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.
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!
I was given a box of red tomatoes and I don't want them to go bad. I would like to put them through a blender and then freeze them. Do I have to blanch them first?
Blanching tomatoes before freezing removes the skins which can ruin sauces, etc. A very easy online search for "why blanch tomatoes before freezing" produced many good replies to your question. You can try a search yourself and the always helpful "how stuff works" site below:
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.
Tomatoes are easy to freeze. You can simply wash them well, cut out any bad spots and the stem/core, and pop them in a freezer bag. When you are ready to use them, once thawed they will squeeze right out of the skins! You can then use them as you would use canned tomatoes.
That is the way my late Mother did it. As she got older she never planted more than three plants, and when she had more than she could use that is what she did, even if it was only a couple tomatoes. She kept a good sized bag that she would just toss the tomatoes into after she had prepped them.
I have found that tomatoes freeze great if you want to use them for soups, stews, adding to roasts, making sauce, etc. They do not retain texture as far as using on sandwiches and salads. I like to freeze chunks of tomato in small bags and put several smaller bags into a large outer bag in the freezer. When making soup or stew I just grab out a smaller bag and ready to add.
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.
This is a guide about freezing green tomatoes. At the end of the season don't waste those unripe tomatoes. Freeze them for future use.
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!
I just wipe them off and put in freezer. Once frozen, put in plastic freezer bag. When you want to use them, run under cold water and the peelings just slide off.
I wash and core the tomatoes. Also remove any bad spots. Put them in a cake pan and freeze. This helps them to freeze and not be stuck together. When you bag them they will be hard as cue balls. Put into freezer bags and when you are ready to use them, remove only the amount you need from the bag. If you let them defrost, they will slip right out of their skins.
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?
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.
If I don't make sauce, I freeze them whole. When I want them, I run them under hot water and the peels slip right off. They can then be chopped or smashed for sauces or whatever. They taste very fresh this way, and are so easy to peel it's amazing!
I freeze them whole with the skins on. When I put them out to thaw, the skins slip right off and then I can shop them easily. I only use them for cooking though.
Can stewed tomatoes be frozen?
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.