Freezing Tomatoes For Future Recipes
There are two ways to freeze your latest batch of sweet tomatoes. Freezing whole, halves or quarter tomatoes and freezing a tomato base, soup or sauce. Either method will extend your enjoyment of great tomatoes.
Freezing any prepared tomato product such as a fresh tomato soup receipe or tomato sauce, is a pretty basic, plastic freezer container style freezing.
The only caution, don't fill your container to the top. Depending on the size of your container, leave a 1" - 2" gap at the top for expansion.
Freezing tomatoes are good for those unsure of which recipe they will ultimately be preparing.
The best way to freeze quarter or half tomatoes is my layman's version of vacuum bagging.
During my years of fishing this was the tried and true best way to preserve delicate fish fillets. I've tried vacumm machines, freezing fish filets in blocks of ice and plain old freezer bags. All had major issues when it came time to defrost and eat. The freezer taste, freezer burn and lack of original texture was not acceptable.
I used this method, while fishing, using a 5 gallon bucket. I found that it works great for the delicate taste and texture of tomatoes too. If you noticed, I left out whole tomatoes. Whole tomatoes tend to leave too many air pockets in the vacuum process and the product becomes susceptible to all the negative effects of freezing tomatoes.
Following are the steps for my low tech vacuum bagging.
Quarter or halve your tomatoes. I use the rule of anything over three inches round, I quarter, everything else is halved. You can core and cut them up skin and all for freezing. I prefer blanching
Blanching for peeling tomatoes
or roasting then cutting them up. I believe there's less chance for enzyme reactions
blanching and beyond
Let's get started. Two bags and only 1/3 - 1/2 gallon tomatoes you ask? The reason this method works so well is the double vacuuming and double fold over insulation. The double/double method can take longer to freeze tomatoes for the same reason. The good news! Once the tomatoes are frozen they are highly protected and when defrosted are in very good condition.
Take two bags. Mark one with today's date. Fill the unmarked bag with tomatoes a little less than half way.
Close the Zip lock from both ends leaving the center open. Submerge the tomatoes half of the bag underwater to get all the air out. Massage the tomatoes around gently to release any air pockets. Lower the top of the bag into the water, but only up to the yellow (or green) zip line. DO NOT LET WATER INTO THE TOP OF
THE BAG! After all the air is out, zip lock the final center section, for an air-tight seal.
If you are unsure of your ability to do the procedure properly, do a test run. Put dry paper towels bundled up into the Zip Lock and try the process. The bag should be sucked around the towels. When you take the towels out they should be dry. Practice makes perfect. It's better to perfect it before you place your tomatoes at risk. Once you have it down, start freezing tomatoes!
Fold the unused flap of the bag around the tomatoes and slide the bag inside of the second, dated bag. When placing the first vacuumed bag into the second, make sure the zip lock flap is facing outward towards the opening. This will allow the air to escape easier on the second vacuuming. repeat the air tight vacuuming process, fold over the top and you are ready to freeze the tomatoes.
The Date is important. If you repeat this process thru your harvest season, you may have several batches in your freezer. The date will insure that you don't have any old stock and enable you to rotate your inventory.