If you are unsure what to do with a bumper crop of tomatoes, freezing them is an excellent way to preserve them for later in the year. This is a guide about freezing tomatoes.
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By Ellen Brown
Most of us know that planting a garden is one of the cheapest ways to provide your family with fresh vegetables. My husband is the chief gardener in our household, and since it is his domain, he gets to decide what to plant. Let me tell you right away that he loves fresh tomatoes. I, on the other hand, hate tomatoes and have not eaten a raw tomato in over thirty years. Imagine my amazement when he strategically placed 16 tomato plants in our garden! It gets worse, each of those plants thrived and grew over six feet tall! That's a lot of tomatoes! The kitchen is my domain, so it became my task to figure out what to do with his abundant harvest.
Now, I know I said I don't like tomatoes, but I do like spaghetti sauce, chili and soup. I could have canned the tomatoes for use in the sauces; but I hate canning. It's hot, messy and time consuming. We decided to try freezing the tomatoes. Together we peeled them and started dicing and chopping them in a blender. Then we poured the chopped tomatoes and juice into gallon-size freezer bags, labeled them and placed them in the freezer. Freezer bags work well because you can lay them flat and they don't take up very much room in the freezer.
Then we got creative and began personalizing each bag for later use. For chili sauce, we added fresh chopped onions and peppers to the tomatoes before freezing. For spaghetti sauce, we went one step further and added chopped garlic. Vegetable soup sauce became a mixture of tomatoes, onions, and fresh herbs from our little herb garden. Sometimes we added chopped broccoli and other vegetables to the soup base.
We also make a garden salsa using the same methods, but drain the juice from the blended tomatoes. It keeps well, and we always have a fresh and healthy snack or dish to take to pot lucks, family gatherings, etc. Because we can season it to our tastes, we are sure to like it!
Ever since that time, I have never purchased a can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sauce, or spaghetti sauce. There is always a sauce ready to go in the freezer. It also tastes much better than commercial sauces. We just pull it out and simmer, adding any spices or meat necessary. It is a healthy and inexpensive way to have dinner partially prepared!
After a year or two, I even figured out how to effortlessly and inexpensively make vegetable soup. Leftover dinner vegetables are drained and placed in a freezer bag, sometimes even adding leftover roast to the bag. Once the bag is full, I pull it out and grab a bag or two of our frozen tomato mixture, throw them in a pot, add seasonings, and soup's on! This is by far the easiest and cheapest homemade meal I have ever made! Try it and see if you don't agree!
By Patti McKenna
All we do with them is rinse them off and blot dry, Put in Ziplock bags and freeze. To use them, I drop into hot liquid, and use my Chinese spider strainer to pull out of broth, slip off skins and core or not. Then I drop them back into sauce, or what ever I am using them for and continue to cook. Works like a charm.
By Connie from Ballwin, Missouri
By Ellen Brown
If you have too many tomatoes from your garden, put them in a brown paper bag and put them in your freezer. When you are ready for your favorite tomato recipe, just take them out and run them under cold water. The skins will peel right off. Then just thaw them out and cook.
By PC from Salem, OR
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Here are questions related to Freezing Tomatoes.
I have 30 tomato plants after a 30 year lapse without a garden. Can I freeze my tomatoes in any way? Please give me some helpful hints.
By Becky B.
By Lilac 08/05/2011
Yes you can. I saw it on TV a few weeks ago. You can freeze them in jars or bags and the show I watched didn't peel them. They cut them in half, stewed them a little while then places them in jars.
How do I freeze tomatoes?
I've been cutting mine in half, then putting them on cookie sheets to flash freeze. When frozen, just put them in a plastic freezer bag. This way they don't all stick together and you can take out what you need. These will have to be used for cooking, though, and not in salads as they don't retain their firmness. To thaw, just heat in a little water and the skins slip right off. I just used some in fresh tomato soup last night! Yum!
Which is best method for freezing tomatoes, whole with the skin on or chopped up with skin on? I wondered how the texture would be if they are left whole, and then I try to chop them up upon thawing?
By Rhoda Lange 08/18/2011
When I'm in a hurry, the skins are left on. I've frozen tomatoes for years, and prefer the skins OFF because the skins are tough after freezing. Blanching whole tomatoes for a few minutes in boiling water and plunging them into a sink of cold water removes the skins easily. It's also easier to chop the tomatoes before than when you're in a hurry and thawing them for a delectable dish. After the tomatoes thaw, they're soft in consistency.
How do you freeze tomatoes and turnips?
By Jewel T. from Danville, VA
For the turnips, dice and water blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Be sure to give them an immediate ice water bath after the blanching to stop the cooking process. Drain, pat and remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible to reduce freezer burn.
Can stewed tomatoes be frozen?
By Geri B
By Khan R. 08/26/2011
Yes, you can freeze the stewed tomatoes. But make sure you keep them in air tight container, and also if you defrost them once, don't freeze it again.
I want to make a fresh salsa, but need to freeze the ingredients as I get them. Once I have everything mixed together can I re-freeze everything in portion bags? I have a vacuum sealer that I plan on using for both processes. Ingredients will be fresh frozen tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro. The tomatoes and peppers are the only two items I will need to re-freeze once everything has been put together. Please help! I don't want soggy ingredients.
By Alan B. 09/28/2013
I used to freeze my tomatoes (all colours & varieties) but when thawed and stewed they tasted different to fresh stewed tomatoes - not very nice.
I find that I prefer to fry them, I will try freezing some fried tomatos.
I tried frying green tomatoes but the taste and texture was so awful that I fed them to my chickens (they are less fussy than me).
I like fried RIPE tomatoes on toast.
I bought some heirloom seeds from the USA and all germinated. Unfortunately the outside ones got blight in the last few days.
Could you please tell me if it is possible to freeze the yellow cherry tomatoes, and what do you do?
This year, for the first time, I planted some some mountain gold tomatoes. Can I freeze these and if so how?
By Janice M
To use up tomatoes, cook them gently, cool, and then freeze for winter stews, etc. Personally, I live on home grown tomatoes, zucchinis, onions, and mushrooms braised together as a side dish or topped with breadcrumbs and baked to have with a roast. In our family it's always cooked on Christmas day as another vegetable with the traditional roast.
Source: Paternal grandmother who many years ago taught me to cook (like 60).
By Jean from Maffra, Victoria, Australia