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There are a few ways you can freeze tomatoes but it ultimately depends on what you want to do with the tomatoes later. More on that in a minute.
If you have a lot of tomatoes ripening on you quickly you can freeze them if you are struggling to keep up and make your salsa, tomato sauce, or anything else you want to make with them later in the year.
Personally, I think this is a more wise way to preserve tomatoes when you are super busy in the summer.
Then use the time to make everything that uses tomatoes in the wintertime when you are stuck inside and battling cabin fever. But that’s just me.
What You Can Do With Frozen Tomatoes
- Tomato salad – diced tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper (add tuna or salmon for protein)
- Tomato sauce – cooked down tomatoes with garlic, onions, and herbs
- Tomato soup – pureed tomatoes with cream, butter, and spices
- Tomato juice – blended tomatoes with water and salt
- Salsa – diced tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice
- Stewed tomatoes – cooked down tomatoes with celery, onions, and bell peppers
- Tomato paste – cooked down tomatoes until thick and concentrated
- Tomato bruschetta – diced tomatoes with garlic, basil, and olive oil on toasted bread
- Caprese salad – sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil
- Tomato chutney – cooked down tomatoes with vinegar, sugar, and spices.
And here are a few more ideas:
- Tomato jam – cooked down tomatoes with sugar, spices, and vinegar
- Tomato tart – sliced tomatoes on top of a pastry crust with cheese and herbs
- Tomato and feta salad – diced tomatoes, crumbled feta, olives, and herbs
- Tomato and cucumber gazpacho – chilled tomato and cucumber soup with garlic and vinegar
- Tomato and goat cheese tart – sliced tomatoes on top of a pastry crust with goat cheese and herbs.
Top Ways To Freeze Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a versatile fruit that can be used in a wide variety of dishes. Whether you’re making a fresh tomato sauce, a homemade salsa, or a delicious tomato soup, having a stash of frozen tomatoes on hand can be a real game-changer.
What Are You Going To Do With The Tomatoes
The key deciding factor is whether are you going to cook them down into a sauce or warm dish. If so then you probably want to take the tomato skins off first.
Making fresh salsa or having them for salads is the only real thing you would probably use them for with the skins still on.
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Blanching Tomatoes To Get The Peels Off
One of the best ways to preserve your tomato harvest is by freezing them. Freezing tomatoes is an easy and convenient way to preserve them for later use, and it’s a great way to enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes all year round.
Blanching is one of the most common ways to freeze tomatoes, and it involves briefly boiling the tomatoes before freezing them. This process helps to remove the skins and soften the tomatoes, making them easier to work with.
To blanch tomatoes, follow these steps:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- While the water is heating up, prepare a bowl of ice water.
- Wash the tomatoes and remove any stems or leaves.
- Use a sharp knife to cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato.
- Once the water is boiling, carefully drop the tomatoes into the pot.
- Let the tomatoes boil for about 30 seconds to a minute, or until the skins start to peel away.
- Use a spoon with holes to remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and immediately transfer them to the ice water.
- Let the tomatoes cool in the ice water for a few minutes.
- Once the tomatoes are cool, remove them from the water and use a sharp knife to peel away the skins. (You may even be able to squeeze the tomato with the X down and the whole skin should come off)
After blanching and peeling the tomatoes, you can either freeze them whole or chop them into smaller pieces. (Cutting them up even a little bit will help save on freezer space)
Once the skin has been removed you should remove the stems and core tomatoes. You can leave the tomatoes whole but if you cut them or crush them you’ll maximize your storage space.
Using a ladle, large spoon, or measuring cup add the tomatoes to freezer storage bags. Pint or quart-sized freezer bags work best. Seal the bags making sure to push out as much air as possible so they don’t get freezer burn.
Store your bags of tomatoes flat so you can add more items to your freezer. DO NOT lay on a wire rack where the tomatoes can sink through even in the bags. They will shape around the rack and freeze to the shape of the rack. Put them on a cookie sheet first then take the sheet out once the bags are solid.
Frozen tomatoes will retain flavor for 12 to 18 months
Glass Storage Containers
If you want to be a little more environmentally friendly here are some great glass storage container options. Just be careful when pulling them from the freezer and don’t put them directly into hot water or heat them up. You should let them thaw for a bit.
Freezing Whole Tomatoes
Another way to freeze tomatoes is to simply wash them, remove any stems or leaves, and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. This method is quick and easy, but it’s important to note that the texture of the tomatoes may be softer and more watery when thawed.
Step 1: Choose your tomatoes
The first step in freezing tomatoes is to choose the right ones. Tomatoes that are ripe and in good condition are the best candidates for freezing. Look for tomatoes that are firm and free from any signs of mold, bruises, or blemishes. You can freeze any type of tomato, from cherry tomatoes to beefsteak tomatoes, so choose the ones that you prefer.
Step 2: Wash and dry the tomatoes
Once you’ve selected your tomatoes, give them a good rinse under cool running water. Be sure to remove any dirt, debris, or stickers that may be on the skin. After washing, pat the tomatoes dry with a clean kitchen towel.
Step 3: Remove the stem and core
Next, remove the stem and core from each tomato. You can use a sharp knife to do this, or simply pinch the stem with your fingers and twist it off. Then, use a small spoon or a melon baller to scoop out the core from the top of the tomato.
Step 4: Cut the tomatoes into pieces
Now it’s time to cut the tomatoes into pieces. You can cut them into quarters, eighths, or even smaller if you prefer. The important thing is to cut them into pieces that are roughly the same size so that they freeze evenly.
NOTE: if you cut them into bite-size chunks you can put them directly into a bag. However, I will put mine into a bowl first and let the juice drain to the bottom of the bowl. Then scoop the tomatoes in a bag with a spoon that has holes in it. This will keep your fresh salsa from getting too watery.
Step 5: Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet
After cutting the tomatoes into pieces, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Be sure to leave some space between each piece so that they don’t stick together.
Step 6: Freeze the tomatoes
Place the baking sheet of tomatoes in the freezer and let them freeze for a few hours, or until they are completely frozen. This should take anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on the size of your tomato pieces and the temperature of your freezer.
Step 7: Transfer the tomatoes to a freezer-safe container
Once the tomatoes are frozen, remove the baking sheet from the freezer and transfer the frozen pieces to a freezer-safe container. You can use a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container for this step. Be sure to label the container with the date so that you know when you froze the tomatoes.
Step 8: Store the tomatoes in the freezer
Finally, store the container of frozen tomatoes in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
Freezing Tomato Sauce
If you’re planning to make tomato sauce with your garden tomatoes, you can also freeze the sauce for later use. To freeze tomato sauce, follow these steps:
- Prepare your tomato sauce as you normally would, using your favorite recipe.
- Let the sauce cool to room temperature.
- Once the sauce is cool, transfer it to freezer-safe containers or bags.
- Make sure to leave some headspace in the containers or bags to allow for expansion during freezing.
When you’re ready to use the frozen tomato sauce, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or in a bowl of cold water.
Freezing tomatoes is an easy and convenient way to preserve your garden harvest in the height of tomato season. Whether you choose to blanch, freeze whole, or make tomato sauce, there are many ways to freeze tomatoes that will help you enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes all year round.
So don’t let your tomato harvest go to waste – try one of these methods!
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