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It’s that time of year again to enjoy fresh home grown produce. For the tomato lover, most say that nothing compares to the warm juicy taste of home-grown vine ripened tomatoes. Along with harvest season also comes the question of how to preserve produce. Experts say that you need to take certain steps to ensure proper safety. KSMU’s Theresa Carter spoke with local experts and files this report.
Nothing beats home grown produce for taste and quality. With tomato harvest season just beginning, it is also time to preserve and store. There are several methods that can be used for tomatoes as explained by Tammy Roberts, Nutrition Education and Health Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension office:
"Tomatoes are the one vegetable that can be canned by either using the boiling-water-canner method, or the pressure-canner method. You can also freeze tomatoes if you do not want to use any canning method."
Freezing tomatoes is one of the easiest ways to preserve and store them. First you should remove the skins by placing the tomatoes in boiling water. Then they can be prepared as desired, and placed right in the freezer. Roberts recommends leaving one inch of head space in the freezer to allow for expansion. The drawback to freezing is that it requires a lot of space.
Another popular way to preserve tomatoes is by canning them. However, the most important thing to ensure safety is to use a tested recipe. Roberts explains:
"A tested recipe is one that actually is kitchen tested to assure it can reach the proper temperature during the canning process. You can get tested recipes from the Kerr company, the Ball company, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, or the University of Missouri Extention guide sheets."
If you’re new to canning and preservation, or if you want to learn more, there are classes available in Greene County through the University of Missouri Extension Office through the month of July. More information is available at: www.extension.missouri.edu/greene
For KSMU news, I’m Theresa Carter.