One of the ingredients I ALWAYS have on hand is Organic Diced and Stewed Tomatoes. No Salt Added, Fire Roasted with Roasted Garlic and Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies are staples I use often in recipes.
I honestly never thought about making my own since they are fairly inexpensive to buy. Recently I read an article that really shocked me about 7 things that should NEVER cross your lips….guess what ~ “CANNED TOMATO PRODUCTS” was one of them. The reason ~ the acid in the tomatoes causes BPA to leach into your food.
Their recommendation is to buy jarred tomato products only, but, for me this only seems to work for pizza and pasta sauces. In fact, I am not sure I’ve ever seen diced tomatoes sold in a jar.
MY SOLUTION is to harvest Mr. Stripey and instead of making only salsa, whip up some Homemade Slow Cooker Stewed Tomatoes that I can freeze in “15 oz can” servings and pull out whenever needed. I like being able to control what goes into my tomatoes and I think you will find that they are sweet enough on their own, no additional sugar is needed.
It is surprisingly easy and a little fun to make homemade stewed tomatoes. The best part is after all the prep work is done, you simply turn your crockpot on and a few hours later they are done.
HOMEMADE CROCKPOT STEWED TOMATOES
2 lbs tomatoes, any variety
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dried Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black peper
2 bay leaves
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Add 1/2 cup chopped basil for Stewed Tomatoes with Basil
Add 2 4 oz cans of diced green chilies for Stewed Tomatoes with Diced Green Chilies
1. Rinse tomatoes, core and slice off the bottom stem. Add tomatoes to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove to an ice bath for 1 minute to stop cooking.
2. Remove tomato skins and roughly chop or cut into wedges. Add tomatoes to your slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients.
3. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve as a side dish, add to your favorite recipes or freeze in individual “canned – think 15 oz or 28 oz ) servings for use in future recipes.
Makes one 28 oz batch of stewed tomatoes, approximately 4 cups
You can use any variety of tomatoes ~ I used Mr. Stripey Heirloom tomatoes because it’s what we had in our garden.
Core your tomatoes by slicing out the stem and then slice off the bottom.
Meanwhile, add enough water to cover the tomatoes to a large stock pot and bring to a boil.
Once the water reaches a rolling boil, add your tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.
Prepare your “ice bath” and have it ready next to your boiling tomatoes.
Immediately scoop your tomatoes out of the boiling water and place in the ice batch to stop the cooking process.
After tomatoes have cooled, about 1 minute, remove from ice bath and place in a boil.
The peels should come right off. DO NOT SKIP this step as you will end up with funky, hard peels in your stewed tomatoes.
They look so weird, but, kinda cool too when the tomatoes are peeled
Roughly chop the tomatoes or slice into wedges, whatever your preference. You could leave them whole as well and just put them straight into your slow cooker.
Chop your celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic.
Add everything to the crockpot starting with the tomatoes.
Then, your chopped veggies.
Finishing with your spices ~ bay leaf, italian seasoning, sea salt and a black pepper.
Stir to combine and set your slow cooker to cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5 hours.
Tadah!!! Remove your Bay Leaves and you are done. Homemade stewed tomatoes that can be frozen and used in all your favorite recipes that require diced or stewed tomatoes. Think chili, soups, pasta sauces, salsas and more.
One benefit I never realized ~ the flavor of homemade diced stewed tomatoes is so much tastier than store bought. I guess it’s that whole a tomato off the vine taste 10 x’s better than one bought at the store.
What is your favorite way to use extra tomatoes? Mine used to be to make salsa, but, I think this might be my new favorite thing. Who knows, I may tackle tomato paste next 😉
I am guest posting with some pumpkin-ney goodness over at Zesty Cook tomorrow. Be sure to stop by and check it out if you want a little fall baking inspiration.