Monday, August 9, 2010
Since I seem to be on the subject of tomatoes lately...
Freezing is also a great way to preserve the overflowing tomato harvest for later in the year. Frozen tomatoes work well in soups, stews, casseroles, etc., and can also be made into soup or sauce. There are several ways to do it, depending on how much work you want to put in up front versus later.
1. Easiest up-front, more work later: Remove cores and freeze whole tomatoes in freezer bags. Later, you can take them out and run them under warm water, which will help the skins slip off. Thaw (in microwave or on counter) and cook (chop first if needed). This is a good option if you are overwhelmed now and think you might make sauce or tomato soup or that sort of thing later in the fall or winter.
2. More work now, easier later: Core the tomatoes, blanch in boiling water, then peel. Squeeze out seeds and excess liquid, then freeze in freezer bags (squeezing out excess air). To use later, just thaw, then chop and cook.
3. Even more work now, easiest later: Proceed as in option number 2, but add the step of chopping before packaging in freezer bags.
Particularly important for #2 and #3: package tomatoes in single-meal quantities. So, if you often add 2 cups of chopped tomatoes to a soup or chili, pack that amount in each bag. If you need more, you can thaw multiple bags, but it's very hard to use a partial bag.
You can thaw frozen tomatoes in the microwave or on the counter. For options #2 and #3, you can also place a frozen bag in a bowl of warm water for an hour or so.