I love tomatoes fresh from the garden, but there are only so many tomatoes that one person can reasonably eat without turning into a tomato herself.
Trust me. I’m close to the point of no return, Violet-style (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, clearly).
And this year, I’ve been finding ways to make the most of the tomato bounty – which has been incredible since I planted way too many tomatoes for one family. So I’ve been freezing tomatoes for use throughout the winter.
I’ve tried canning in the past, but it’s hot and sweaty and takes lots of cupboard space. But since we have a deep freezer, freezing them seems like a better option for us. And it was WAY easier (in my opinion) than canning. And bonus – no real special equipment needed.
Here are my two favorite frozen tomato recipes that I have been putting to the test in my tiny little kitchen. Two great big thumbs up.
Frozen diced tomatoes
I don’t think I’ll ever can diced tomatoes again. Freezing is much easier to do in smaller batches and turns out great for diced tomatoes. It preserves them in their summer-red glory, and is perfect for all the soups and stews I make in the winter. So many casseroles, chilis and soups call for a can of diced tomatoes, so this is a perfect way to use your pickings.
- Start a large pot of boiling water.
- With each tomato, slice a little “x” on the bottom and drop in the boiling water for a few minutes, until the skin begins to peel away.
- Remove and dunk in a bowl of ice water to cool.
- Peel skin, dice and pack into a freezer bag.
- Allow to cool, label and freeze.
- I used the same pot of boiling water for many tomatoes, just using tongs to remove the tomatoes from the water and reloading with the next tomatoes.
- When dicing tomatoes, use a pan with sides (like a Pyrex 9×13 pan) to keep all the juices. I made sure to scoop up all the juices, too.
Roasted pasta sauce
Who needs a jar of store-bought sauce when you have homemade sauce in your freezer at all times? This makes me irrationally excited. The best part of this recipe is that you can throw in other “stuff” (veggies, peppers, etc.) to beef up the sauce and use up your stuff. And it’s basically fool-proof, believe me.
- Line a 9×13 pan with quartered tomatoes, one quartered onion, 3 garlic cloves (peeled), a bunch of fresh basil and a couple peppers (sliced and de-seeded). (You can also add carrots, celery or other veggies in your fridge or garden.)
- Drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cook at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes.
- Let cool for a few minutes and then add the entire pan to the food processor to blend and pulse. You can do it quickly for “chunky” sauce or blend longer for a smooth sauce.
- Add to a freezer bad, allow to cool, and label, before freezing.
- I prefer using Roma and cherry tomatoes for this recipe. They roast well and taste great, plus they seem to thicken the sauce a bit.
- For thicker sauce or pizza sauce, simply add a little tomato paste to taste.
I’ve been using freezer bags and freezing them flat to save space in the freezer. When I use them, I just defrost in a sink of water.