See Amanda's tomato peeling ideas-
If you have a vacuum sealer system, tomatoes are really great to freeze. They work with regular containers, too, if you have lots of juice. I add some salt to bring out the juices more.
Thanks! I don't have vacuum sealer- but have been considering one. Do you blanch and skin or leave the skins on?
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Maybe make some of Marcella Hazan's sauce and freeze that.
I have dumbed down the freezing operation. I used Roma tomatoes, so I don't know how this would work with much juicier round ones. Clean the tomatoes from the garden layer, cut them in half lengthwise, lay them flat in medium size zip style bags and freeze. They stack flat in the freezer and are ready to cook.
Another way to go is slow roasted, then frozen, which intensifies the flavor. Here's what I do: http://www.theperfectpantry.... Not only do you have something wonderful to work with later (or right away), your house will smell wonderful!
A vacuum sealer can be handy not just for tomatoes!
Thanks so much for the direction and ideas! Much appreciated! I'll figure out what I'm doing with them here shortly
I have frozen tomatoes whole, wrapped well. During the winter when I want that summery taste in a sauce or stew ,I take out what I need. Thawed, the skins peel off easily.
I have a friend with a farm and we have been picking tomatoes like crazy the last few weekends. I've been roasting them in the oven: Cut them up into a rough dice and spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides that has been sprayed with Pam or similar. Sprinkle with salt, ground pepper, and a little sugar. Bake at 350 for about an hour, you'll know they're done when most of the liquid is gone and the stuff at the edges start browning a little. When they're cooled, scrape them into a container and refrigerate. It's a great topping for pizza, added to sauces, the possibilities are endless. I have even lined muffin cups with plastic wrap and frozen several batches for baking later this fall. I'm also making a batch of ChefSuzanne's Red Pepper Jam since it requires tomatoes and I also have red peppers.
While a 'good' vacuum is great (I have a food saver) I've been using the ziplock vacuum bags for small items and cheeses.
It's very affordable. It has a little hand pump to place on the flat valve on the bag.
Cheap...4-5 bucks for the pump and a few starter bags. And bags in line with ziplock freezeer bag costs.
Just freeze the wet first...then ziplock and pump out the air after it's frozen solid. A touch of scotch tape over the valve can help keep the seal intact because here we're talking 5 bucks vs a couple hundred for a heat seal system.
You can put them whole unpeeled in ziplocks (my aunt does this.) press all the air out, seal up except for a small hole and suck the air out with a straw, press to finish the seal.
I do can tomatoes (quite labor intensive) but also make what I think of as the working person's tomato sauce and freeze quantities of it. You could also think of it as a tomato sauce "base," ready for any improvements you might think up when you use the sauce at the later date. Why "working person"? Because it's dead easy. I spread halved or quartered unpeeled tomatoes in a big roasting pan--any variety. They should be a single layer but crowded together. Toss on a head (or more) of unpeeled garlic, an onion (or not), handfuls of basil, some salt and pepper. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and put it in a low temperature oven--225 is nice. Then forget about it for hours. You can even turn the oven down another notch and leave it overnight. Let the tomatoes cook down until there is almost no more liquid in the pan. Then put the whole thing through a food mill. Lovely sauce, doesn't take up space in the freezer like frozen tomatoes, ready in an instant all winter--it's good on its own, on a pizza, etc.
I don't love frozen tomatoes. If you must freeze, make sauce or juice first then freeze that. Or, you can slow roast or dry in a low temp. oven then store them immersed in good olive oil.
Thanks so much everyone for the really helpful input! I ended up with more ripe than I had originally though- around 15lbs. So I ended up canning 5 qts, made a huge batch of gazpatcho with fennel, and still have a counter full of almost ripe's to enjoy for the week!
Really appreciate the feedback and suggestions! Thanks again!
Fill the sink with ice and water. Get a big pot of water boiling on the stove. Slice a shallow cross on the bottom of each RIPE tomato and put them into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Take them out and put them immediately into the ice water to cool. The skins will just slide off, Then slice them short ways and scoop out most of the seeds and goo and quarter. Once you have 6-8 cups, mix in a tablespoon of sugar, Then ladle into zip lock freezer bags. Squeeze out all the air and lay flat in the freezer. they are every bit a good as canned and SO much easier.
My mum open freezes them first and then packs them into freezer bags, the same as you would for fruit - cut the toms in half, spread them out on a baking sheet, and place in freezer till frozen, then put the frozen pieces in a bag, so you can shake out as many as you need. Sh does the same with oven dried ones too, but don't know how the are yet...
At the height of tomato season when I had eaten and given away many of them I chopped and froze them - about 8 qt. sized bags. I plan to throw a bag of them in spaghetti sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
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