Saturday, February 22, 2014

How to Freeze Tomatoes

freezing tomatoes
Can you freeze tomatoes? Yes, absolutely!

How do you freeze tomatoes? Well, I'm about to show you just how simple it is.

Freezing tomatoes is a great way to preserve left over tomatoes  or high yields from your garden. Freezing tomatoes is much easier and quicker than canning, and doesn't have the added costs associated with jars, lids, rings and other canning equipment.

The only thing to keep in mind is that their consistency will change. They are best used in recipes that you would normally use canned tomatoes for such as soups, casseroles, sauces and other things that will consist of them to being cooked down. Since they become soft after freezing, you will not want to use them in salads, sandwiches or other recipes that call for fresh tomatoes.



What You Will Need to Freeze Tomatoes      

    freezing tomatoes
  • Fresh Tomatoes
  • Freezer Bags or Air Tight Containers
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board

Peeling Whole Tomatoes the Easy Way

There are two ways to freeze whole tomatoes; peeled or unpeeled. I choose to peel mine first so that it's already done and because the skins can become tough when cooked.

The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to flash them so that skin slips right off. To do this, simply bring a large pot of water to boil and use a sharp knife to make an X in the bottom of the tomato just deep enough to pierce the skin.

Next, place the tomatoes in the boiling water for about a minute, then quickly remove them and put them in the sink or a dish pan full of ice water. Allow them too cool down momentarily so that you don't scald yourself.

Then, gently pick up the tomato and peel the skin away. It will practically slide off. If you don't have time to peel them or just choose not to that is O.K. They can still be peeled using the same method after you thaw them.

How to Freeze Whole Tomatoes

Freezing whole tomatoes is a quick and simple!

After peeling washing and peeling your tomatoes, cut the stem out using a sharp knife.

Next, spread tomatoes out on a cookie sheet or large baking pan, spacing them at least one inch apart. Place the pan in the freezer and allow them to freeze solid, usually overnight.

Once your whole tomatoes are frozen, place them in a freezer bag or an air-tight container. Pull them out as needed and allow them to thaw before cooking. {They can still be chopped after freezing to use in recipes that require smaller pieces.}

Whole tomatoes that are frozen will last around 12 months in the freezer. Be sure to date your bag with a permanent marker to insure their freshness.

How to Freeze Diced, Sliced or Chopped Tomatoes

For faster meal prep times you can slice, dice or chop your tomatoes prior to freezing, and you can opt to use peeled or unpeeled tomatoes. I suggest using peeled tomatoes, because as skins tend to become tough when cooking.

Start by cutting your tomatoes to the size you prefer.

Next, place them in a freezer bag and remove all the air, but be sure not to squish them. Once the air is out of the bag gently arrange the tomatoes so that the bag is flat so that they are easier to store. 
Now, label each bag and pop them in the freezer. Tah-da! That simple!

Tips for Freezing Diced or Chopped Tomatoes 

  • Once you have removed all the air from the bag, flatten them out so that the contents take up about half the bag, Fold the top half under that bag and place in the freezer flat. Once they have frozen solid, they can then be rearranged and stacked on shelves or placed in the door of the freezer. It saves a lot of space!
  • When freezing chopped tomatoes, use smaller bags and smaller portions. I would suggest putting a cup in each bag so that you don't waste any left overs. You can always take out more bags as needed but you can't put them back once they have been thawed.

A Few Things to Remember . . .

  • Use fresh tomatoes that are fully ripened.
  • Wash your tomatoes before using, eating or freezing. Pat them dry using a paper towel.
  • Cut away any bruises, pits, cracks or other parts of the tomato that would not be appealing prior to freezing them.
  • Frozen tomatoes will have a different consistency than a fresh tomato. They will be softer and slightly mushy so they should only be used in recipes that require them to be cooked.

Ideas for Using Frozen Tomatoes

Just because frozen tomatoes aren't freshly picked doesn't mean that they can't still be used in a variety of recipes. You can use them in anything that you would normally use canned or cooked tomatoes in. A few ideas include
  • Soups & Stews
  • Casseroles
  • Chili
  • Sauces
  • Gravies

What are Your Thoughts on Freezing Tomatoes?

Have you ever tried or thought about freezing tomatoes? Share your thoughts, tips and suggestions for freezing tomatoes in the comment section below.



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4 comments:

  1. I really thought you couldn't freeze them glad to know you can - thank you for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I did this last year with the tomatoes from the garden I can't wait for this years tomatoes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your tips! I have never put tomatoes in the freezer before. Pinned! Thanks for being part of our party.Please come and show off on Monday at 7 pm. We would love it. http://loulougirls.blogspot.com/
    Happy Saturday! Lou Lou Girls

    ReplyDelete

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