So, I’m standing outside watering my tomatoes, geraniums, peppers, my sandals, etc. when this sweet, but chatty neighbor wanders by. By chatty, I mean the kind that doesn’t even take a breath. I continue to water and nod with a “sure” and “um-hm” now and then. Suddenly I focused in to the conversation. What did she say about her tomatoes? She freezes them? Whole? Just chucks them into the freezer as is, right from the garden! It can’t be that simple, right?
But that’s what she is telling me. Don’t peel them, blanch them, cut them, cook them, just WHAM! right into the freezer. So, of course, I had to try this. I put about 6 of our fresh tomatoes into the freezer and forgot about them. Then, a few days ago I took some out. They clacked around like billiard balls or red, round rocks. I tried putting them into a pot, but it was like putting rocks in a pot. Hmmm. Tell you what, lets microwave them for a minute. There, that softened them up a bit. NOW lets put them into the pot.
I put the heat on low, put a lid on it and they just melted! After a while I reached in with tongs and pulled out the skins. I cooked them down a bit, added seasoning to the melted tomatoes and eventually poured it over pasta. It really was that simple! I put more tomatoes into the freezer and after they froze, put them in a zip-lock to prevent freezer burn, but only if they are going to be in there for a while. If it is only for a week or so, there seemed to be no need. For long-term, I would wonder at the flavor after being frozen this way and might consider more conventional methods. But for summer use, this fits the bill.
Wow, this was amazingly simple and useful. Not if you want tomato chunks of course, but for salsa and sauce, perfect!
(as a side note, another favorite thing to do with extra garden or farmers market tomatoes is to slice them, lay them on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake them low, about 250 oven, for maybe 2 hours. It gets rid of excess moisture. Then, when cooled, you lay a slice of fresh mozzarella, some shredded basil and a little olive oil or Italian dressing over the top. Appetizer anyone? Side dish? Or “oops, I ate them all, sorry”.)