Newspaper Page Text
812-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, August 20, 1994
Alletta Schadler, Lebanon County Extension home economist, demonstrates mak
ing salsa, dried tomatoes, tomato soup, and tomato sauce.
Dried Tomatoes, Salsa, And
Other Tomato Favorites
LOU ANN GOOD
Lancaster Farming Staff
LEBANON (Lebanon Co.)
The acidity in tomatoes varies and
this means some of your old
recipes may no longer be suitable
for canning. In addition, new
tomato favorites are gaining
An update on tomato preserving
methods and new recipes was held
recently at the Lebanon County
Alletta Schadler, Lebanon
County Extension home econom
ist, demonstrated making salsa,
dried tomatoes, tomato soup, and
It is important to remember that
the type of tomato used affects the
quality of salsa, sauces, and tomato
Paste tomatoes, such as Roma,
have firmer flesh and produce
thicker salsa, soups, and pastes
than large slicing tomatoes.
Tips From Letti
• To make a quality product, it is
important that you start with high
quality ingredients. Tomatoes
should be ripe and skins should not
Sun dried tomatoes are a popular delicacy but so expensive $lO
to $2O per pound.
Most sun dried tomatoes are imported from Italy, who first intro
duced them to the U.S. market. Unfortunately, the climate is not suit
able for trying tomatoes in this area, but you can achieve a close imita
tion by using a food dehydrator. Make sure your dehydrator has a fan
and a thermostat for successful drying.
Start with high quality Roma or plum-shaped tomatoes. The Roma
varieties contain as much as 15 percent seeds compared to only 6 per
cent in round tomatoes.
Some common varieties of plum-shaped tomatoes are Red Pear,
Roma VF, Laßoma, Del Oro, San Marzano, Hungarian Italian, Viva
Italia, and Super Italian Paste—the meaties of all sweet, flavorful, and
frequently up to 6 inches long.
Not all tomatoes can be dried successfully. Tomatoes low in acid
may develop black spots during the drying process. The black spots do
not represent spoilage but result in a slight change in flavor and are cer
tainly not as appetizing as the fully red. robust dried tomato.
Wash tomatoes carefully and halve them lengthwise. Set the halves
on drying racks with the cut sides up, close together, but not overlap
ping. If desired, sprinkle lightly with salt Paste tomatoes will take
about 10 to 13 hours to dry in a dehydrator at 140 degrees. If you’re
drying round tomatoes, slice 'A to V* -inch thick. When dry, they will
be paper thin. If you slice them thinner, they will be difficult to remove
from the drying racks.
To store dried tomatoes, package in freezer bags and then inside an
airtight glass jar. Store in refrigerator or freezer until needed.
Do not chop or flake them until ready to use. When making tomato
flakes or chunks, put the dried tomatoes in a food processor and chop
to desired size.
Schadler recommends the cookbook “How To Dry Foods” by
Deanna DeLong. It costs $14.95, and can be purchased at bookstores.
• Cracks in the skin can give a
sour taste to the tomato and ruin a
whole batch of sauce or salsa.
• Do not use tomatoes from dead
or frost-killed vines.
• To easily remove skins, dip
tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to
60 seconds. Dump into cold water,
and slip off skins.
• When cutting up tomatoes, do
not expose to the air as pectin
breaks down. This results in toma
to solids and water separating. To
produce a top quality juice, crush a
few in the bottom of kettle, cut in
remaining tomatoes while toma
toes are cooking. This results in a
higher quality product.
• Use Clear Jel (modified food
starch) to thicken tomato paste.
• Use Wonda Flour to thicken
sauces and gravies, because it dis
solves easily and does not need to
be cooked ahead of time.
• Roma tomatoes are best for
soup and sauces.
• Do not turn canning lids too
tightly or they will not seal.
• To seed individual tomatoes,
cut in half and insert finger in each
comer of half to squeeze out seeds
and excess juice.
• For free recipes and instruc-
tions for freezing and canning
tomatoes, ask your county exten
sion office or send a self
addressed, stamped envelope to
Lebanon Co. Cooperative Exten
sion, 2120 Cornwall Rd., Suite 1,
Lebanon, PA 17042. For more
information, call (717) 270-4391.
Here are some tips about salsa.
Salsa is a mixture of low-acid
foods, such as onions and peppers,
with acid foods such as tomatoes.
Roma tomatoes work best for
Peppers range from mild to fiery
in taste. Do not increase the total
amount of peppers in any recipe
but you may substitute one type of
pepper for another. Generally, the
smaller the pepper, the finer the
taste. Peppers provide a distinct
taste to salsas. Choose a mild pep
per when the recipe calls for long
green chiles. Some popular hot
peppers are Jalapeno, Serrano,
Cayenne, Habanera, Tabasco.
Always wear plastic or rubber
gloves while handling hot chilis.
Remove skins of chiles by heating
chiles until skins blister. After
heating, place peppers ip pan and
cover with a damp cloth, which
makes peeling easier. Let cool sev
eral minutes; slip off skins. Dis
card seeds and chop.
Acid ingredients help preserve
salsa. If you are canning salsa, you
must add acid because the natural
acidity may not be high enough.
Canned lemon juice is a good
choice. Vinegar must be at least S
percent acid if used.
Spices add flavoring. Use more
if you prefer spicy salsas. Leave
them out completely if you prefer a
To can, follow the manufactur
er’s directions for pretreating lids.
Fill hot clean jars with hot salsa.
Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp
paper towel before screwing on
lids and metal bands.
(Turn to Pago BIS)
Tomatoes may be dried in a
food dehydrator to imitate
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110 South Railroad
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