Some posts on this site will be full of stories and information. Others, like this one, are meant to show you what I preserve, how I do it, and how I use it. They may repeat across multiple recipes throughout the winter. This one for sure will. I present to you: frozen tomatoes.
Tomatoes are one of those annoying things that I only like to can for salsa or jam or something specific and special. I've grown tired of the traditional tomato preserving method, which I'll outline below briefly:
- Score the tomatoes with a knife - making an "X" on the bottom.
- Dip for 30 seconds into boiling water.
- Toss into ice water for a minute or so - working in batches so the water stays cold.
- Slip the skins off the tomato and set aside if you want to use them for dehydrating or something.
- Remove seeds over a fine sieve or colander set inside a larger pan or bowl to reserve liquid.
- Can diced, pureed or whole with added lemon juice or other acid based on which recipe you're using. Can using a traditional water bath canning process.
See? That's too much for me when I'm busy canning salsas and compotes and pickled or blanching other things. I also really like not having to add lemon juice or acid. Instead, I slice the tomatoes in half length-wise, de-seed the same as in step 5 above, leaving the skins on. I freeze the tomatoes on a cookie sheet overnight, throw into freezer bags and open it up whenever I need 2-3 tomatoes. The texture softens but it would be pretty comparable to that of any canned tomato.
Throw frozen tomatoes in the oven to roast and use for pasta sauce, salsa or soups.
Puree for curries or to add to Mexican Rice or to slow cook with proteins or vegetables.
The reason for all this preserving? Tomatoes are incredibly affordable in the late summer months compared to fresh or canned in the fall/winter/spring. There's a level of investment here that should be noted, however. I usually spend about $160 on tomatoes for an entire year's supply, including what I use in other recipes. This does not include tomatoes I grow myself.
Remember you can buy "seconds" of tomatoes that might be cosmetically imperfect (ugly) or have a tiny bruise or spot on them that is easy to cut out. That spot will probably save you money in the long run and the flavor is the same if not better than your grocery store variety.