When you have a great crop of tomatoes, be sure to freeze extras. Prepping fresh tomatoes for freezing is super easy! Don’t waste those juicy red morsels that have spent the summer growing in your garden. Freeze them to use in the coming winter months for delicious meals!
It’s tomato season! We sadly do not have a garden, but I have heard many people over the past few weeks express tomato concern. “What am I going to do with all of these tomatoes?!” As if a bumper crop is a bad thing!
A good friend unloaded some of her harvest on me (thanks, Monica!), and I was happy to receive them. We tomatoed burgers, salads and sandwiches. I still had a bunch left over so I decided to freeze them. This is a very easy task, and it will provide you with delicious and easy winter dinner options.
BEST TOMATOES FOR FREEZING
Any type of tomato is perfect for freezing! Roma, cherry, grape, San Marzano, beefsteak.. the sky is the limit! Each variety will offer a different amount of juice and sweetness and this will carry over into the sauce or other end product.
WHEN TOMATOES ARE READY FOR FREEZING
Wait until the tomatoes are ripe – they should be dark red and soft to the touch (but not squishy).
CAN I FREEZE TOMATOES STRAIGHT FROM THE GARDEN
It is possible to freeze tomatoes straight from the garden, but with mushy consequences. In order to have the best possible outcome, put just a little bit of time and effort in up front. (Read on for details!)
HOW TO PREPARE TOMATOES FOR FREEZING
Make sure to prepare some freezer space, because these delicious red fruits will be perfect for winter soups, stews and meals!
STEP 1 – PREPARE THE TOMATOES
Using a sharp knife, remove the stem/core from the tops of the ripe tomatoes in a cone shape. Using a sharp knife, score a line into each tomato just enough to break the skin, going from one side of the cored circle all the way down and up to the opposite side of the circle. This will make removing the skins a piece of cake (when we get to that point – don’t do it yet).
STEP 2 – FLASH PREP THE TOMATOES
Prepare a large saucepan of boiling water, as well as a large bowl filled with ice water.
In batches, add the tomatoes to the boiling water in 2-minute intervals.
Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and let sit for 1 minute.
STEP 3 – PEEL THE TOMATOES
Using the slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes from the ice water to a flat work surface. Remove the tomato skins, they will just slip off because you scored them ahead then discard. They will peel off the tomatoes like butter.
STEP 4 – PACKAGE FOR FREEZING
Place the tomatoes into large resealable freezer bags in a single layer and be sure to remove as much air out of the bag as possible. Seal the bag. Now they are ready to freeze! To help avoid freezer burn, double pack them into airtight containers.
HOW LONG TO FREEZE TOMATOES
The bags of frozen tomatoes can remain in your deep freeze for up to a year – just in time for next year’s harvest!
And just like that, you are more prepared for winter meals than most folks. When ready, use your frozen tomatoes for all kinds of incredible tomato sauce dishes including soups and stews! Be sure to take advantage of great recipes to use them in!
In the winter, we love to have Best EVER Spaghetti Sauce and Tomato Basil Soup. I recently found that I love using my Instant Pot to make a Homemade Tomato Sauce perfect for a comforting bowl of pasta or to dip bread sticks into!
RECIPES TO MAKE USING PASTA SAUCE
Aside from the obvious reason (the amazing FLAVOR!), my favorite thing about pasta sauce is that it is so versatile. Here are a few ideas for ways to enjoy it!
Pour it over the top of cooked noodles of any kind.
Check out my Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs
Use it as an ingredient to stuff spaghetti squash with!
Add it to your morning eggs because everything tastes great with eggs.
Top Eggs Baked in Roasted Tomato Sauce!
EASY COMFORT FOODS TO WARM YOU UP AND FILL YOU UP
Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole – Creamy vegetables and chicken baked into a buttery crispy crust that is comfort food perfection especially during the fall and winter months.
Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole – this dinner boasts flavor and creaminess over a bed of steaming egg noodles. This casserole is just like your mom’s recipe but so much more! This is a perfect hearty weeknight meal to put on the table.
Instant Pot White Turkey Chili – Packed with turkey meat, white beans and veggies, this comfort food is super flavorful and delicious.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole – This is a delicious combination of the tastiest flavors you will ever eat in a single bite. Bacon, chicken, creamy alfredo sauce and pasta all make dinner a hit in less than 30 minutes!