A couple years ago, I came across a method online of people freezing their tomatoes right out of the garden. It was a brilliant idea in my mind! Sometimes you’re just too busy with life to deal with them at the moment. Sometimes it’s in that period during every gardeners season that you’re overwhelmed by that beautiful oasis you’ve nurtured for months and can’t fathom breaking out the canning supplies before the tomatoes go bad. Other times it might be that you aren’t bringing in enough at one time to make the massive batch of salsa that your recipe calls for. At some point in the year, I’m dealing with at least one of these issues – so we started freezing them as well. I’ve never loved blanching tomatoes, so when I found that the skins come off of the thawed tomatoes just as easy, or even easier sometimes than the usual blanching method and I wasn’t needing to burn my fingers in the process, I was sold!
How to freeze your tomatoes
Wash and core your tomatoes, cut an X in the bottom of them and toss them in gallon freezer bags and place them in your deep freeze till you’re ready for that big canning day. Like most other fruits and veggies you put in the freezer, they don’t come out with the same texture and firmness that a fresh tomato has straight out of the garden, and if you’re wanting to bottle whole tomatoes I would still recommend you do those fresh instead of using this freezing method. When you freeze tomatoes, the capillaries will burst in the freezing process and they become a little mushy. This texture is perfect if you’re planning to create things such as salsa, stewed tomatoes, or tomato juice.
1-2 days prior to your planning canning day depending on how warm it is where they will be resting, take all your bags of tomatoes out of the freezer and place them in a sink, bathtub, or plastic storage container and let them thaw. Inevitably somehow, some of the freezer bags will have gotten holes in them and you don’t want that tomato water leaking anywhere it shouldn’t be. When your canning day comes, take the bags one by one to the sink and start taking the skins off of your tomatoes and experience the peeling magic! You will be left with plenty of tomato water in the bags as you peel, and you can choose to retain that juice to use in your recipe if you’re making something that requires more liquid. For our own salsa and stewed tomatoes, this has cut down our boiling time to thicken those types of things by about half!
Here’s a video of how I peel my
thawed (well, mostly thawed) tomatoes!