The Farmstead Kitchen – Canned Tomatoes


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Whether you are a DIY sort of person, interested in self sufficiency, have a desire to avoid the BPA in metal can lining, prefer the flavors of really ripe, heirloom tomatoes, or want to eat local year round, it’s time to kick the habit of canned tomatoes from the store! Canning these summer tomato gems in your kitchen is really much easier than many people think. Preserving food in jars is safe -if you follow approved canning recipes, it’s WAY easier on the budget, and also very eco-friendly. When you buy cans of organic tomatoes at the store, not only did the tomatoes have to get shipped to the cannery, but then they had to be shipped to a distributor warehouse, and then shipped to the grocery store. How many miles are in that innocent can of tomatoes?

We can because we can. We can because we MUST! We can because it helps us eat from our farmstead all year long. We can because it reduces waste in the growing season, preserving the bounty from summer for the other months of the year. In The Farmstead Kitchen, we primarily can high acid foods like tomatoes and fruit, pickles and relishes. Canned tomatoes are the one product we go through ridiculous amounts of every year….hundreds of jars worth! Simple and pure, canned tomatoes contribute to all sorts of delicious meals; marinara, pizza sauce, salsa, stews, soups, sauces, casseroles, braises, chutneys, curries, homemade ketchup, savory cobblers, warm salads…

There is much information available about the canning process, and even workshops held at the Twin City Co-ops you can attend to demystify the process. We’d highly recommend you dive into canning this summer, when heirloom tomatoes are bountiful, ripe, and local! Here are some simple winter recipes from The Farmstead Kitchen using our canned tomatoes

Rich Heirloom Tomato Soup

This recipe highlights the rich flavors inherent in heirloom tomatoes, and lets them shine in mid-winter when we miss fresh tomatoes the most.

2 Quarts Canned tomatoes, whole or diced or pureed

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

a good glug of olive oil

3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons thyme

1 Tablespoon basil

1 Tablespoon oregano

1 Tablespoon fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon dill

2 Tablespoons sweetener, optional

Simply saute the onion on medium heat in a large saucepan for about 10 minutes, until carmelized, add garlic and spices and stir for a minute, add tomatoes and vinegar, and sweetening if you wish, turn down heat to a simmer. Then you will want to gently simmer for about an hour. Let cool, process until smooth in blender. Heat and serve with cheesy toast or something savory and crunchy, we like to stick some sauteed mushrooms on top.


Pizza Sauce

Making a long-simmered, thick pizza sauce in the winter makes alot of sense, since who wants to heat the kitchen up in the summer? Winter is a great time to simmer down your canned tomatoes into a rich, savory italian sauce… the whole house fills with humid summer-infused vapors. Just lovely!

2 Quarts Canned tomatoes, whole or diced or pureed

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 glugs of olive oil

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon thyme

3 Tablespoon basil

3 Tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons marjoram

2 Tablespoon fennel seed

Optional: onions, mushrooms, olives, spinach

The concept is very similar to our tomato soup, but this time we want more of the savory Italian spices, and omit the onion. This can also be a spaghetti sauce if you don’t cook it down to pizza sauce consistency.You can add onions, mushrooms, olives, or spinach to the this sauce for a delicious pasta meal topped with freshly grated parmesan.

Simply add it everything together in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and simmer until perfectly thick to your liking. Refrigerate for up 2 weeks.

Winter Salsa

You can can salsa all ready to go, but the approved recipes can be rather limiting, as the proper acidity level has to be established to be safely preserved. One way around this is to just make salsa as you use it, starting with your simple canned tomatoes. This salsa uses other ingredients saved in the root cellar and the freezer. Please note this recipe is intended for fresh eating, not canning.

1 Quart Canned Tomatoes

1-3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion, 1-3 frozen jalapenos (deseeded if desired,) salt to taste, 2 frozen cilantro cubes, splash of fruity vinegar

Puree and enjoy! Refrigerate and use up within a week. Great splashed on fried eggs, with nachos, as an enchilada sauce, or even as a base for an Indian curry.


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