Tomatoes are in season from June through September. Look for fresh garden tomatoes at farmers markets or pick-your-own farms, or grow your own. When selecting tomatoes for freezing, look for ones that are firm and richly colored. They should be free from blemishes, heavy for their size, and have a fragrant aroma. Tomatoes that are perfectly ripe will give just slightly to palm pressure.
Most varieties of tomatoes can be frozen. However, plum (roma) tomatoes contain the most pulp and will produce the best results.
If you don't plan to freeze the tomatoes immediately, store them at room temperature. Avoid storing fresh tomatoes in the refrigerator, which can make them lose flavor and become mealy.
Tip: Plan on 1 quart of frozen tomatoes per 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes.
Blanching is a heat-and-cool process. It stops or slows natural enzymes in the tomatoes that could cause loss of flavor and color. It also makes easy work of peeling the tomatoes. Here's how to do it:
When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, use a knife or your fingers to peel the skin off the tomatoes.
Prepare and Freeze the Tomatoes
If you're running out of room in your freezer, don't panic! You can still save your garden-fresh summer tomatoes for later in the year. Follow the steps above for boiling and peeling tomatoes, then use these tips to can them:
When it's time to break out your frozen tomatoes and start cooking, try these savory soups and sauces to bring a little summer freshness to a hearty weeknight meal. These recipes are especially tasty in the wintertime when you can curl up with a steaming bowl of preserved summertime tomatoes!