Easy How To: Freezing Whole Tomatoes

Find Martino's Roma Tomatoes and other heirloom varieties at Lehmans.com.
Find Martino’s Roma Tomatoes and other heirloom varieties at Lehmans.com.

I love tomatoes. They’re an absolute garden staple. There’s practically no end to what you can do with tomatoes: sauces, juices, pastes, salsas, ketchup, diced tomatoes, stuffed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes… I think they’re probably the most versatile food on the planet.

The problem with growing them yourself, though, is that tomatoes don’t come in all at once. It would be wonderful if you could wake up one morning, walk out into the garden, and have all of your tomatoes ripe and ready to be processed all at once. But unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. Instead, they come in a little here and a little there, ripening at their leisure.

If you put in a ton of tomato plants, you might be able to pick enough at once to do a canning session. But if you’re like most small-time gardeners and only have a handful of plants, it would take several days to accumulate the amount of tomatoes you would need to make a decent-sized batch of sauce.

What can you do in the meantime with the ripe tomatoes sitting on your counter? How do you keep them from going bad until you have enough to process?

Easy-freezy: space-saving resuable containers are available at Lehmans.com.
Easy-freezy: space-saving resuable containers are available at Lehmans.com.

I’ll tell you what I do. I freeze them.

It’s the best thing ever. Especially when you’re busy and don’t have time to cook and can all of that produce right away.

And unlike other fruits and veggies that needs to be blanched or treated before freezing, tomatoes are SUPER easy to handle.

Step By Easy Step
Here’s what I do…

  1. Wash and dry tomatoes. Pick off the stem.
  2. If the tomatoes don’t have any bad spots, pop them right into a freezer container or freezer bag.
  3. If the tomatoes do have bad spots, cut the blemishes off. Then stick the tomatoes into a freezer container!

That’s it! Don’t you just love easy?

Hints and Tips
Some people like to core them before freezing, which is perfectly fine. I prefer to freeze them whole when possible, because it makes skinning them super easy. When I’m ready to make sauce or juice with my tomatoes, I dump them straight from the freezer into a sink full of hot water. After just a minute in the water, the skins will peel off of the tomatoes with practically no effort whatsoever. I can just tear the skins right off.

The tomato flesh will still be semi-frozen, making chopping them super easy and a lot less messy than juicy fresh tomatoes. I throw the chopped tomatoes into a big pot as I go, and by the time I’ve done a couple of gallons, they’ve thawed out enough that I can cook the tomatoes down into a delicious sauce.

Yep. Freezing tomatoes is definitely the way to go if you have a small garden or are at the very beginning or very end of your tomato harvest.

Tell Lehman’s: What’s your favorite way to use up delicious home grown tomatoes? Post your answer to Country Life. (You may have to register before posting.)

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