Do you ever find yourself running out of steam towards the end of the gardening season? Are you looking for a faster way to store your veggies before they turn bad on you?
If you have the freezer space, freezing food is much faster than canning it in jars. It requires little to no equipment and takes much less time to accomplish.
Whether you’ve found yourself in crunch time, or you’re looking to preserve a few extras in a flash, you’ll find this article beneficial. I’m going to walk you through the process of freezing tomatoes.
It’s an easy and fast way to get a large harvest preserved quickly. Here’s how you go about it:
1. Harvest the Tomatoes
When you’ve grown your tomatoes, waited on them to produce, and begin seeing healthy red tomatoes on the vine, they should be ready to pick.
Be sure to pull the tomatoes downward to break them away from the plant without doing damage.
Once the tomatoes are all harvested, bring them inside for the next steps.
2. Give Them a Quick Bath
You don’t want to freeze dirty tomatoes. Though your tomatoes may not look covered in dirt, the likelihood of them having dirt and bugs on them is still high.
Therefore, place all the tomatoes in a sink filled with cold water. Gently rub the tomatoes with your hands to loosen any dirt or bugs which may have hitched a ride into your kitchen.
Once the tomatoes are clean, pull them from the water and gently dry them with a hand towel. When the tomatoes are washed and dried, you’re ready to move forward with the freezing process.
3. Pop the Skins
You don’t want to freeze tomatoes with the skins still intact. They gain a weird texture (in my opinion) and are better removed from the tomato.
Don’t feel like you’ll spend the entire day peeling skins from tomatoes. Instead, boil a pot of water on the stove.
When the water reaches its boiling point, turn the stove off. Place the tomatoes in the water and wait.
As the skins begin to split, use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes from the water. Place the tomatoes in a sink filled with cold water.
Keep the rotation moving. After the tomatoes have cooled in the sink, the skins should peel off easily.
Once the skins have been removed from the tomatoes, place the tomatoes aside. You can preserve the tomato skins by drying them in a dehydrator. These dried tomato skins make tomato powder and are an excellent addition to soups and other recipes.
They can also be tossed to the compost bin, feed your backyard chickens, or be thrown in the garden. After you decide what to do with your tomato skins, move forward.
4. Slice’em and Dice’em
You can freeze whole tomatoes. Be advised; this takes up a great deal of space in the freezer because the bags won’t lay as flat.
In cases where you’re working with limited freezer space, I recommend cutting the tomatoes up into smaller pieces.
I prefer to dice mine because this is the size I like to use in soups and stews. If you’re more likely to use quartered tomato slices, cut the tomatoes to accommodate your cooking preference.
In this step of the process, be sure to remove the core of the tomatoes, the blossom end, and any seeds you can.
When dicing my tomatoes, I place the tomatoes on a cutting board and cut the tomato in half. I cut each half in slices and remove the core from each of the slices.
From there, I cut each piece of tomato into small squares which meet my cooking preference.
5. Toss the Tomatoes
After the tomatoes have been cut to their desired size, it’s time to get them ready for freezing. It’s important to use freezer bags because they’re heavier and will help protect the tomatoes from freezer burn.
Use a spoon to scoop the tomatoes into the bag. Fill the bag approximately ¾ of the way full. When you’ve filled the bag as full as you’d like it to be, partially seal the bag.
However, leave one corner slightly open. Begin pressing trapped air from the bag starting at the bottom. When you’ve removed all the air you possibly can seal the freezer bag.
Press on the bag to even out the contents. It should help the bags to lay flatter in the freezer.
When all the bags are full, make sure they’ll lay flat, and place them in the freezer. Tomatoes stored with these preparations should last anywhere from eight to 12 months.
Frozen tomatoes are great for adding to soups, stews, or for making tomato sauce with too.
Freezing Whole Tomatoes with Skins
There are times when life gets too busy to deal with preserving food. I’ve been there and have struggled with this a great deal this canning season.
In those times, it’s great to have a way to quickly preserve food with the intent of returning to it later to finish what you don’t have time to do now.
Here’s how you can freeze whole tomatoes in their skins:
1. Prep Tomatoes
Even when in a hurry, you don’t want to freeze dirty vegetables. Be sure to wash the tomatoes under cold water.
Gently rub the skins of the tomatoes with your hands to remove any dirt or bugs which could have caught a ride into the kitchen via your harvest.
Once they’re washed, pat the tomatoes dry with a hand towel.
2. Remove the Stems
The next step of the process is to remove the stems. Cut down into the tomato to pull out as much of the blossom end as possible.
This will make the freezing process go a little easier and keep the tomatoes neat and uniform during the freezing process.
3. Place in a Bag
Once all the tomatoes have been washed, dried, and had the stems removed it’s time to place them in a freezer bag.
Be sure to use the sturdier freezer bags because it’ll help deter freezer burn from taking place. When the tomatoes have all made their way into a bag, be sure to seal the freezer bags leaving one corner open.
Gently press on the bags from the bottom to remove any trapped air. When you’ve removed as much air as you can, seal the bags.
After the tomatoes have been placed in freezer bags and have been sealed, it’s time to pop them in the freezer.
Try to lay the bags as flat as possible because once frozen; you’ll be stuck with the clump they’re frozen into which can take up valuable freezer space.
When the tomatoes are frozen, they can be kept in the freezer for approximately eight months.
You use whole frozen tomatoes when you want to make tomato sauce. You pull the tomatoes from the bag, run them under cold water, and the skins should peel off.
These tomatoes won’t be as firm as they would normally be. Therefore, they are best used in recipes where they’ll be pureed or used as a base for a sauce.
Now you know how to quickly and easily freeze your tomatoes. It is a great way to preserve your tomato harvest in a hurry or with little to no equipment.
Hopefully, this can help you save some time when you need to put food back for later use in a hurry.