Number 9 on the list of “40 Ways to Save Money on Groceries” should have included freezing food before it goes bad. It probably should have been on the list of “25+ Ways to Keep Food From Spoiling”, too. Regardless, if you have tomatoes that are about to go bad on you, the best way to keep them from spoiling is to freeze them. It’s very easy to freeze tomatoes!
We love tomatoes! There’s nothing like a good, fresh tomato sandwich (or as we call them, “mater sammiches”). Unfortunately, sometimes we just have more tomatoes at one time than we can eat. Instead of letting them go bad, we often freeze them. My favorite method of freezing is super easy, requires very little time, and is foolproof.
The first thing you want to do is fill a large pot with water (actually, the size of the pot is determined by the size and amount of tomatoes you have to put up). Put it on the stove on high and bring the water to a boil.
Next, put the whole tomatoes in the boiling water and let them boil for about a minute. Take them out of the boiling water and immediately immerse them in a bowl of ice water. (We were running low on ice, but I assure you, that water was cold!) Some of the skins split in the boiling water, some split in the ice bath, and some didn’t split at all. It’s alright if they don’t split, just cut a little slit in the skin. The skin will now slip right off the tomatoes with ease.
At this point, I cut the stem end out of the tomato. I probably should have done it before putting them in the boiling water – it wouldn’t have been as messy. Anyway, you can actually put the tomatoes into bags and freeze them as they are, but I take it a step further. I cut the tomatoes into chunks and put them back into the pot to stew for about 5-6 minutes.
Right now is when you can actually add some flavor if you want. I haven’t in the past, but it’s something I thought about while doing this batch. What will you use the tomatoes for? Chili? Throw in some hot sauce. Marinara sauce? Add some basil. Not sure what you’ll use them for? Just leave them alone. You can always pump up the flavor when you actually cook with them.
After they’re done stewing, allow them to cool for a bit, then scoop or pour them into a freezer bag. I didn’t want to make a huge mess, so I put my freezer bag into a large cup, folded the seal down, and scooped the tomatoes into the bag-lined cup. From there, it’s easy to pull the seal back up, slide the bag out of the cup, and seal the bag. Be sure you squeeze out all of the air to keep the tomatoes from getting freezer burn. If you have a vacuum sealer, use that for sure.
Make sure you mark on the bag what is inside and the date you froze it. Be sure that if you added anything extra (like hot sauce, basil or whatever) that you mark that information on the bag, too. Like a dummy, I forgot to write on the bag before filling it, so I had to do it afterward, but it got done.
Lay the bag flat in the freezer until it freezes solid, then you can actually stand it up if you want. I’ve actually seen people that have baskets in their freezer to store things upright like that. I guess it would make it easier to access something standing up than to have to dig it out of the bottom of a stack of random frozen food.
When you’re ready to use the tomatoes, you can put them into the fridge the night before to thaw a little, or you can thaw them in a bowl of hot water just before you need them. I, personally, tend to just put them right into whatever I’m cooking.
Another tip is that you could scoop the tomatoes into ice trays in case you don’t need a full bag worth of tomatoes. After they’ve frozen solid, pop them out and put them into a freezer bag if you want.