Preserving

Keeping otherwise perishable food for long periods of time is a very old technique, known as preserving. It is a great way of ensuring that you can enjoy the fruits of your garden all year round.

Sterilizing jars and bottles

Always use sterilized canning jars with new lids. Wash in very hot, soapy water, then boil the jars and lids in water for 10 minutes. Remove and carefully fill a hot jar to just under V2in (1cm) of the rim. Cover with a lid and immediately affix the screw band according to manufacturer's instructions. When canning whole peeled and cored tomatoes, you need to sterilize them again as they cook. Follow the instructions that come with the jars, or visit www.usda.gov for details. Stand the jars upright in a deep pot with an inverted heatproof plate or a wire rack set on the bottom. Cover with warm water until at least 1in (2.5cm) above the jars. Cover and boil gently for 45-55 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and let sit overnight on a clean dry cloth. Store in a cool, dark place.

DRYING AND REHYDRATING - use any halved and seeded tomatoes

To rehydrate, soak dried tomatoes in hot water mixed with olive oil for 5-10 minutes. Barely cover the tomatoes with water; the concentrated liquid can be used later for cooking.

I To dry, place skin-side down on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Bake at 150°F (75°C) for 6 hours. Turn over and roast for another 3 hours at 125°F (50°C) or until very dry.

To rehydrate, soak dried tomatoes in hot water mixed with olive oil for 5-10 minutes. Barely cover the tomatoes with water; the concentrated liquid can be used later for cooking.

SMOKING - globes and plums

CANNING - peeled globes and plums

Put dried tomatoes on a wok grill over wood chips. Let smoke, covered, on medium heat in a ventilated room, for about 15 minutes.

Pack tomatoes into the sterilized jar and add 2 tbsp of bottled lemon juice; sprinkle with salt as you go. Preserve as given opposite.

MAKING PRESERVES - spice on hand FREEZING - suitable for sauce

Always sterilize jars (opposite) for chutney (p150), ketchup (p158), and jam before filling, sealing, and labeling.

Tomato sauce such as passata or marinara (p153) can be frozen in zipper-seal plastic bags. Reheat until piping hot before serving.

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