Preserve Tomatoes, With or without skins, In a flash!
Newsflash: preserving fresh garden tomatoes is waaay easier than you think! Our garden is in full swing and producing lots of Beefsteak, Roma and grape tomatoes. We have tomatoes coming out our ears! No sweat though – preserving tomatoes doesn’t require a day-long, expensive canning process like it used to.
One thing I try to do to preserve our fresh organic goodness is freeze them, both whole and diced. On a recent Google search, I found that the first two search results pages made freezing tomatoes sound like a LOT of work. With just one or two exceptions, they all recommended you first blanch, peel, then either roast, saute or boil the tomatoes before freezing. Say wha?
Just, no. Here’s the super simple way to do it without double cooking all the rich nutrients (and taste) out of these garden fruits.
Freezing with skins
Freezing fresh tomatoes is the very easiest way to preserve them – and is completely safe. In fact, it can be as easy as:
- Washing and drying the tomatoes
- Placing them in a freezer safe bag and
- Freezing them. Skins and all.
- When you’re ready to use them, just run them under warm water to make skin removal easy, then dice or core and pop them into your soup, stew or chili.
How simple is that?! I do this year after year, and can attest to how great these taste in recipes.
freezing diced tomatoes
I use a lot of recipes that call for diced tomatoes, so I freeze a lot of this, too. This recipe is a bit more involved, but still EASY. In fact, if you don’t mind skins in your diced tomatoes, you can even skip steps 2-3 and go straight to step 4:
- Wash tomatoes
- Place in boiling water for 1 minute. The cook time is so short because we’re not trying to cook or even blanch them – we’re just trying to peel the skins off easily.
- Place tomatoes in a bowl of ice water, long enough to cool. Then, slip the skins right off of the tomato.
- On a deep welled cutting board, chop the tomatoes to desired size. Save the juice – we’ll use that later!
- Measure approximately 1 1/4 C. diced tomatoes (the approximate equivalent of a 14.5 oz. can). It’s okay to include the juice that transfers with the tomatoes!
- Pour the measured portions into a freezer safe bags – don’t seal them yet, we’re not done!
- Pour a little of the remaining juice into each bag – I pour approximately 1/4-1/2 C. per bag.
- Finally, seal the bags, removing excess air, and lay flat on a cookie tray to freeze. This makes them easier to store once they are frozen.
The whole process is super quick. In fact, I prepared seven bags from start to finish in less than 30 minutes! Now, you can just pull them out when a recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes. I use these for soups, stews, chilis, and our favorite homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowl knockoff recipe.
If you’re planning to preserve your garden goodies year after year, I can’t recommend the FoodSaver enough. It keeps foods airtight and they last much longer without any freezer taste. The only change to the processes outlined above is that I first freeze the food item, then transfer it to a FoodSaver bag so the air can be vacuumed out while the liquids are frozen.
We use our FoodSaver to preserve garden beans, tomatoes, corn and more!
What is your favorite way to use garden tomatoes? I’d love to hear your favorite recipes in the comments below!