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How to Freeze Home Grown Tomatoes

Hopefully, your tomatoes will be bigger than this one, which was my first ripe tomato of the season. Copyright 2010 Bill Yovino

Hopefully, your tomatoes will be bigger than this one, which was my first ripe tomato of the season. Copyright 2010 Bill Yovino

Life's simple pleasures are what sustain us. Take something as ubiquitous as the tomato for example. Supermarkets are of full of picture perfect specimens, all of which delight the eye but disappoint the palate. Many of these could be adequately supplanted in recipes by cardboard or Styrofoam. But plant this lowly fruit (yes it is technically a fruit) in a country garden or in a container on an urban fire escape, and something magical happens. This ripe, garden fresh, home grown orb of delight transcends its earthy bounds and delivers heavenly flavor to be enjoyed on its own or in recipes. The problem arises when all of the tomatoes reach their peak at the same time. Let's face it, even a bona fide tomato addict can't consume them quickly enough to prevent some from going to waste.

The Problem is Solved

When properly prepared, frozen tomatoes will bring a garden fresh taste to your winter recipes. This process is very simple and can be done whenever you have more ripe tomatoes than you can realistically eat before they start to go bad.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. With a sharp paring knife, cut an "X" into the bottom of each tomato - not very deep, just enough to get through the skin.
  3. Drop a few tomatoes at a time into the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in an ice bath. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes.
  4. The skin will begin to separate where you made the "X" and will be easy to peel. Use a paring knife to remove the skin from the tomatoes. Discard the skin.
  5. If the tomatoes have a lot of seeds and liquid, slice them in half and remove the seeds with a spoon or squeeze them by hand. Discard the liquid and seeds.
  6. Rough chop the tomatoes, portion them out into ziplock bags with a pinch of salt, and place them in the freezer. I usually put 2 cups (~500ml) into each bag, which is roughly equivalent to a large can of tomatoes.

Note: Canned tomatoes contain a lot of salt. When you use fresh tomatoes in your recipes, you will probably have to adjust the salt to taste at the end.

Tip: If you also have fresh basil, dip the leaves into the boiling water very briefly to kill any bacteria, then place the basil in the ice bath. Add one or two basil leaves into each bag of chopped tomatoes.

Instead of grabbing a can of tomatoes for your recipes in the winter, you can grab a bag of homegrown goodness right from your own freezer.

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Bill Yovino (author) on August 12, 2010:

Sure, no problem. Or you could freeze the juice and seeds separately for use in soup.

salt from australia on August 11, 2010:

thanks, I like the seeds and juice, cant include them? Otherwise fantastic idea and thanks.

chirls from Indiana (for now) on August 11, 2010:

Great idea! It beats having to do loads of canning, that's for sure. :)

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