Freeze the bounty of tomatoes you don’t eat fresh this summer for use in cooking next winter.
How to freeze a tomato
Freeze tomatoes whole or cut them into wedges.
Wash and dry tomatoes for freezing and cut out any bad spots or bruises. Place whole or sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet and put the sheet into the freezer. Once the tomatoes are frozen slide them off the sheet into plastic freezer bags.
The skins will likely crack during freezing which will make the tomatoes easier to peel when they are thawed for cooking. If the skins don’t crack in freezing, just run cold water over each tomato and the skin will fall away.
Frozen tomatoes will keep up to four months.
More ways to freeze tomatoes
● Place whole or peeled tomatoes in a plastic freezer bag and freeze. (To peel a tomato, place it in a strainer and pour boiling water over it for 5 seconds. The peel will pull away easily. You can also place a tomato in boiling water for 45 seconds, then plunge it in ice water for several seconds before peeling.) When ready to use, allow frozen tomatoes to come to room temperature.
● Tomato purée can also be frozen. Cook or steam tomatoes in a little water until soft. Mash the fruit through a press or wire strainer or whirl in a blender; add sugar and or lemon juice to taste; heat to boiling; chill and pack.
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Tomato freezing tips
- Freeze tomatoes that have fully ripened and freeze them as freshly picked as possible.
- Prepare for freezing only the amount of tomatoes your freezer can freeze within 24 hours.
- Use freezer bags for freezing tomatoes; place the bags in cardboard freezer cartons for easy stacking. If you freeze tomatoes in rigid plastic containers make sure the lids are tight-fitting; it is important to exclude as much air as possible. To force air out of plastic bags submerge all but the bag opening in water then seal.
- Label the bags or containers with the tomato variety and the harvest and freezing date.
- To yield 1 pint of tomatoes for cooking next winter you will need 1¼ to 2¼ pounds of tomatoes. (Three medium globe tomatoes, about eight plum tomatoes, and about thirty cherry tomatoes make a pound. A pound of tomatoes peeled and seeded, will yield about one cup of pulp for cooking.)
- You can also freeze tomatoes as sauce, paste, or purées. (Cook or steam tomatoes till soft in a little water; mash the tomatoes and press through a wire strainer, or whirl in a blender; add sugar and or lemon juice to taste; heat to boiling; chill and pack.)
- Frozen tomatoes are best used in cooked dishes as freezing will cause them to lose their firmness.
Garden Planning Books at Amazon:
- Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner
- Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide Vegetable Encyclopedia
- Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide
- Tomato Grower’s Answer Book
Tomato articles at Harvest to Table: