to turn during the winter because it will release any of the heat that might still be in the center of the pile. So... that's what I do every year and I've had great compost and much less work.

mamalv said...

Hi I've been enjoying reading your blog very much.

Here's a tip for "frozen tomatoes"
1. clean up the tomato before freezing.
2. Toss into the freezer in a bag
3. Remove from freezer.
4. Toss frozen tomato into a pot of broth or stock at the very beginning of the simmering time.

By the time the broth/stock is finished cooking the tomato will have disappeared, but will add the an amazing hint of flavor to any broth.

Works great with chicken broth.