Did your garden explode with fresh tomatoes this summer? Wondering how to free tomatoes?
If you have tomatoes coming out of your eyeballs, freezing them is a great way to infuse bright summer flavors into winter meals.
Frozen tomatoes are great additions to stews, sauces, chili, or soup.
While they don’t retain their shape once thawed, they are just as bright and flavorful!
You’ll never need to buy a jar of canned tomatoes ever again.
Check out these tips below on what to do with all of those extra tomatoes to enjoy well into the winter.
Best Types of Tomatoes to Freeze
You can freeze any tomato, but some freeze better than others.
Plum or cherry tomatoes are one of the best candidates because they have a firm skin and a lot of pulp that freeze like a dream.
It’s also super important that you select tomatoes at their peak of ripeness and blemish-free.
Under-ripe tomatoes won’t yield the same rich aroma and flavor when tossed into a stew.
Always give your tomatoes a few more days on the vine, or further ripen on the countertop until they are ready for freezing.
You can test a tomato’s ripeness by the color or by pressing a finger into the skin.
If the tomato gives under the pressure of your finger, it’s ready to freeze.
It needs a few more days to ripen if it still feels firm.
How to Freeze Whole Tomatoes
Freezing tomatoes is super simple!
You can opt to cut your tomatoes into fourths (which helps save precious real estate in your freezer) or leave them whole.
Place tomatoes with their skin side down onto a baking sheet, and cover them in plastic wrap.
Freezing them on a baking sheet keeps tomatoes from sticking together when tossed into a freezer bag.
Once they’re frozen, throw them into your freezer bags.
Removing extra air from the bag is so important for fresh tomatoes.
If you have a vacuum sealer, use it!
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, place a straw on one side of the bag and do your best to suck out all the excess air you can.
Remove the straw, and then seal the bag.
How to Use Frozen Whole Tomatoes
You’ll be disappointed if you hope for fresh tomato sandwiches this winter.
Once thawed, the high moisture content of tomatoes makes them lose their shape and firm texture.
They’re limp and a bit mushy. The good news, however, is that they retain all of those beautiful flavors if frozen correctly!
Frozen tomatoes work best in recipes that require canned or stewed tomatoes. Throw them into chili, stew, or soup.
There’s no need to thaw frozen tomatoes used in a stew of chili.
Use frozen tomatoes in your dish and let the stew’s heat slowly release those bright summery flavors.
While they cook up the same as canned tomatoes, they are much more flavorful.
You can also grate frozen tomatoes in your chili soup for a thinner consistency.
Grated tomatoes yield a more delicate sauce without the big chunks of tomatoes.
Grated frozen tomatoes also work well in smooth marinara and pizza sauce.
How Long Do Frozen Tomatoes Last?
Labeling your tomatoes is essential because they won’t last forever in the freezer.
To prolong the life of your fresh tomatoes, remove all of the air from the bag.
Set your freezer to at least zero degrees Fahrenheit. Frozen tomatoes will last 6 to 9 months in your freezer when packaged correctly.
Freezer burn happens when tomatoes lose their moisture content.
The oxygen in the bag or jar causes those annoying water crystals to form.
You need to take the time to carefully remove as much oxygen as you can from the bag before sealing.
Otherwise, your frozen tomatoes won’t last as long in the freezer.
A vacuum sealer is your best friend if you want your tomatoes to stay fresh a little longer in the freezer.
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