as requested - overabundance of tomatoes

I enjoy canning tomatoes. There are 3 basic kinds of tomato sauce: uncooked, slightly cooked and long-simmered. The longer you simmer, the thicker your tomato sauce will be.

Tomatoes can be canned with or without any seasonings. Just remember - how you season will effect how you wll be using the sauce. Most of my canned tomato sauce is unflavored giving me the option of using the tomatoes for anything I like.

Tomatoes can be canned in pint, quart and quart-and-a-half jars with no problems.

Cooked tomato sauce can be simmer anywhere from 2 hours to 20 hours or more. Depending on the size of the pan, type of tomatoes, etc. It’s not unusual to be up a good 48 hours making tomato puree in my house. Maybe that’s why I don’t sleep much - that is how I was raised.

Sometimes I will make a regular “spaghetti sauce” with or without meat and ready-to- eat. Also pizza sauce which I can mostly in pint jars. Also marinara. I may skin and crush tomatoes, saute in a bit of olive oil with onion and green and red bell peppers and season with marjoram, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and let it thicken - I like that as a pizza topping or as a topping on a large, thick slice of homemade bread or crusty Italian - pop in the oven to cook/heat and to me it’s a complete meal.

I have also done this by freezing the sauces or crushed tomatoes in pint and quart jars. I fill the jars - place UNCAPPED in the refrigerator for 24 hours - then I cap and place in the freezer. You can use plastic containers or resealable bags if you cool the mixtures first.

I have also scored the bottoms "cut and X through the skin), cored and placed in a pot of simmering water to remove the skins, smash, seed and place in jars as is; freeze as above. Those I like to use for soups, stews, goulash, Spanish rice, bean dishes, etc.

A friend of mine will freeze clean, whole tomatoes in plastic bags for future use. I tried freezing a couple like that - just to see what it was like and I didn’t like it.

I also froze a quart jar of grape tomatoes. I used them in a one skillet-type dinner and I don’t think I will do that again. It wasn’t the same; I’ll stick to doing all the work at once and not taking any short-cuts.

I was also asked about freezing bell peppers. Clean, core, remove seeds and membranes, place in place bags, let the air out and seal. I freeze them in halves or by cutting just the tops off and cleaning. Then I can stuff them either way or cut frozen pepper slices to place on casseroles for “presentation”. I always make sure I have plenty of green and red bell peppers frozen for soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, stuffings, rice dishes, etc. so I am freezing them all year 'round. When they are on sale I always buy extra for that reason. And I still dry them in the dehydrator for use in any dish as well. It’s more time consuming but it’s well worth it and much cheaper than what you pay in the stores for little bottles of dried green or red peppers! I can fill a large glass jar with dried peppers for less than what you would pay in the store.