Scratch the can. It's almost summer. Instead, make homemade diced tomatoes that are in season and of course, gluten-free.
You’re at the store, getting ready to make a fun dish in the crockpot! It can literally simmer all day while you're at work. And the recipe requires diced tomatoes. Canned.
Now, although there are great companies that have diced tomatoes labeled gluten-free (which I use like always when tomatoes are NOT in season in Indiana), well, summer is approaching. And we ain't got time for canned if we are cooking gluten-free meals. Ya dig?
We need natural flavors that are seasonal. Straight from the earth. So scratch the canned. In fact, scratch the whole store scenario. Instead, head to your local farmer’s market and grab some fresh tomatoes. I am ALL ABOUT seasonal ingredients that you can find locally. If they're in season, there is no reason NOT to grab them from local farmers. Heck, or your back yard. Cause you can grow them yourself! In pots!
With the weather getting better and spring in the air, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty when it comes to gluten-free cooking. The more natural flavors you can create with your dishes from scratch, the better they will be.
Produce. It's all about produce when it comes to seasoning now that spring is here! From poblano peppers to chili peppers to fresh juicy tomatoes to corn straight from the husks....IT IS ALL ABOUT SEASONAL PRODUCE.
So, reach for it when you cook. If your recipe calls for diced tomatoes, do this: Get about 3-4 red ripe vine tomatoes. Heck, you can use whatever tomatoes you want. Give them a rinse while they're whole, then start cutting them up.
What kind of tomatoes are the best to use?
Heirloom tomatoes are going to be the most flavorful, but they are also the most expensive. And they're more difficult to find. You can opt for vine tomatoes as well as plum tomatoes.
And growing both over the summer is quite easy. Both have wonderful flavor and are great for replacing diced tomatoes in a can, especially in the summertime.
Remember, when tomatoes are not in season, going for canned will provide better flavor in sauces. But, I really like to go for the whole peeled tomatoes even when a recipe calls for diced. You can slice peeled whole tomatoes up, to make them diced. I just find the flavor is best when it comes to choosing canned for cooking, when tomatoes are not in season.
Here is how I make homemade diced tomatoes that would equal a 15 ounce can:
Pull the green off the top of your tomato. Then slice around and scoop out the top. I use a grapefruit spoon. Next, you'll want to start dicing. There are many ways to dice a tomato, and most are extremely messy! So, here's the way I have found is the most efficient, with less mess.
Slice your tomato from the top to bottom, but at a curve on the outer most part. What you are doing essentially is skinning it, in a very thick slice. You'll have the center of the tomato in the end, which is soft and mushy and filled with liquid and seeds. This is the flesh and the flesh is the liquid part that is the messy part.
In a large metal bowl, plop the flesh in after slicing. The other pieces that you've skinned, you'll transfer all those to a cutting board to dice. The flesh in the bowl, you can smoosh with your hands or a fork or whatever you have. Leave the juice in. You want tomato juice with freshly diced tomatoes. If the flesh is not fragile, you can cut up those pieces of flesh if you wish.
Everything goes into the metal bowl. Then give it a big mix. And there you have it! Fresh, gorgeous, seasonal diced tomatoes. Better than canned when tomatoes are in season. And much more flavorful. And you NEED flavor when it comes to gluten-free cooking. Lots and lots of natural flavor. It's always the best!
They're all going to be great with whatever you are simmering. Why? Because they're all in season, so there is going to be a deeper flavor. And you will love it. Fresh homemade diced tomatoes. You can't beat it for summertime!
Homemade Diced Tomatoes (Gluten-Free)
- 4 red vine tomatoes bright red and ripe
- Pull the stems from each tomato and separate from vine. With a grapefruit spoon, scoop out the hard top base of the stem. There is some light colored, hard flesh that will come up too. With a very sharp knife, thickly slice rounded pieces all around each tomato, from top to bottom in a curve. The goal is to have the inside flesh left with the juices inside. Put the flesh in the bowl, then slice up the thick skins with the juice. If it's soft enough, you can simply smoosh it all with a fork.
- The thick tomato pieces you sliced, simply dice those up with a very sharp knife. Plop them in the metal bowl when you are finished, then stir the diced tomatoes with their juices. Use for stews, to simmer, or any other recipe you desire.