In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Preparing 25 lbs of Tomato For Wintertime.

I LOVE Tomato Choka and if I’m being honest, I can probably have it everyday for the rest of my life. Such is the adoration I have for this tasty vegan dish. With that in mind and the fact that Canadian Winters can be severe, I try to process the tomato while the temperature is warm outside and when the local farmers are harvesting their summer’s crop. Fresh from the field tomato which are fire roasted makes a supreme Tomato Choka, even after being frozen. BTW have you tried my Tomato Choka Rice Soup yet? Make it happen!

You’ll Need…

25 lbs Roma Tomato (washed)
food mill
freezer containers
large spoon
pairing knife
cookie sheet

Notes. I used 12 oz containers and the yield got me 12 containers to freeze. Watch the video for additional tips. I used Roma tomatoes as I find them to be more meaty (less water), contain less seeds and are a bit sweeter and not as tart as other varieties of tomato.

Wash and airdry the tomato and while you go through the box, check for those which are going bad (I lost about 5 lbs) and remove. Those ones (mom would be proud), I cut the pieces off which were still good and I plan do do a lovely curry with them in the coming days.

Using a pairing knife, remove the stems/stem area as it can be tough to break down later on. I’ll be using a food mill (refer to the picture below or video) but you may use a mortar and pestle (lots of work), food processor or blender. Be mindful that each option mentioned will give you a different finished texture and consistency. I used the largest grate (comes with 3 sizes) on the food mill, as I like my choka with a body.

Roast the tomatoes on a high heat. They took about 15 minutes to char perfectly and cook all the way through. Watch the video below for a few tips when grilling.

Yes you can broil (oven), stove top roast (messy), boil in water or microwave the tomatoes during the winter months, however NOTHING beats the flavor you get from roasting then over an open fire. Additionally, I paid $8.88 for 25 pounds of Roma tomato, which is incredibly cheap. During the winter the price can rage between $2 and$3.25 a pound in the supermarket. PLUS those are usually shipped from far distances (harvested green and sprayed with ripening inhibitors) or from closer green-houses (those taste like water). These tomatoes were grown in a field local to me and delicious from the summer’s sun.

You have a couple options now. Allow the tomatoes to cool and the skin will easily peel off before you break them down or as in my case, toss a few into your food mill and crank away. Coincidently the circumference of bucket I used (washed with soap and bleach first) fit the base of my food mill perfectly.

Be mindful that you’re working with hot tomatoes. Don’t risk getting burned.

It took a couple hours to work my way through the 25 pounds of tomato, as I had to stop to film, take pictures and set up shots. Basically it will take you much less time.

It’s just a matter of filling your containers and cleaning up at this point.

NO, do not add salt, pepper, onion etc at this point. May I recommend doing so fresh, when you make the actual choak in the months ahead. Yes, they will store for at least 6 months in the freezer.

Label the containers with the name of the contents as it can get confusing when frozen and they look like chilli or pasta sauce you may have in the freezer. Allow the roasted tomato sauce to COOL completely before you snap on the lids and stack them in the freezer. While you could use freezer zipper bags to freeze this (takes less space), I find these container stack better in my freezer and I’ve had instances when the freezer bags stuck together as they froze.

Thawing and Use. Remove from the freezer, place on your counter or in the fridge overnight, then place in a saucepan on a gentle heat (add a couple tablespoons of water if necessary), then proceed with making your tomato choka.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *