Q. I have a few tomatoes left over from what I picked from the garden, but not enough to make a sauce with. Usually I make a nice tomato sauce and then freeze the leftovers. I don’t feel like eating any more fresh tomatoes for a while since I’ve picked so many this summer, but I’m not sure what to do with them. I would hate for them to go bad. Can you freeze tomatoes whole?
A. Yes, you can freeze tomatoes whole, depending on how you plan to use them. Tomatoes that have been frozen whole will be soggy and mushy upon being thawed out, and will no longer be appropriate for eating raw or in salads. However, they can easily be used in recipes or sauces where they need to be cooked, and should retain most of their flavour during the freezing process. There are two ways to freeze whole tomatoes, one simpler than the other.
How to Freeze Whole Tomatoes?
The simplest method takes very little preparation. First, remove the stem from the tomato and check for blemishes. Firm, fresh tomatoes work best for freezing. Wash the tomato in plain water, and then dry completely. Tomatoes are susceptible to freezer burn, so it is recommended to wrap each tomato individually in plastic wrap before placing them in a large freezer bag. Squeeze the excess air out of the freezer bag and then seal. Label and date the bag, and use within 6 months for best results.
The most common method involves removing the skin from the tomatoes first. This makes it easier to use them once defrosted. To skin the tomatoes, fill a large pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. In the meantime, cut an X in the skin of the bottom of each tomato. Once the water is boiling, place the tomatoes in the water. Let boil for between 2-4 minutes. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and then plunge them into a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, pull the skin from the tomatoes, starting along the X to make the work simpler. Place skinned tomatoes into freezer bags and squeeze out the excess air. Seal, label and date the bags.
How to Thaw Frozen Tomatoes?
To thaw the tomatoes, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator until thawed completely. They can then be chopped to the appropriate size needed. Alternatively, they can be placed directly into the recipe in which they are needed.