Hm – I’m already off track – I’d planned to go along my list in a nice, orderly fashion and already I’m jumping to #8 on my food chronicles list! However, I think seasonal relevance trumps orderly – and I’ve discovered an easy alternative to canned tomatoes, so I just had to post now in case anyone else could use this information too.
First, there has been alot of hype about BPA (bisphenol A), a kind of plastic that is widely used and has been assumed to be safe. It didn’t have to pass the same kinds of safety test as other substances that came to market after the mid-1970′s since it was already in use. Common places BPA is used include hard, clear plastic bottles (polycarbonate bottles, some kinds of Nalgene bottles, some baby bottles), the liners of many metal cans, and -as I’ve just realized- containers like my food processor bowl and probably my gravy separator as well.
However, some observations of lab animals have recently caused concern about the health of effects of the constant low dose (or even higher dose) that most of us are exposed too. When you consider the meteoric rise in issues like infertility, allergy, asthma, obesity, and other health issues, there must be some factor or factors in our way of life that are affecting us. It’s probably a combination of things – from pesticide use and air pollution, to our food supply and sedentary habits. We have so many thousands of genes and tiny amounts of things can switch them on or off. I am concerned enough about BPA to make some changes, but not everyone is as concerned – particularly the industries that use and make BPA. There is room for doubt, but I am playing it safe. Here are some sources for more information:
For a general overview of plastics & recommendations: guide to plastics
This explains why BPA may not be dangerous, since humans metabolize it differently than the rodents who have been studied for exposure.
I have already switched to stainless steel water bottles, and am now looking at reducing exposure to the liner of cans. One of the canned items I used most are tomatoes. And …. tomatoes are now in season. So, I should get out my very dusty canning kit and cookbook, right?
WAIT! There is an easy alternative. I didn’t know it, but you can just freeze tomatoes. I was so excited to discover this (not only am I lazy lately, but short on time). Basically, I just washed the tomatoes, took off the stem tops and any bruises, placed them on parchment paper on cookie sheets, and stuck them in the freezer. When I remembered about them I popped them into ziploc bags, like frozen little baseballs.
On Saturday I made a spaghetti sauce and tossed in some of these frozen tomatoes -they melted right in and didn’t require much mashing. (They did take some time to melt down).
If you do want to peel the skin off, you can do so before freezing, or run the frozen tomato under warm water and (apparently) it’s quite easy to peel the skin off with your hands.
I found a couple of sites on the internet but also spoke to my friend and my mom to get tips. Now, it could be that you are saying “duh! of course! I’ve always known you can freeze tomates” – it’s so easy I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. Sometimes I need someone to point out the obvious.