If frozen berries and fruits are no longer a rarity in home bins, then before the question of how to freeze tomatoes and whether it is worth doing, many, even experienced housewives, stop. Although the highest quality final product can be obtained using modern blast freezers, the owners of conventional freezers should not give up. Subject to certain conditions, fresh tomatoes can be frozen in almost any freezer.
Is it possible to freeze tomatoes for the winter
It is believed that freezing tomatoes for the winter does not make much sense, since vegetables contain too much liquid, which, after defrosting, will turn the original product into porridge.
But, firstly, in addition to fresh vegetable salads, tomatoes are used in the preparation of hundreds of hot dishes. And for such dishes, the consistency of the tomato is not decisive, while the aroma of summer and the tomato taste will be provided in due measure.
If we compare the benefits that defrosted tomatoes will bring to the body, in comparison with any tomatoes from the store in the winter, then here, too, the scales will undoubtedly tilt towards the side of defrosted fruits. Especially if they were grown on their own site.
Finally, frozen tomatoes can bring significant savings to the family budget and save energy (no need to run to the store once again in winter).
And in order for freezing tomatoes to bring real satisfaction, you just need to understand its basic principles and follow the simple tips described later in the article.
Methods for freezing tomatoes
In principle, any variety of tomatoes can be suitable for freezing. It is only important that they are already ripe, since unripe brownish fruits can bring with them some bitterness.
Attention! Overripe or soft or overly juicy tomatoes are fine for freezing, but only in the form of juice or puree.
And strong and dense tomatoes can be frozen:
- as a whole (with or without peel);
- cut into circles;
- cut into wedges or pieces;
- with the addition of a variety of vegetables - peppers, zucchini, eggplants;
- in a wide variety of containers - bags, cups, containers, silicone molds.
Preparing tomatoes for freezing
The most important thing when preparing tomatoes for freezing is to thoroughly rinse and then dry the fruits. After all, it will be impossible to wash frozen tomatoes, and excess moisture on them during freezing is also not needed at all. Excessive moisture on tomatoes will turn into ice, which can glue the fruit and, when thawed, will worsen their taste and texture.
It is best to dry tomatoes on a paper or cloth towel, laying them in one row. The better they dry, the easier and faster the freezing process will be.
If tomatoes are cut into pieces before freezing, then to maintain their shape, excess juice is also allowed to drain if possible.
Important! In no case should tomatoes be salted before freezing, as this leads to the release of juice from the fruits.
Tanks for freezing and storing tomatoes must easily withstand low temperatures. These can be either plastic or silicone molds or containers. For good preservation, they also need to be fairly hermetically sealed to protect the tomatoes from additional odors and prevent excess moisture from evaporating during storage.
Thawed tomatoes cannot be re-frozen - this will completely ruin their taste and smell. Therefore, all storage containers must be selected to use their contents in one go. For ease of identification of products, it is better to sign all packages and containers, indicating the name of the product and the date of freezing.
How to freeze fresh tomatoes for the winter
The procedure for freezing tomatoes differs somewhat depending on the purpose for which the ready-made vegetables will be used later.
How to freeze whole tomatoes
In general, only small and medium-sized tomatoes with dense pulp are frozen. A variety of cream is ideal for this purpose.
This is the easiest recipe for freezing tomatoes for the winter, especially if you don't peel them off. It is enough just to rinse the fruits and dry them well. Then they are poured in small portions into bags. Zip-fastened bags work well for this. But ordinary breakfast bags will work too. The maximum amount of air is released from them and the bags are tied or fastened, after which they are placed in the freezer.
Similarly, you can freeze tomato halves for stuffing.
- Whole tomatoes are cut into halves, the pulp is removed from them, slightly dried, waiting for the juice to drain.
- The halves are laid out on a tray or baking sheet and placed in the freezer for several hours to solidify.
- The frozen halves are put into bags, tied and laid for long-term storage.
How to freeze mashed tomatoes in molds
Harvest from your own garden is rarely in perfect condition. All tomatoes damaged for various reasons can be thoroughly washed, cut off all damaged areas with a margin and freeze further in the form of puree or juice.
How to freeze minced tomatoes
This recipe for freezing tomatoes will help to dispose of fruits with which there is no longer much time to mess around, but it is a pity to throw it away.
- Prepared tomatoes are twisted through a meat grinder.
- To the resulting tomato puree, you can also add chopped bell peppers and various greens - dill, parsley, cilantro, basil. This workpiece does not require any additional heat treatment.
- Next, you just need to prepare (rinse and dry) suitable containers. It is best if they are small in size so that the contents of one container can later be thawed and used immediately.
- Chopped tomato puree is laid out in containers, leaving about a centimeter of free space on top. During the freezing process, the tomato mass may rise slightly.
- Close containers with tight lids and freeze immediately for storage.
In the same way, you can prepare freshly squeezed tomato juice, pour it into plastic bottles without topping it up, and then freeze it.
How to freeze tomatoes for borscht
If you do not have enough suitable containers with a lid for freezing and storing mashed tomatoes, then you can use the following recipe, which will show you how to easily and beautifully freeze tomatoes for the winter.
