September 23, 2021

The easiest way to save summer tomatoes

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A step-by-step on how to freeze summer’s best tomatoes for use in recipes throughout the year.

If you like farm-stand tomatoes like I do, you can’t get enough of them in the summertime. For me, it’s consistently a rotation of marinara, salsa, salads, bruschetta and other creations on our family menu. But, knowing that when tomato season is over and all that will be left are the sad, flavorless winter tomatoes that are shipped from who knows where, this girl has a guide on how to save summer tomatoes to enjoy all year round.

Once you see how easy it is to freeze and save summer tomatoes for use later in soups, stews, casseroles, sauces you will surely want to preserve some for yourself. It’s amazing how much of a flavor boost your recipes will get with the simple addition of preserved tomatoes. And, the best news is that you don’t need to collect a bunch of supplies for canning, such as jars, lids or a pressure cooker. Most likely you already have everything you will need.

Steps for freezing tomatoes:

  1. Rinse the tomatoes to remove any dirt or grit.
  2. Blanch the tomatoes by dropping them into a pot of boiling water for about two minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them and transfer immediately into a bowl of ice water to cool.
  3. Once the tomatoes are cool, you should be able to easily peel the skin from the flesh and discard.
  4. Next, remove the cores.
  5. Slice, dice or crush the tomatoes (or they may be left whole). Work over a large pot or bowl to capture all of the juice. You can include that in your freezer bags or use for something else. Don’t discard it; it is too good.
  6. Transfer the tomatoes into freezer bags (or glass containers with airtight lids). 
  7. Seal the bags by pushing any extra air out.
  8. Label each bag with a date and the contents.
  9. Freeze for up to 12 months.

Using your tomatoes

Like other types of produce with high water content, defrosted tomatoes should be used in recipes where you want the flavor, but the consistency doesn’t matter. They are great for using in sauces, soups, salsas or stews.

Any of these My Southern Health featured recipes would work well with replacing the equivalent amount of canned tomatoes with your own frozen tomatoes. Take your recipes from good to great!

Tomato Bean Soup

Zucchini and Ricotta Rustica

Spring Vegetable Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Shredded Chicken, Zucchini and Corn Chowder

Vegetarian Chili

Easy Homemade Marinara