Ms. Jen's steps for what to do with all those gorgeous late summer tomatoes that you were tempted into buying at the store or farmer's market OR a friend with a garden foisted off on to you... Make tomato cubes for later use when you need a burst of summer tomato-y goodness in a dish you are cooking.
Easy steps to fresh tomato paste cubes:
1) Obtain kick ass tasty tomatoes. Wash 'em. Dry em'.
2) Put a big pot of water to boil. Drop tomatoes in, watch, after minute or two the skins should be split. Use any number of kitchen implements to pull the tomatoes out of the pot and into a strainer without burning yourself. While wearing kitchen gloves, see part above about not burning yourself, peel off the skins of the tomatoes. Put in bowl or another pot.
3) When all of the tomatoes are nekkid and skinless, you have two choices:
Tomato Rustica: pop all of the skinless tomatoes in a big pot to fit, chop 'em up a bit with a wooden spoon or paddle, and simmer, stirring occasionally so they don't stick or burn on a low burner, until the tomatoes have reduced to thick paste. Simmering may take up to 3-4 hours.
Tomato Sauce: wait for skinned tomatoes to cool. Slice in half. Scoop out the seeds, leave interior walls and other non-seed flesh. Chop up. Put in pot on a low burner, simmer until the tomatoes have reduced to a thick paste. Stir as needed. Simmering may take up to 3-4 hours.
4) Cool paste. Pour paste into a clean ice cube tray. Put in freezer. Freeze until frozen through.
5) Release frozen tomato cubes and store in a zipped freezer bag. Put back into freezer until you need some good fresh homemade tomato pastes for a sauce, stew, or soup when all the tomatoes in the store are winter dull. Pull out a cube or two and cook it up. Happily use until bag is empty.
6) Repeat Steps 1 through 5 next August or Sept.