From the moment we plant the very first tomato seeds (when it is still snowing), we look forward to harvesting the ripe tomatoes, biting in, and savoring the taste … Yummy!
Sometimes there are more tomatoes than we can eat or have time to preserve. Not to worry! The easiest way ever to preserve tomatoes is by freezing them whole. Here is how to freeze tomatoes and use frozen tomatoes.
We grow many tomatoes, so we can enjoy them right from the vine, in salads, and meals. We also preserve tomatoes in yummy recipes to enjoy all winter long.
Tomato varieties to freeze
To my knowledge, all tomatoes can be frozen. Many growers throw tomatoes as they ripen into the freezer to have enough to start the canner.
We usually don’t do that. I prefer canning little by little as they ripen, through to the one thing a day principle. However, it is a great option if that is what you like to do. The frozen tomatoes will be a bit more watery but still great for canning.
We freeze tomatoes to use in recipes all through the winter. There is no reason to can them. In fact, I find the frozen tomatoes taste fresher in a soup or sauce than canned. And even if they do taste the same to you, it is a lot less work.
When freezing for use in a recipe, I find that it does matter what variety you freeze.
My favorite tomato variety is bulls heart. They are very meaty and have hardly any seeds. So when we freeze them, they still have a lot to offer in a recipe. In the picture above I added a cup for size comparison. The yellow tomato in the picture is Old German, even though it is the same size, it is not as firm. It can be frozen anyway, and I do, but it will not be as good as bulls heart.
Choose tomatoes with thick flesh and few seeds.
I also hear that cherry tomatoes freeze well for roasting later. I personally have not done that. If we haven’t eaten them all right from the wine, I like pickled cherry tomatoes.
How to freeze tomatoes
Give the ripe tomatoes a quick rinse and place them into a freezer bag or container. Now they are ready to go into the deep freezer. Not sure why, but whole tomatoes do not have to be blanched, they keep great without. I keep the tomato intact and whole. If the stem is stubborn, I just leave it on and remove it later before use.
Freezing whole tomatoes is the easiest method to preserve tomatoes.
And as we mentioned above, you can also freeze tomatoes just the same way for canning. It takes a lot of tomatoes to fill a canner. Gathering them in the freezer till you have enough is an option.
How to use frozen tomatoes
Take as many tomatoes as you plan to use right away for the recipe out of the freezer bag or container.
Do not let them thaw first or it will be a mushy mess!
Rinse each tomato with warm running water, the skin will come right off. Now let them thaw a bit so it is easier to core cored and cut as desired.
Frozen tomatoes will be more watery than fresh tomatoes, and they are not suited for fresh eating but are great for soups and tomato sauces.
Here we are using frozen vegetables and tomatoes for a summer vegetable curry in the winter.
And here we are making a lentil soup, the frozen tomatoes really add color.
Frozen tomatoes will maintain their beautiful color but not the texture.
A fresh tomato soup or sauce in the middle of winter is just so delicious!