When I first learned how to freeze tomatoes I was blown away with how easy it is to do. And I was shocked at the various methods you can use to do so.
When most people think about how to preserve tomatoes, images of spending hours in the kitchen, sweating over a hot pot of boiling water, during the dog days of summer appear.
However, this year, it is time to take a new look on how to save those tomatoes before they go bad. In fact, freezing tomatoes is actually one of the easiest things that you will ever do!
It seems like we wait the entire month of June and most of July to watch the transformation of the first green tomato to turn red.
And before we know it, in just a few weeks, we are inundated with baskets of ripe tomatoes that we don’t know what to do with.
In our house, we immediately turn to our Classic Canned Salsa Recipe. And a few days later, when the next picking gives us bushels of tomatoes, we make Pasta Sauce.
Then we move on to canning Tomato Juice, Rotel Tomatoes, Diced Tomatoes and more!
Freezing May Be Your Best Option This Year
However, this year is a little different than most. There are more first time gardeners than ever before. And that means canning your garden fresh tomatoes may not be an option.
First, not everyone has been taught how to safely can the produce from the garden. And there are a lot of conflicting and confusing methods on how to preserve vegetables on the internet.
However, even if you wanted to give canning a try this year, it is very difficult to find the proper equipment right now. The stores are out of canning jars and even if you had a few mason jars stored in the basement, it is nearly impossible to find canning lids.
So instead of focusing on all of those recipes to preserve tomatoes using canning methods, we have decided to share how to freeze tomatoes instead.
And for many gardeners, they find that freezing tomatoes is so much easier and less time-consuming than going through the canning process.
Of course, this all depends on how much freezer space that you have available.
If you are overwhelmed with the amount of tomatoes that you have or if you want to preserve tomatoes for use in sauces and soups over the winter, freezing is the key.
No, you will not have that firm texture of a fresh picked tomato, but tomatoes that are frozen are great to use as a base for many recipes.
How To Freeze Tomatoes
1. FREEZE TOMATOES WHOLE WITH THE SKIN
It doesn’t get any easier than this! You can actually pick tomatoes, wash them off and freeze them whole. Just put them in an air tight container and use them as you need them throughout the year.
The best part about freezing whole tomatoes is that when you take them out to thaw, the skin will peel off easily. No need to put them in boiling water to peel the skin after they come out of the freezer.
2. FREEZE TOMATOES WITHOUT THE SKIN
Some people prefer to go ahead and remove the skin of the tomato before they are stored in the freezer for the winter.
Although you could blanch them in boiling water for a minute and dip them in a cold ice water bath to remove the skin, we have found an easier way!
Cut the stem end off of the tomato and place tomatoes on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. After they freeze (1-3 hours) run them under cold water and the skins will fall off!
No more scalding water splashing on your skin. Freeze the tomatoes in an air tight container.
3. FREEZE TOMATO HALVES, QUARTERS, OR DICED TOMATOES
If you have a little extra time, it is great to freeze tomato halves, quarters or diced tomatoes.
Taking a little time now to prepare the tomatoes will pay off in the middle of winter.
Follow the same process as above for removing the skins, cut as desired and freeze in an air tight container in sections most likely to be used in your favorite recipes.
We love to dice our tomatoes and store them in the same quantities as store-bought cans. We initially freeze 15 ounces of cut tomatoes in a plastic, freezer safe container. Then when it is frozen solid, we transfer the frozen block in Food Saver bags for easy storage.
4. FREEZE PUREED TOMATOES
Remove the stem, core and any bad spots from the tomato. Cut the tomato in large chunks and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times to desired consistency and place puree in a slow cooker.
Cook on high for 10-12 hours or until reduced and thickened to desired consistency. **We usually add the puree to our slow cooker in the evening and let it cook overnight. We then freeze it after it cools completely.
Freeze puree in desired quantities.
5. USE FRESH TOMATOES TO MAKE SOUP AND THEN FREEZE
One of our favorite ways to freeze tomatoes is to mix them into our favorite soup recipes.
Every year we will make batches of Creamy Tomato Soup, Chili and Vegetable Soup using the tomatoes from the garden.
Once the soup has cooled, we ladle it into quart size, rectangular containers and place in the freezer.
When the soup is solid, we transfer each soup brick to food saver bags to seal. Then they are stacked neatly in the freezer for a quick meal whenever we need one.
And there is nothing better than pulling out homemade soup made from your tomatoes in the middle of winter!
So this year, get the most from your tomatoes and throw them in the freezer! You’ll be thankful on those cold, dreary days to be enjoying a little taste of summer.
Mary and Jim
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