Q. I planted a few cherry tomato plants this year not realising just how many tomatoes I would get from each plant. I now have a surplus of juicy cherry tomatoes that I can’t eat fast enough! I’ve used them in everything from salads to pastas and pizza toppings, and have even given some away, but I just can’t use up all these cherry tomatoes. I’ve run out of ideas! I would like to keep some tomatoes to use throughout the year, but I’m not sure what the best method would be to preserve them. Can you freeze cherry tomatoes?
A. Yes, you can freeze cherry tomatoes, depending on what you’re going to use them for. Tomatoes contain a high water content, which expands and contracts upon freezing and thawing. What this means for tomatoes is that their skins are stretched and lose some of their firmness, resulting in a soggy texture after being thawed. That causes problems if you want to slice tomatoes or pop them into salads whole, but it’s not an issue if they are going to be used in cooked dishes or chopped to use in fresh or cooked sauces.
Cherry tomatoes are probably the easiest type of tomato to freeze because of their size. Unlike other tomatoes, they don’t need to be cored or blanched, and they can be frozen with their skins intact. Freezing will not diminish their flavour or freshness, so it’s safe to use them in all manner of dishes.
How to Freeze Cherry Tomatoes?
To freeze cherry tomatoes, choose only ripe, unblemished tomatoes. Pull them from the vine, then was and dry them carefully. Lay cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are hard to the touch. This prevents them from being squished and sticking together during the freezing process. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and place cherry tomatoes into freezer bags. Distribute so that the bags can be stacked. Remove the excess air, and seal the bag. Label and date. Tomatoes can be kept in the freezer for up to a year, but may begin to lose flavour after about 6 months.
How to Thaw frozen Cherry Tomatoes?
To thaw frozen cherry tomatoes, remove the bag from the freezer and place it on the counter or in the fridge to thaw. Cherry tomatoes can then be tossed with pasta, chopped into a salsa, or used in other recipes that call for cherry tomatoes.