The tomatoes are starting to roll in. It’s always exciting at first, those first tomatoes. Grown by spring rain and summer heat. Quickly though, full on tomato panic starts to sets in. Where do you put them all? How can you prevent buying some in December when there are so so many right now? Canning is nice, but not always practical (especially when you are having a baby right at canning time. I clearly didn’t plan this very well).
Freezing is one of my favourite ways of preserving some of August’s glut of tomatoes to enjoy cooked throughout the winter.
Start by washing your fruit and then slice a simple x through the skin on the bottom of each tomato. This will keep them from splitting and make them easy to peel when cooking in a few months.
Next I lay them flat in a pan or tray and slide them into the freezer. A cookie sheet works perfectly as does a pyrex or enamel pan.
When they’re frozen it’s time to bag them up. They should stay separate so you can use exactly as many as you want. We keep giant resealable bags in the freezer and throw a few in when cooking tomato soups or sauces.
If you want to peel your tomatoes, either after they’ve been frozen or before, here’s how we do it.
Boil a pot of water on the stove and plunge your “x”ed tomatoes into the water for up to a minute. Remember we’re blanching tomatoes not cooking them.
Then quickly plunge the tomatoes into cold water. You can scoop them out with a spoon but I like using a steamer basket and plunging the whole thing.
Next you simply slide them out of their skins. Easy Peasy! (unlike those pesky peaches last year). As Well Preserved points out, if you’re going to peel more than one pot worth you will want to wear gloves. The acidity of the tomatoes will really wreak havoc on your skin.
You’ll be left with a perfect pile of peeled tomatoes. You can either peel from frozen or peel then freeze, what ever you prefer. You can also peel your tomatoes this way and then can them. Freezing is simply the easiest way to preserve tomatoes for the winter when you can’t solar oven, sun dry, dehydrate, or can.