We can eat tomatoes all year round. But the tomatoes sold in the supermarket cannot be as safe and nutritious as the number you grow in your garden. An easy way to preserve the freshness of this summer is to freeze tomatoes at home. You can use it anytime you want without worrying about the tomatoes getting damaged. So, how do you freeze fresh tomatoes?
Health benefits of fresh tomatoes
Tomatoes contain high level of potassium which helps lower the high blood pressure in our body, so it can prevent us from getting cardiovascular diseases. Tomatoes can help our heart function better with folate, Vitamin B, E and other essential nutrients. Moreover, red tomatoes are rich in lycopene and beta carotene which can reduce the risk of cancer as well as heart disease.
However, tomatoes carry alkaloid, also called solanine. Recent research figured out that if you consume too many tomatoes, it may result in swelling and pain in the joints because of the solanine contained in tomatoes.
Guide to choose fresh tomatoes
To buy delicious fresh tomatoes, you must first look at the outside. The fruits should be selected without dark areas, not crushed and the skin is not wrinkled.
Choose tomatoes of similar size, round shape, glossy skin, not bruised or scratched. On the contrary, the tomatoes that have a crooked shape or scratched surface and thick skin to the touch, usually contain little water and the taste is not good.
Then use your hands to press to see if they are still succulent or not. In addition, you should buy pink tomatoes because they have a dense intestine, few seeds, and many vitamins and minerals.
If look closely, you can see the flecks in the flesh of the fruit through the tomato skin. If the fruit is ripe, pull the stem lightly with your hand, the stem will still stick to the fruit.
Avoid buying chemically pressed tomatoes. They are not berry red, not fragrant and not hard. When processed, these tomatoes will not ripen quickly and the color will not be good.
How to freeze fresh tomatoes
To freeze tomatoes properly, you need ripe and firm tomatoes. You must not freeze green tomatoes since they don’t hold their shape, they become mushy after thawing, and their bitter taste can spoil any delicious food.
To prepare for freezing process, tomatoes should be rinsed under running cool water and dried. Tomatoes that are still wet on the outside will cause them to stick together or deform in the freezer.
Choose your preferred method of freezing fresh tomatoes: cut into slices, small pieces or freeze in their original shape, whole.
You can freeze tomatoes whole with blanching or without blanching.
Freezing tomatoes whole without blanching
You absolutely can skip the blanching step before freezing tomatoes. Here are the steps.
- Rinse and core the tomatoes.
- Place washed and dried tomatoes on a large tray or special cutting board, spaced a few millimeters apart. It is important that the tomatoes are completely dry and do not touch each other.
- Flash freeze tomatoes by putting them in the freezer for about 3-4 hours.
- Transfer them to a bag to store in the freezer. Freeze until you want to use it.
These tomatoes can be kept for up to 1 year.
These frozen tomatoes can be used in different dishes. You can remove, defrost, peel and slice as desired.
Freezing tomatoes whole with blanching
- Blanch the tomatoes by dipping tomatoes in boiling water for 30 -60 seconds to loosen the skins. Then quickly put them in a bowl of ice water. You can easily remove the skin from the flesh.
- Core and peel them. You can freeze them whole, but you can core the tomatoes to save storage space for other frozen goods.
- Transfer the tomatoes into freezer safe containers, leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Seal and label the date: Make sure you squeeze all the air out of the container when sealing. This will prevent freezer burn during freezing process. You should put your tomatoes on flat surface to have better shapes after freezing. Label the date, so you know when to use them.
Frozen tomatoes will stay safe in freezer and retain flavor for 12 to 18 months.
After a long time if freezer, tomatoes will not be solid when thawed and you should use them in cooking.
Further reading: What Are the Best Cheap Freezers for Home?
Freezing chopped tomatoes
Let’s start freezing.
- Choose fleshy, thick-skinned ones, cut into chunks of 8-10 mm in thickness depending on the size you want to keep the tomatoes tastier.
- Then, place the cut tomatoes on a plate or flat cutting board and put them in the freezer.
- After 4-5 hours when the tomatoes are frozen, you can put them in a ziplock bag and then in the refrigerator.
These tomatoes can be preserved from 6 months to 1 year.
To use the, you can grate frozen tomatoes for instant pasta sauce, or you can thaw them completely, chopped, and added to many dishes like soups, stews, or sauces.
Tips for freezing fresh tomatoes
- Make sure you choose good quality tomatoes: ripe, firm, free from bruising or scratching.
- Thoroughly wash and completely dry your tomatoes. With store bought ones, you can use a mixture of water and vinegar for washing to remove any harmful chemical.
- You should remove the stem and core before freezing.
- To ensure the best quality during freezing and prevent freezer burn, you should use freezer-safe container like a freezer bag. Also, remember to push all the air out of the bag while sealing.
You may also like: Best Containers for Freezing Food
Things you should know when eating tomatoes
Do not eat green tomatoes
You should not add green tomatoes to your daily diet menu. Because it not only does not contain healthy vitamins and nutrients, but it can also carry a very large amount of dangerous alkaloids, which can cause you to get food poisoning.
Don’t eat tomatoes when hungry
Tomatoes have a sour taste because they contain pectins that easily react with acids in the lining of the intestines and stomach. Eating tomatoes on an empty stomach can interfere with your digestive system, making you more prone to stomach upset.
Do not eat processed tomatoes many times
Tomatoes that are processed repeatedly too many times will lose essential nutrients. It can even give you food poisoning.
Do not eat tomato seeds
Nutritionists have recommended that tomato seeds interfere with your digestive system, they don’t even break down in the stomach.
Wrongly cook tomatoes
Tomatoes when cooked at high temperatures will not only not lose their nutritional value, but it will also increase the content of lycopene and healthy antioxidants in tomatoes.
Cook tomatoes with a little olive oil to release lycopene
When you cook tomatoes with a little extra virgin olive oil, you’ll be able to release lycopene, making it easier and more efficient for your body to absorb this nutrient.
You may also like: How Long Does Tomato Paste Last in the Fridge?
How to defrost frozen tomatoes
To defrost frozen tomatoes, you can put them in refrigerator overnight or place them for half an hour at room temperature, then cut and add to the dish.
Do not defrost chopped tomatoes before adding to the dish, you can add them directly.
Now, you can easily prepare many dishes with tomatoes such as:
- Tomatoes stuffed in the oven
- Soup with fresh tomatoes
- Vegetable stew
- Stewed meat
- Spaghetti with tomato sauce
A quick recap
Before the advent of freezers, tomatoes were salted, pureed, juiced, made into ketchup, rolled into sterile jars and stored in a cellar. Now it’s much easier as you can freeze fresh tomatoes for later use. This freezing method has many advantages: taste and vitamins are preserved, and storage is convenient. Moreover, it takes less effort and time.
You can freeze fresh tomatoes in slices, small pieces and even whole.
When freezing tomatoes whole, you can blanch them or skip the blanching steps. However, if you blanch tomatoes before freezing, they will last longer in freezers.
1. Freezing Tomatoes: 365 Days of Delicious, www.hgtv.com, Retrieved on Jan. 22, 2022
2. Three ways to freeze fresh raw tomatoes, extension.umn.edu, Retrieved on Jan. 21, 2022