Tips for Freezing Your Tomato Harvest | Living the Country Life

Tips for Freezing Your Tomato Harvest

When it comes to preserving tomatoes, freezing is, hands down, the easiest way.
Freezing is a quick way to preserve your bumper crop for pasta, chili, stews next winter.
It's a matter of preference—some like to crush their tomatoes before freezing.
Certain containers can go directly from the freezer to the microwave.
Canning jars also work for the freezer.
Remember to leave space at the top of the container.

No time to can your tomatoes? Freeze them! Start with these tips (below), allowing 2½ to 3½ pounds unblemished tomatoes per quart. 

CRUSHED TOMATOES: Wash and peel tomatoes. Cut into quarters; add enough to a large pan to cover bottom in a single layer. Crush with a wooden spoon. Heat and stir until boiling. Slowly add any remaining tomato pieces, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes. Set pan of tomatoes in ice water to cool. TO FREEZE: Fill containers, leaving a 1-inch headspace. If desired, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt for pints or ½ to 1 teaspoon salt for quarts. Cover; freeze up to 6 months.

WHOLE OR HALVED, WITH NO ADDED LIQUID: Wash and peel tomatoes; halve, if desired. TO FREEZE: Fill freezer containers, leaving a 1-inch headspace. If desired, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt for pints or ½ to 1 teaspoon salt for quarts. Cover; freeze up to 6 months. (NOTE: Use frozen thawed tomatoes for cooking only. Freezing changes the texture.)

WHOLE OR HALVED, PACKED IN WATER:  Wash and peel tomatoes; halve, if desired. Heat all of the tomatoes in a saucepan with just enough water to cover; simmer for 5 minutes. Set pan of tomatoes in cold water to cool. TO FREEZE: Fill containers, leaving a 1-inch headspace. If desired, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt for pints or ½ to 1 teaspoon salt for quarts. Cover; freeze up to 6 months.


Freezer Tomato Sauce

prep 40 minutes cook 1 hour

freeze up to 6 months

6 lb. roma tomatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil

1½ cups chopped onions

½ cup chopped celery

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. sugar

1 to 2 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 fresh red cayenne chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped or 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)

2 Tbsp. snipped fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried

oregano, crushed

1 to 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh thyme or 1 to 2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed

1. In a large kettle or pot bring 4 inches of water to boiling. Immerse tomatoes, a few at a time, in boiling water 1 minute. Drain in a colander; peel, seed, and chop tomatoes. Measure 10 cups chopped tomatoes.

2. In the same kettle heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Add chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt, black pepper, and if desired, cayenne pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in oregano and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes more. Cool slightly.

3. In a food processor pulse sauce, one-fourth at a time, to desired texture. (Or press tomato mixture through a food mill.) Transfer sauce to a bowl. Place bowl of sauce in a sink filled with ice water; stir sauce to cool. Ladle sauce into pint freezer containers. Seal and label; freeze up to 6 months.

4. To thaw one portion, remove sauce from freezer container and place in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. (Or in a 1-qt. casserole microwave 12 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally.) Serve hot sauce over pasta.

Makes 3 to 4 pints.

per 3⁄4 cup 97 cal., 3 g fat, 0 mg chol., 206 mg

sodium, 17 g carb., 0 g fiber, 3 g pro.

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