3. Any other tips you can share for a newbie?
I prefer FREEZING. I used to blanch the tomatoes, remove skins, and pass them through a hand cranked food mill to produce liquefied tomatoes. I'd pour that into plastic containers and freeze it. In the freezer, it holds up well for 6 to 12 months.
Now I skip the blanching & skin removal process. I simply wash the tomatoes, cut off the tops, quarter them, and throw them in the blender briefly to break them down. Then I pass them through a hand cranked food mill to to produce liquefied tomatoes.
Sometimes I heat the liquefied tomatoes on the stove top, bringing them to a boil, allow to cool and then freeze. Honestly, I'm not sure if this is necessary for safer preservation or how it affects the taste.
When processing liquefied tomatoes, if you pour them into a tall clear container and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, all the tomato rises to the top, leaving clear water at the bottom. It's actually a huge amount of clear water (Aprox 30% water, 70% Tomato). I've never done it, but I was thinking of different methods to try in order to drain off the clear water and discard it, leaving only the thick rich tomato. The advantage being a much reduced "cook down" time required when cooking the pizza sauce.
Possible methods to drain off the clear water:
* Add some kind of valve at the bottom of the container to very slowly drain the water.
* Use a siphon hose to drain the water.