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Information and discussion about canning and dehydrating tomatoes and other garden vegetables and fruits. DISCLAIMER: SOME RECIPES MAY NOT COMPLY WITH CURRENT FOOD SAFETY GUIDELINES - FOLLOW AT YOUR OWN RISK

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Old February 1, 2006   #1
Althea
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Default Freezing Tomatoes

I like the Drying and Canning Tomatoes forums. Does anyone (else) freeze tomatoes? I froze all of ours last summer. I think they are o.k., but Altheo doesn't like them at all. He wants to can tomatoes next year.

Does anyone have tips on freezing tomatoes, or is it just not done?
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Old February 1, 2006   #2
nctomatoman
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Freezing tomatoes is a wonderful way to capture the fresh tomato flavor quickly, though they are suitable for only certain uses. You also need a good amount of freezer space! My technique was simple - pick perfectly ripe tomatoes with no bad spots (preferably no severe cracks) - wash, dry, and put them in freezer bags in a single layer (or freeze them on a cookie sheet in a single layer then bag them in zip lock freezer bags).

For use, just run them under warm water, the skin slips off, cut out the core - and drop them into soups and stews. The flavor is great for up to a year - the texture goes south, so they really can't be used fresh.

We also can (into quarts) and use them all year in soups also. Canning is much more work than freezing for similar use - if I had a large freezer, I would likely freeze instead of can!
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Old February 1, 2006   #3
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I purchased a Foodsaver vacuum sealer when my son came home with 100# of fresh tuna last year. It is excellent for freezing just about anything. For tomatoes, it is recommended to freeze the product first (so the liquid isn't sucked up into the machine), then vacuum seal in bags or glass jars. It will eliminate freezer burn and stay *like fresh* for much longer.

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Old February 1, 2006   #4
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I'm really going to give this freezing maters a try this season ~ I'm yearning for soups and sauce this winter !!! lol ~ Tom
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Old February 1, 2006   #5
Althea
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Thanks for the tips. I quartered them before freezing which was likely the prime cause of excess freezer burn. I don't know if I want to invest in a vacuum sealer -- yet, maybe this summers crop will convince me (always the optimist). There was a little room left in the freezer for other things. ;~)

My mom always had a big garden and canning tomatoes was a summer ritual, one I'd like to leave in the past. Yes, it's a hot, hot, hot job in August. I also have a fear of botulism.

My favorite way to eat them is to let them thaw, then mix them with fresh pasta. Having been frozen, this mix is more watery than fresh.
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Old February 1, 2006   #6
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Default Thanks for the Tip

That's really interesting. Just freeze them whole. Most of winter we are eating soups, stews, curries, casseroles, that kind of thing. So frozen would be great. And now that I have shifted the dory out of the shed we have room and were only talking about getting a decent second fridge/freezer. Ta, Grub
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Old February 1, 2006   #7
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I've frozen tomatoes whole for over a year and they still taste good in casseroles/chili. And this year, I can eliminate the freezer burn. :wink:
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Old February 2, 2006   #8
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I tried some last year and they were ok for spagetti sauce etc, but the variety I used were inferior hybrid things. This year I have frozed 7 kilos so far of much better types, so I am hoping for better taste.
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Old February 14, 2006   #9
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Instead of canning as many quarts of tomatoes as I have in years gone by, I have started freezing sauce. A friend from MN sent me a super easy recipe. Basically he roasted 20-30 # toms in a roaster with 5 # onions and 3 # celery and some basil. He didn't peel the tomatoes and slow cooked everything in the oven for 4 hours and then froze in bags. I tried a small oven batch last fall and will do more this year.

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Old February 21, 2006   #10
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I cored and quartered the tomatoes I froze. I did not worry about the skin...as many said the skin would slip off upon thawing...which they did!

The frozen tomatoes have been a staple in the soups, stews and pasta dishes I've made this past winter. Every time my wife comments on the wonderful flavor of dishes due to the tomatoes...I have an opening with her to discuss expanding the garden!
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Old March 8, 2006   #11
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I was planning on freezing whole tomatoes until I read in my Sunset Home Canning book the following:

"Freeze raw whole unpeeled tomatoes in rigid freezer containers for no longer than 2 to 3 weeks to use for cooking or seasoning."

2 or 3 weeks ????? that is just not long enough for me

also read this from Univ. Mo. extension:
"Tomatoes
Select firm, ripe tomatoes with deep red color. Frozen tomatoes will have a mushy texture when thawed and are suitable only for cooking, i.e. in soups, stews, spaghetti sauces, etc. In addition, tomatoes that are frozen raw become watery and develop an off-flavor after a short period in the freezer. Tomatoes that are too ripe for safe canning, but still sound and free from decay, can safely be frozen. "

it says they develop an off-flavor??? and use right away????

Not sure who to believe--most sites don't give a time limit. I saw one that said 8 months.

Corona Barb's idea of Food saver seems like a good one--surely they would be OK for longer periods if you vacuum-pak them. What do you think????????
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Old March 9, 2006   #12
valereee
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MCP, I've never heard that about tomatoes developing an off taste in the freezer after just a few weeks. Maybe if you didn't wrap them tightly they'd pick up flavors from other foods?

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Old March 9, 2006   #13
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You know, I had tomatoes that I just stuck in freezer ziploc bags and threw in the freezer because I had so darn many. They were still good a year later (and longer).
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Old March 9, 2006   #14
MsCowpea
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Barb and Val, I don't understand how they came up with these short periods of time--I know other people have also said they keep them a long time in the freezer.

At any rate, I am now the proud owner of a Foodsaver -- I throw away a great deal of food --thought this might help. Got it yesterday so I will also use it on whole/half tomatoes too.
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Old March 9, 2006   #15
coronabarb
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farkee,

Be sure to freeze the tomatoes individually first, as the liquid will get sucked up into the machine if you vacuum them fresh.

Also, there is a very helpful foodsavers group at yahoogroups with lots of good ideas and tips on how to use the machine. A company representative even is a member to help with difficulties. I would recommend checking it out. It has been extremely helpful to me.

FoodSaver@yahoogroups.com
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