Freezing tomatoes is the quickest way to preserve them straight from the garden. If you’ve grown or have access to a large quantity of red tomatoes then freezing is your best option to stop the ripening process and save tomatoes to use in soups and stews or can later on. Learn how to freeze tomatoes!
I could never grow tomatoes at our old house. When we moved to our homestead, and planted a vegetable garden using the lasagne style no till method I tried again and planted 20 plants. To my surprise, they grew, and they grew well. I did my best to preserve them all for the year but ended up giving most away.
Nothing beats eating fresh tomatoes. We like to eat our tomatoes straight from the garden, as often as we can during the harvest season.
August-October, our main meals are filled with tomatoes. Lunch and breakfast consists of toast and tomato sandwiches often with a fried egg. Dinners include garden salads, homemade pizza and lots of chickpea and tomato curry.
Freezing is the easiest and best method to preserve them for later use. Frozen tomatoes can be added to soups, stews and pasta sauces. It’s a great way to add the flavour of summer to winter time meals.
How to Freeze Tomatoes
The easiest way to freeze tomatoes is to blanch them whole and freeze in medium sized freezer bags.
Most recipes will only need a few whole tomatoes so it’s best to have portions pre measured.
You’ll need the following,
Proper packaging– I use Ziploc Freeze bags for everything. Options include zaccum packing, wax paper, brown butcher paper, plastic wrap or plastic containers.
However you freeze your tomatoes, your packagings should be moisture proof, vapour proof, leak proof and provide a flavour barrier.
Slotted Spoon I use a slotted spoon to add and remove tomatoes to stock pot during blanching process.
Blanching Tomatoes BEFORE Freezing
Blanching is a quick and easy method to stop the ripening process of the tomatoes and to easily remove the skins. Most people prefer to have a smooth tomato texture in preserves, soups and pasta sauces. I’ve found removing the skins makes a difference with the end result and is worth it!
Start by washing your tomatoes. If they are straight from the garden you’ll need to make sure they don’t have any dirt or debris on them. Remove stems, ends and any bad spots.
Cut a small X in the top of the tomatoes. This will help with removing the skins once they are blanched.
Boil Water in a large pot.
Blanch the tomatoes by placing them in hot water for 1 minute or until you notice skins starting to lift.
Then place into ice water to chill and drain. I like to fill my sink with cold water from the tap and find that this works just as well as ice water to quickly bring down the temperature of the tomatoes.
Remove the skins from the tomatoes and scrape out the guts- juices and seeds to prevent the frozen tomatoes from becoming frozen tomatoes juice.
Add peeled tomatoes to freezer bags once frozen. I like to write on the packages the date and contents before adding it to the freezer.
Record frozen tomato inventory. I like to record what I’m adding to the freezer on my freezer inventory list. That way I can easily meal plan. I find if I don’t then this hard work doesn’t pay off and I have freezer burnt food later on.
Tomatoes will keep in the freezer for up to 10 months. Just long enough for the next summer garden tomatoes to be harvested!
I suggest getting organized when preserving your harvest, so that you to can reap the benefits of your hard work and enjoy your harvest all year long.
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