Preserving large quantities of tomatoes can be done in easy increments. Whether you are growing them or getting them from a farmer they will probably start to come in slowly. There is a way to work with this situation and avoid an end-of-season marathon.
Harvest or buy 1-3 quarts at a time of ripe cherry or paste tomatoes when they first start appearing.
Remove stem, hold tomato in your hand stem-side down and cut a cross (i.e., two cuts: east-west and north-south) from the top down — but not all the way. Cut only far enough down that the four segments open like a flower.
Now it can be placed on a dehydrator tray and won’t stick significantly because what touches the tray will be the skin. It will dry much more quickly with two sides of each wedge exposed to the air. A finely serrated knife works best; the entire process should take no more than 10-15 minutes. Dry until almost crisp, to be sure mold won’t form later in storage. Repeat this ritual as often as is suitable, accumulating dried tomatoes in tightly lidded jars.
When the final huge harvest arrives, just bag those fresh tomatoes up whole and freeze. Now everything is ready and waiting to quickly make thick, fresh-tasting sauce as desired when it is convenient, as will be described next week!
Laurie Goodhart and her husband co-founded and operated two certified organic artisanal goat fromageries, Nettle Meadow in Warrensburg, NY from 1990 to 2005 and Domaine De Courval in Waterville, Quebec from 2006 to 2017. She created and trademarked the multiple award-winning cheese, Kunik. For more about her how her life experience brought her to develop time-saving ways to eat as much nutrient-dense food from her local environment as possible, see this previous post
Goodhart lives in upstate NY and continues her work as a professional artist and avid home gardener. Since 2007 she has devoted most of her studio time to an extensive body of work collected under the concept, Remnants And Residents Of A Lost Sanctuary Of Aphrodite.
Laurie can be reached through her website, lauriegoodhart.net