Q. I enjoy fried green tomatoes from time to time, but they’re hard to find at the store and I don’t have a garden. When I come across green tomatoes at the supermarket or at a farmer’s market I like to purchase a large bag of them. In addition to fried green tomatoes, I also make a green salsa with them, but don’t always use them all up in time. I would like to be able to keep them for later. I’ve never heard of anyone freezing tomatoes before. Can you freeze green tomatoes?
A. You can freeze green tomatoes, but they will thaw out with a much different consistency. Freezing tomatoes of any kind doesn’t affect the quality of the tomato, but the high water content affects the texture. When frozen, the water expands, swelling the cell walls. Upon thawing, the water contracts, and the previously firm tomatoes become soft and a bit soggy. The benefit to freezing green tomatoes is that they have a much lower water content than a ripe, red tomato, and so they stand up to freezing much better.
How to freeze green tomatoes?
The best way to freeze green tomatoes is to cut them into slices first. Most people enjoy green tomatoes fried anyway, so it eliminates most of the work once they’re thawed. If you want to make salsa with them, just dice them up instead of slicing them.
Wash and dry tomatoes, and then cut out the stem. Then slice the tomatoes in slices, or halve the tomatoes, remove the seeds and dice for salsa. To freeze tomato slices, place the tomatoes on a baking tray in the freezer until slices slightly harden. This helps stop them from clumping. Then, place a slice of parchment paper between each slice, making small stacks as you go. Wrap each stack in plastic wrap, then slide them into freezer bags. Remove excess air, then seal and label the bags.
To freeze diced green tomato, spread the cubes on a baking tray in the freezer in a single layer until the pieces harden. Then, slide the diced green tomatoes into freezer bags. Squeeze out the excess air, then label and seal the bags.
To thaw, remove the desired amount of green tomatoes from the freezer and thaw in the fridge. Slices can then be breaded and fried for fried green tomatoes, or diced tomatoes can be made into green tomato salsa.