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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to Freeze Fresh Tomatoes

I like to eat fresh tomatoes. When my friends and neighbors have an overabundance of tomatoes growing in their gardens and ask me to take some of their extra tomatoes off of their hands the correct answer is always “yes!” because I only have room on my patio for one hanging tomato plant.


Luckily, a generous soul gave me a big ol’ bag of tomatoes this summer. Unluckily, it was two days before I planned an out of town trip. I knew if I left those fresh red beauties in my refrigerator while I was on vacation a week later I’d come back to a bunch of spoiled tomatoes, ready for the compost bin. I don’t have super duper canning skills, equipment, or knowledge. Time was also at a premium. What do to do? I sent those tomatoes to the deep freeze. Yes, it’s true. You can freeze tomatoes.

Here’s how.




You will need:

Tomatoes
1 pot of simmering water
1 slotted spoon
1 paring knife and cutting board
Freezer worthy containers
A freezer

How to do it:

1. Blanch the tomatoes by simmering the tomatoes in the pot of hot water on the stove for approximately 10 minutes or until you see the skin loosen or split on the tomato. Remember the idea is not to fully cook the tomato, just to loosen the skin.

2. Remove the tomatoes from the water with the slotted spoon and set aside to cool.

3. Use the paring knife to peel the loosened skin from each room temperature tomato. You can try peeling the tomatoes immediately after you removed it from the boiling water but I wouldn’t recommend it because you could burn your fingers. Want to guess how I found out about this little tip?

4. Cut the peeled tomatoes into quarters or chunks and put them into the containers. I use zip lock type bags. That way I can stack several bags of frozen tomatoes on top of each other in my small freezer. And before you ask, yes I do rewash and reuse my plastic freezer bags as long as I haven’t used them to store meat.

5. Put the containers full of frozen tomatoes in your freezer and let them freeze.

Extra tip: It’s best to thaw and use frozen tomatoes for soups, sauces, and stews instead of using them to garnish a sandwich or salad.

There you have it a quick and easy way to freeze your summer tomato bounty for use later in the year. The next question is what should I make with all of those frozen tomatoes?

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