Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Make It From Scratch: How To Freeze Tomatoes

When I mentioned that I bought a bunch of tomatoes and froze them (in order to avoid canned tomatoes and BPA), Cathy at Chief Family Officer asked how I do it. I'm not an expert. Until this summer I thought you had to pressure can tomatoes in order to keep fresh ones around longer. The bunch of romas currently in my freezer is only the second batch of tomatoes I've ever frozen and I did them a completely different way than the garden tomatoes I froze over the summer, but even in my limited experience, I have found freezing tomatoes and sauces super easy.

My go to resource for freezing anything is the book, Will It Freeze by Joan Hood. I received a used copy of the book about 5 years ago from Christmas and I use it all the time. I'm sure the same information is now available on the internet!

According to Hood, if you want to freeze tomatoes whole (which is what I do) you can remove the skins either before or after freezing. You simply add tomatoes (fresh or frozen) to boiling water for a few seconds, put them in cool water, and the peels slide right off. This summer I removed the skins prior to freezing, but the romas still have their skins on in the freezer. Tomatoes are good frozen for up to 1 year! I used the summer tomatoes this past month for a marinara sauce. I just took them out of the freezer and threw them in the pot with the rest of the ingredients. I mashed them up as needed as the cooked (and the sauce was incredible!).

This time around I packed the romas 4 to a Ziploc quart bag, which equals 1 pound. Most canned tomatoes run about 14.5 ounces and I'm fine with having an extra 1.5 ounces in my recipes. The cost of each bag is $.49, about what I paid for canned diced tomatoes. When I need canned tomatoes, I plan to just pull out a bag and dice, crush, or use whole as needed.

You can also make marinara sauce first and then just throw that in to a container and freeze. It will also last for up to 1 year. According to Hood, you can also puree your tomatoes (she suggests doing this with overripe or damaged tomatoes) and freeze. Just cook the tomatoes with salt, pepper, sugar and some herbs for 10-15 minutes then strain. Freeze as is or cook some more for the sauce to thicken.

2 Thoughts From Others:

Chief Family Officer said...

Thank you, Camille!!!

angelawd said...

I actually freeze my tomatoes without peeling them - just wash them and fill up a freezer bag as they ripen.

Most of the time I use these tomatoes after putting them through a blender or food processor, so it doesn't matter if they have skins.

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