Preserving Summer…One Tomato at a Time

Although I did not have a garden this year, I have been able to get my hands on a ton of tomatoes. For the most part, Brandon and I have been eating them on sandwiches, salads, and using them for recipes. This week, I ended up with quite a few tomatoes thanks to my mom and my aunt, Patty. There were far too many to eat or use up, and I didn’t want them to go to waste. Lacking the time and ambition to can salsa or tomato sauce right now, I decided to freeze the vine-ripened tomatoes in my effort to preserve the delicious summer flavor as long as possible.

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In order to freeze tomatoes, I prefer to blanch them and remove the skins first. To do this, you need an ice bath, a bowl for the tomatoes, a small strainer, a pot of boiling water, and freezer bags. A garbage bowl (inspired by Rachael Ray) comes in handy too.

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Place tomatoes of similar size into the boiling water. Do this in small batches. They will only need to be in the water for 30-60 seconds. The timing depends on the size, type of tomato, and thickness of skin. If you see any skins that start to split open, it’s time to pull them out of the water for sure.

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When you remove the tomatoes from the boiling water, place them directly into an ice bath. The ice bath prevents the tomatoes from cooking and helps the skins to peel off more easily.

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Remove the skins and place the peeled tomatoes into a bowl. Cut the core out of the larger tomatoes. You don’t need to core Roma or cherry tomatoes.

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When all of the tomatoes have been blanched, cooled, and peeled, crush them with your hands or a potato masher. When they are completely crushed, they can be measured out into freezer bags.

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After bagging up about half of the plain tomatoes, I added some pureed basil, garlic, and olive oil. After stirring this in, I continued to put the tomatoes into freezer bags.

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With the tomatoes I had, I was able to make 5 freezer bags with 2 cups of tomatoes in each. They will be ready for putting into chili, sauces, and other dishes over the winter. This is a great method to preserve tomatoes. Although I enjoy canning with my mom, this is a quick and easy method that requires a lot less fuss and mess.

Now I will be able to enjoy the taste of summer tomatoes all winter.

Jessica

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