Monday, January 19, 2015

Why Fresh Tomatoes, Instead of Jarred Sauce?

Whenever Bountiful Baskets has cases of round or Roma tomatoes available, I make sure to jump onto the opportunity and purchase a case. They normally run about 20 to 25 pounds per case, and round out to one dollar per pound of tomatoes; usually cheaper than the local market, unless there's a sale.  Then I go through the process of giving them a hot water bath, peeling off the skins, and either making fresh sauce, or simply freezing the peeled tomatoes for a later use.

Today's bounty (22 pounds of tomatoes) gave me two (6-quart) crock pots full of sauce making ingredients, plus one freezer container with five pounds of peeled tomatoes for later use.  That means that 8.5 pounds went into each crock pot; not bad!  So, why do folks ask me why I go to all this trouble?  Well I'm going to tell you...

In today's crock pots, I added to the freshly peeled tomatoes: a 1/2 cup of crushed, dried Italian herbal mix, 1/4 cup of minced garlic, 1 cup of diced onions, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese...and that's it!  No sugar or baking soda to tame the bitterness of the tomatoes; the grated Parmesan cheese does that.  Think about it, why add processed sugar or a chemical additive when you can use a freshly grated cheese that does the work instead?  What about salt?  Hello, the grated Parmesan has that too; you don't need more salt!  By the way, using the immersion hand blender, I've found that I do not even need to add tomato paste; I can control the thickness myself.

Next question, but why toss the skin, doesn't that contain fiber and nutrients?  Yes it does, but unless you're buying guaranteed organic tomatoes; that skin has to go and here's why.  Many cases of fruits and vegetables come from foreign countries; the tomatoes I purchased came from Mexico, distributed via an Arizona state company.  How many times have we read about contaminated foods coming from Mexico?  Using the hot water bath destroys any bacteria sitting on that skin.

Next, here is an informational quote from the box itself, "May have been treated with O-Phenylphenol or Sorbic Acid to inhibit mold and coated with Paraffin waxes and oil, Mineral oil and/or Carnauba was."  You can wash them with cold or warm water, but those items listed will not simply wash off; enjoy the chemical and wax snacks along with your tomatoes.  No thank you!  If you need that skin, go organic.

Why is jarred sauce, purchased at the market, so bad?  Read the label; if you need a degree in science to be able to pronounce and understand all the chemicals listed, then why ask why?  Even products sold in "health food stores" need to have the labels looked at carefully.  Even though they state "all natural ingredients", the jars are sitting on shelves in warm environments; how are the ingredients kept from spoiling?

All I'm saying is, at least give it a try.  Yes it's work; yes it takes time and energy; but once you taste the results, you will so be thanking me for the push in this direction.  Click Here for my instructions on processing your own fresh tomatoes. 

Have fun!

Mary Cokenour

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