They’re Great Grated: Ripe Tomatoes

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Perfectly ripe farmers market tomatoes are close to perfection – the next best thing to home-grown. Unfortunately, rot will set in quickly. Have you more ripe tomatoes than you can eat in a day? Slice those excess beauties in half, grate them over a bowl, and pour the resulting puree into a glass jar, which will keep in the fridge for about two or three days before it becomes foul. You get extra points if you toss the tomato skins into the jar with the grated pulp. Et voila: you’ve saved those glorious tomatoes from the compost bin. Just remember to use ‘em up within a few days! Now, if you have a little more time to spare, here are three ways to use tomato pulp and skins: 

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  • Pop the skins into a tall sauce pan and cook until they release their juice. The total cooking time will depend on volume – more skins equals longer cooking – but the skins from three large or five small tomatoes will take approx’ly 20 minutes to create about 8 – 12 oz. of juice. There’s no need to add any liquid to the skins as they cook. Take the tomatoes off the heat when the skins have been cooked clean of flesh, and strain. The resulting juice will be light and bright tasting, and makes a mighty fine Bloody Mary once it’s cold.
  • While you’re waiting for the juice to cook out of the skins, why not take a moment to strain the liquid from the grated flesh? The strained juice will be thicker than the juice cooked out of the skins, and makes an amazing quick and tasty tomato sauce. Strained from its pulp, either kind of tomato juice will last at least four or five days in the fridge or for months in the freezer.
  • And as for the resulting strained pulp, when added in a 3:1 ratio to some home-fermented hot pepper puree, plus a dash or six of hot sauce and a little lime juice, you’ve got the makings of yummy “lazy woman’s salsa” (called thusly cuz it ain’t cooked). Please note that this type of super-fresh salsa will only last a few days in the fridge before it starts to fizz. For longer-keeping salsa, you’ll need to be a little less lazy and use cooked tomatoes…

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And lastly, I’ll close this mini-post by noting that I use grated tomatoes for canning these days, but more on that in my next post. Until then, my pets, and as always, very fondly – your little munakins

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