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Freezing Tomatoes


ollie
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I'm looking for a simple method to freeze about 2 dozen tomatoes. Since I don't know what I want to do with them yet I'd like to preserve them in as natural a form as possible but I'm told it's not as easy as bunging them in the freezer.

I apologize if this has already been covered but I searched and came up blank.

Thank you!

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Yes, it is as easy as tossing them in the freezer, provided that they don't have any nicks in the skin and you haven't cored them. I have done this for years, on the advice of my grandmother. I do put them in a bag (usually paper) so that they aren't rolling around the freezer.

When I want to use them, I just run them under water to remove the skin, put them in whatever I'm going to make, and when they have thawed, it's pretty easy to mush them up and fish the core out with tongs.

Keep in mind that a tomato, once frozen, will never have the texture of a fresh one; it's more like the texture of a canned one.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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On my trip to West Virginia, I was being hosted by a friends grandma. She froze tomatoes daily.

At each meal, she served sliced tomatoes. These were from her yard... They were "Mortgage ....?" variety.. and very good.

Grandma Hayes freezes these slices in ziploc bags and keeps adding to the bag till it is full.

In fall and winter when tomatoes are not as fresh in the market, she uses her frozen ones. She says they work perfectly.

I am going to freeze some this next week.

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On my trip to West Virginia, I was being hosted by a friends grandma.  She froze tomatoes daily.

At each meal, she served sliced tomatoes.  These were from her yard... They were "Mortgage ....?" variety.. and very good.

Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifters (I may have transposed some of the words?). The story about them is that during the depression, a mechanic named Charlie paid off the mortgage on his garage by growing these very big pink heirloom tomatoes. I think he lived in West Virginia (although I may be wrong about that too).

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On my trip to West Virginia, I was being hosted by a friends grandma.  She froze tomatoes daily.

At each meal, she served sliced tomatoes.  These were from her yard... They were "Mortgage ....?" variety.. and very good.

Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifters (I may have transposed some of the words?). The story about them is that during the depression, a mechanic named Charlie paid off the mortgage on his garage by growing these very big pink heirloom tomatoes. I think he lived in West Virginia (although I may be wrong about that too).

Mortgage Lifters is the name. Thanks Toby! :smile:

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  • 11 months later...

I just discovered this forum and it seems to have a wealth of info. I searched but couldn't find anything on this topic, so...

I have several tomato plants and at this time of year am overwhelmed with tomatoes (a good problem to have). To preserve the extras, I usually oven roast them (cut into halves or quarters, sprinkle with a bit of salt, thyme, and olive oil, and roast on a sheet for about 3 hours at 370 or so). When they cool off, I pack into bags and freeze.

However, this year when the glut hit, my oven was on the fritz with parts on order. I read (somewhere?) that I could just cut the tomatoes up, and freeze without cooking first. Takes up more space in the freezer, but really easy. However, after I froze several pounds worth, I later read another article in the paper (Oregonian Foodday) noting off flavors with tomatoes stored this way.

Has anyone had experience with freezing raw tomatoes? And if the experience is bad, what do you recommend I do with the tomatoes I already froze (it's only been a couple of weeks). For example, would it be better to leave them as is, or thaw now and cook down and refreeze?

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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I haven't had any trouble with off flavors. What I do usually is score the tomato skins and blanch for 10-20 seconds and plunge into an ice-bath so I can remove the skin. Then toss in a ziploc-type bag and freeze.

However, what I find works more to my liking is blanch, peel, run through a food mill, and add 2 teaspoons salt per quart then water bath for 5 minutes.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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You're not going to thaw them for sandwiches, right? But for cooking? I can't imagine that the texture would suffer in that instance.

Mmmmm, what kind of tomatoes are you growing? Our best this year are (once again) Black Krim, Sungold cherries, Green Zebra and Early Girls.

I think the Black Krim is the perfect tomato.

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I freeze very flavoful romas without blanching ;they hold up perfectly throughout the year. It's great to just grab one tomato for some slow cooking and not have to open a can.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I planted eight different tomatoes this year. When all had ripe fruit, I picked and labeled one from each and had a tomato tasting, which is great fun. It's very interesting how much difference there is between varieties when you taste them side by side. Of the ones I planted, here is our concensus ranking (from most appealing flavor to least).

1. Moskovich -- The sweetest tomato with a balance of tartness. Not a big producer in my garden, but even my sister-in-law, who hates tomatoes, liked this one.

2. Early Girl -- More tart than the Moskovich. Produces early and often.

3. Siletz -- Subtler but balanced flavor. This was my earliest producer, but slacked off until just the last couple of weeks.

4. Legend -- The most recent Oregon State tomato. Flavor is good, but the skin is so thin that the most of them split in this year's hot weather. Probably won't plant again.

5. Early Cascade -- Early, abundant, reliable. These are forgiving tomatoes that can stay on the vine longer without suffering damage.

6. Super Fantastic -- Good texture, but not as flavorful as others.

7. Moreton Hybrid -- Big, but sort of bland.

8. Fantastic -- Also produces large tomatoes, but bland and not as plentiful.

Of course, bland is a relative term. All of these tasted better than a supermarket tomato. These were grown in the Portland, OR area, so YMMV.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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An easy way to freeze the tomatoes is to just wash them, put them in freezer bags and then freeze.

This allows you to pull out one tomato at a time if they are seperated when the freeze. You do not have to blanch them to remove the skin, the skin will easily peel away when the tomato defrosts.

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Thanks for the info. I'll just leave mine in the freezer and see how they work this winter. I'll have three kinds to try, roasted and peeled, frozen raw, and peeled and heated through.

tanabutler -- I'm not familiar with black krim. What kind of tomato is it? Is it a good slicer? Early or late? If you think it's the perfect tomato, it's something I should consider for next year.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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What kenk said. When my kids were 1 and 4, I had about a half acre in garden. July of that year, I got a full time job and ended up with bushels of tomatoes and no time. I just tossed them into the freezer in plastic bags. It was so easy to grab the number of tomatoes I needed, thaw them a little, slip the skins off, chop and cook.

The texture, of course, is different than raw tomatoes, but for cooked dishes, they are great.

sparrowgrass
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Edit: remove gratuitous stupidity.

Edited by jsolomon (log)

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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The romas get so hard and heavy they could easily be used as a murder weapon. For those of you who know the works of Roald Dahl, especially the "Lamb to the Slaughter," it will make you laugh. Do you remember the murder story about a woman who whacks her husband with a frozen leg of lamb? Well, I don't want to spoil the plot, but it is a great introduction to Dahl's work.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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