Tips on Freezing Tomatoes

 Freezing Tomatoes

Freezing Tomatoes

If you always wanted to preserve your garden tomatoes but thought canning tomatoes was just too much work, freezing tomatoes may be just the answer.  Frozen tomatoes must be used for cooking and sauces as they will get too runny for any other use.  All you need for freezing tomatoes are your tomatoes, some freezer bags, a couple of bowls (stainless steel is best as plastic will become discolored), a large pot for cooking or heating water on the stove, and a paring knife.

When freezing tomatoes, you can plan on each two pounds of raw tomatoes making one quart of frozen tomatoes. You will need to leave an inch of space in the top of each bag for possible expansion. The first thing is to get your large pot on the stove for blanching the tomatoes. Fill the pot approximately two-thirds full of water and bring to a full boil.

Make sure to clean your kitchen work area and your hands before touching the tomatoes. Your tomatoes should be ripe, plump, firm and a nice dark red. Do not use blemished tomatoes or ones taken off of diseased vines.

If you want to freeze your tomatoes with the skins on you can forget this blanching part and move right on to packaging. Blanching is only for making the removal of skins and coring easier. After water has come to a boil, dip each tomato in the hot water for thirty seconds, then remove the tomato and place it in cold water. You can do this several tomatoes at a time by dropping them into the pot together and then dropping them into the cold water together. Once the tomato hits the cold water, the skin will split and be easy to remove with your knife. Remove the tomato from the cold water and skin it. Also remove the tomato core if desired.

Collect the skinned and cored tomatoes in a metal bowl--they are now ready for freezing. When freezing tomatoes you can leave them whole or cut them up into halves or quarters. Next, put the tomatoes in your freezer bags, leaving an inch of headroom. A large spoon or ladle is great for this process. Label your freezer bags with what’s in them and then date and throw them right into the freezer. The tomatoes will last approximately eight months.

Just continually repeat the above process until all tomatoes are in your freezer. If you wish to freeze stewed tomatoes, the process is still very easy. Follow the directions above until you peel your tomatoes, remove the stem ends, and quarter. Then place the tomatoes in a covered pot and let them cook until they get tender. Depending on the number of tomatoes it could take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. Place the whole pot with the tomatoes still in it in cold water until they have cooled off. Then pack your freezer containers, leaving one inch of headroom. Seal and place them in the freezer.

No matter which method you use when freezing tomatoes, you can be sure they will be a tasty treat when you take them out in mid-winter to make spaghetti sauce, salsa or whatever other recipe you have in mind. You will probably decide to freeze some tomatoes every year.

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