Tomatoes are the hit of my summer harvest. Finding ways to preserve them has been my challenge. With a little help from my friend and garden buddy Maureen I learned that freezing tomatoes is a fast and easy way to preserve fresh tomatoes.
1. Select fresh garden or farmers market tomatoes that are ripe and at their peak of maturity-
Almost any variety of tomato can be frozen. I have learned that paste tomatoes such as Roma (plum) are probably the most hearty for making sauces.
Note: Growing tomatoes and getting them to perfectly ripen in unison was a challenge for me. I did not fret that not every tomato was perfectly ripe. If you purchase your tomatoes from a local farmers market this would be less of a challenge.
Rule of thumb: Plan on a quart of tomatoes for every 2-1/2-3-1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes.
2. Get your equipment together-
- A large pot (8-quarts)
- A large bowl
- Freezer bags
- Permanent Marker to label freezer bag
3. Blanching the Tomatoes-
Blanching the tomatoes is an important step. This process stops the natural enzymes in the tomatoes that could cause loss of color or flavor. The tomatoes are easy to peel too.
- Fill the large pot with water. Bring the water to a boil.
- Working in 1-pound batches, immerse the tomatoes in the boiling water
- Cook until the skins begin to split ( this can take 3 minutes to 5 minutes, or longer).
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a bowl. Allow to cool.
4. Peel the Tomatoes-
When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife or your fingers to peel the skin off the tomatoes.
5. Prepare and Freeze the Tomatoes-
- Using a sharp knife, cut out the stem end from the peeled tomatoes
- Halve, slice or chop tomatoes
- Spoon the tomatoes into freezer bag
- Seal the bag and label
- Freeze up to 10 months
Now, you can use your tomatoes in the future to stew or to make fresh sauces.