Preserving {freezing} Tomatoes for the Winter

We had hundreds of tomatoes come off our plants this year.  So with the ones we didn’t eat right away, I did one of two things.  I either 1) fermented them for sauces and put them up in cold storage, or 2) I blanched and froze them.  

Here is how I blanched them.  It is SO easy.  Before I knew about fermenting, this is how JTom and I always put up our tomatoes.

You will need:

  • Clean tomatoes with a small X cut into the skin
  • a pot of boiling water
  • a large slotted spoon
  • a large bowl for an ice bath
  • a bowl for skins
  • a bowl for skinned tomatoes (or you can put directly into the freezer bags if you have some help)
  • freezer bags
Here are my clean tomatoes and my pot of boiling water:

Here’s what you do (I set up an assembly line):

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil
2. While it is coming up, cut small Xes in tomato skins (this allows the hot water to get under the skin and it will literally pop right off)

3. Place some of the tomatoes into the boiling water for 45 seconds.  This is called blanching.  If you are doing rather small tomatoes, I would only do 30 seconds.  45 seconds was perfect for me.

4. Remove tomatoes from boiling water and place directly into ice bath.  This stops the blanching process.

5.  Using your hands, peel the tomato skins off (they should just slide right off).
Discard the skins in a bowl (I was using a pot) and place the tomatoes in freezer bags.  I did about 5 bowls full, so instead of placing them directly into freezer bags, I just put them all in a bowl so I could go back to blanching.  Then I bagged them all up when I was completely done blanching.

Make sense?  =/

**Here is also where you can add seasonings- for chilli, spaghetti, salsa, etc., directly into the freezer bag.  Just be sure to label your bags!  You can also dice the tomatoes, cut in half, before freezing.  I just left mine whole, because I just use a spoon and cut them in half while I am cooking … and I didn’t want to make a bigger mess at the time.

6. Place bags in freezer!

How easy is that?  I did this while the kids ate breakfast and we talked about of character trait for this week (love) and recited memory work.  It took me all of 10 minutes?

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