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Tomatoes are a great food that can be used in many various ways. You can add tomatoes to soups, tacos, sauces, burgers, spaghetti, and other various dishes.
You can add some to your salads for a pop of color and flavor. Tomatoes are a great food that can be added to many different recipes. You can choose to chop, puree, or even eat them raw, but can you freeze them?
Maybe you have decided to plant a garden and try your hand at growing tomatoes? What do you do with the extras you pick at the end of the season?
You can give some away to friends and neighbors, but what do you do if you still have an overabundance of tomatoes?
Tomatoes can be stored in the freezer for around six months to a year before they will start to become freezer burned.
For most people that will give them plenty of time to use up their store of tomatoes (over the winter/spring) before next year’s tomatoes are ready to be picked.
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How Can You Freeze Tomatoes Properly?
With all these tomatoes that you have, it would be rough to freeze them only to find your tomatoes are freezer burnt or no longer usable. Here are a few tips to help you freeze your tomatoes properly for future use.
Tomatoes do not freeze well whole although you can do it.
To properly freeze tomatoes you will want to clean them, cook them, and then put them in airtight containers. You can freeze raw tomatoes but other precautions should be taken.
Below are a few tips to help with whole, raw, and cooked tomato freezing.
Freezing Raw Tomatoes
The first step with raw tomatoes will be to wash them. Once the tomatoes are dry, you can remove the stem but it isn’t necessary.
You can also remove the core and seeds before freezing to save time for future dinners.
Place the washed tomatoes onto a baking tray and try not to allow the tomatoes to touch one another. Place the tray in the freezer.
After a few hours, remove the tray from the freezer and fill individual bags with one portion of the tomatoes. Remove as much air from the bag as possible before placing it in the freezer.
This will help prevent any freezer burn.
Freezing Whole Tomatoes
You will first want to wash the tomatoes and remove the stems. Then using a knife, cut an X in the bottom of the tomatoes.
If you are freezing whole cherry tomatoes, you do not need to cut an X at the bottom.
Next, you will want to blanch the tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the tomatoes just long enough until the skin starts to curl where you cut the X. It will take about half a minute.
Remove the tomatoes from the pot and dip them in ice water. Place the tomatoes in a colander to remove any excess liquid. Once the tomatoes are cool to the touch, remove the skins. If you are dealing with cherry tomatoes, gently squeeze them to remove them from their skins.
Pack the tomatoes in a jar and be sure that they are fully covered with liquid and then add the lid.
Then finally put them in the freezer.
Freezing Stewed Tomatoes
Stewing your tomatoes can also help prevent freezer burn. There is less risk of freezer burn when you freeze stewed over whole/raw tomatoes.
You will want to start the process much the same with washing and removing the stems of the tomatoes. Cut an X in the bottom of the tomatoes and then blanch them.
Instead of an ice bath though, you will dice the tomatoes and place them in a pot. Bring the diced tomatoes to a boil, reduce heat, and cook the tomatoes uncovered until they are soft.
It takes about 10 minutes unless you have a larger batch. Fill your jars with the tomatoes after they have cooled.
Close the jar with your lid and freeze the stewed tomatoes.
Freezing Tomato Sauce
If you are a fan of pasta or pizza, you can plan ahead and freeze tomatoes that you have already turned into sauce.
The process begins the same with washing, removing the stems, and blanching. Instead of dicing or an ice bath, you will strain your tomatoes. Once your tomatoes have been strained and turned into sauce, you can fill your jars.
Once the jars are full, close them securely with the lids and place them in the freezer.
Do not eat previously frozen tomatoes raw. Once frozen tomatoes are thawed, they will be soft and mushy which is great for stews but not for salads or burgers.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Tomatoes?
Life gets busy and sometimes you forget to take something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner. This can make the dinner process much longer than it needs to be.
If you plan on using your frozen tomatoes, is there a way to defrost them quickly?
If you have frozen whole tomatoes, all you need to do is run them under warm water for a few minutes. If you have frozen diced or pureed tomatoes then you can add them to almost any recipe as is.
If you do prefer defrosting your tomatoes before cooking with them, you can place the container in the microwave and slowly defrost them that way.
Can You Refreeze Tomatoes?
When it comes to a tomato, it can be difficult to determine just how many you need for a recipe since they come in all different sizes. The best way is to dice and measure them out.
However, what if you have cut too many? You can freeze them. Now, what if you have taken them out of the freezer and defrosted the whole jar, can you put any unused tomatoes back in the freezer?
It is not recommended to refreeze tomatoes. Once the tomatoes have been frozen and thawed they will lose their texture and are mainly mushy. If you freeze the tomatoes a second time it would just be turning them even more mushy.
There is an exception to the refreezing of tomatoes. If you have defrosted the tomatoes and want to end up using them in a sauce, then it is fine. Since tomato sauce is liquid form, it doesn’t particularly matter the texture of the tomatoes you use; it only matters that they are not spoiled.
The next time you have an overabundance of tomatoes, be sure to freeze them. Make sure your containers are sealed tightly to avoid any freezer burn from ruining your frozen tomatoes.