While Giada has her favorite canned tomato brands, nothing beats homemade – and here’s how you can make your own DIY “canned” tomatoes that will beat anything from the store.
The secret to the best tomato sauce starts with… drumroll… the tomatoes! There are several brands from the store that we love and use over and over again, but nothing will ever come close to a grown in your own garden or from your favorite farm at the farmers market… and, if your garden is looking anything like ours at the height of summer, you might end up with more tomatoes than you’ll know what to do with. Once you’ve had your fill of caprese salads and fresh tomato sandwiches, do yourself a favor and make some DIY “canned” tomatoes – without actually canning anything, but freezing at their peak instead. Your tomato sauces and soups of winter will thank you.
We love to use whole canned tomatoes when we buy them, so that’s how we make them at home, too! All you need to do is peel the tomato skin, in a process called concasse. Basically, all it means is quickly cooking the tomatoes in boiling water, then shocking them in ice cold water. The skin seizes up, and immediately becomes easy to take off. Once you get down to it, it’s simple as can be – no need to sanitize any mason jars or use any preservatives. Here are the simple steps.
What you’ll need:
Freezer bags (we love reusable Stasher bags)
How to do it:
1. Bring a pot of water large enough for your tomatoes to a boil. Fill a bowl large enough for the tomatoes with ice water nearby.
2. While the water comes to a boil, with a sharp knife, score the bottom of each tomato with an X shape. Using the tip of a pairing knife, carefully cut around the “core” (where the tomato connects to the vine) and remove and discard.
3. Once the water comes to a boil, generously salt the water with kosher salt. Then, gently place the tomatoes into the pot. Allow them to cook for 1 minute. With the slotted spoon, rescue the tomatoes and immediately place them into the ice water.
4. Once the tomatoes are fully cooled, peel them from the spot you scored. Place them in your freezer bag, and freeze for 3-6 months.
5. When you’re ready to use them again, either place the tomatoes in the fridge to thaw overnight, or place under running cool water until thawed.