- Mashed tomatoes, with or without additives, are carefully distributed over silicone ice molds, which now come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes: in the form of cubes, and in the form of hearts, and in the form of flowers.
- The molds are placed in the freezer for 5-6 hours.
- After that, the frozen curly products are taken out of the frozen tomato and laid out in bags.
- The bags are freed from air, tied and placed in the freezer for storage.
- To prepare borscht or other first courses, you just need to take out the required number of tomato cubes or figurines from the bag and use it for culinary purposes without defrosting.
How to freeze pizza tomatoes
You can freeze pizza tomatoes in a similar way.
- The washed and dried tomatoes are cut with a sharp knife into circles with a thickness of at least 8 mm.
Attention! For these purposes, the fruits must be strong with a dense, not very juicy pulp.
- Then the circles are laid out in one layer on a baking sheet or cutting board, which are pre-lined with parchment paper or cling film. This is done so that after freezing the circles can be easily separated from the surface.
- If there are a lot of tomatoes, and there is enough space in the freezer, then you can lay out the tomato circles in two, or even three layers. Only each layer must be covered with parchment or foil to avoid the tomatoes sticking to each other.
- The trays are placed in the freezer for several hours.
- After they are completely frozen, the circles are taken out of the freezer, transferred to small bags for storage and put back into the freezer for storage for the winter.
Freezing tomatoes for the winter in slices
Tomatoes cut into pieces of different sizes are frozen in the same way. If the tomatoes turned out to be too juicy when slicing, then it is better to let them lie down a little before laying them out for freezing so that the excess juice stacks. It is even possible to freeze them in separate small containers such as muffin tins and the like.
How to freeze cherry tomatoes
It is very beneficial to freeze cherry tomatoes for the winter. They retain their shape and taste in the best way, and due to their small size they do not take up much space in the refrigerator.
This process, in principle, is no different from freezing whole tomatoes. Often, only they are additionally peeled off - in this case, their use is more universal. This procedure is described in detail in the next chapter.
How can you freeze peeled tomatoes for the winter?
Peeling tomatoes is not as difficult as it might seem. In order for the peel to begin to separate from the fruit itself and it would only remain to help it slightly, you must first expose the tomatoes to high temperatures for 20-30 seconds. This can be done either by dipping the fruit in boiling water, or by placing it in the microwave, or by heating it over a burner flame on a fork.
It is advisable to cool the tomatoes in ice water immediately after this procedure.
After that, removing the skin from the tomato is no longer difficult.
The peeled fruits are placed on a flat dish covered with foil, and the top is also covered with foil. Placed in a freezer for solidification, and then laid out in small bags. If possible, the bags are tightly tied and stored in the freezer.
Freezing green tomatoes
If everything is unexpectedly good and easy with freezing ripe tomatoes in the freezer, then any housewife is tempted to attach unripe brown and even green tomatoes in the same way. Indeed, in the early autumn season before frosts, there are often so many of them left in the beds. But don't do it. It is better to find another use for green tomatoes - pickling or boiling jam.
Thawed green tomatoes have a distinct bitter taste that is difficult to do anything about. In addition, apart from porridge after defrosting, it is difficult to expect anything else from them.
How to properly defrost tomatoes
Actually, only whole tomatoes are subject to defrosting, those that are planned to be used for stuffing and frozen in the form of mashed potatoes or juice, if it is planned to make tomato sauce from them.
To preserve the shape of whole fruits as much as possible, place them on the lower shelf of the refrigerator for 12 hours.
Important! Thawing tomatoes should take place in a non-metallic container, away from heat and light sources.
If whole tomatoes are supposed to be cut in any way, then it is better to let them first thaw for 15-20 minutes at room temperature, and then cut in any convenient way.
Tomatoes frozen in slices, slices and in other ways are not thawed at all, but are used in the manufacture of dishes in their original form.
What can be made from frozen tomatoes
Whole tomatoes are used to prepare a variety of first and second courses, as well as hot snacks and salads. The mugs are very good for pizza, hot sandwiches, focaccios.
Cubes, figurines or slices will fit perfectly into casseroles, stews, omelettes, or gravies, vegetable caviar.
Tomato puree or juice can be used to make stir-fries for soups, sauces, and ketchup.
Shelf life of frozen tomatoes
Frozen tomatoes can be stored in the freezer for about 12 months, that is, until the next harvest. But you cannot re-freeze them.
If you still did not know how to freeze tomatoes for the winter, now you should definitely try to put one of the described methods into practice. Indeed, in winter, the fragrant spirit of fresh tomatoes will definitely appeal to you and your loved ones.
Despite the fact that canning tomatoes in such an unusual way is not yet particularly common among housewives, reviews of frozen tomatoes can be found predominantly positive.
Zinovenko Valentina Petrovna, 52 years old, Krasnodar
I have been freezing tomatoes for the winter for several years in a row, and they help me out a lot in many situations. They can be used for almost all dishes that require tomatoes. Only in salads they are not very tasty.
Vorontsova Alena Vladimirovna, 34 years old, Nizhny Novgorod
I have been freezing fresh tomatoes for the second year in a row and I am very happy. It turns out especially nice when I fill various silicone molds with tomato puree. Then they can be used anywhere, and mixed with other frozen vegetables, and added to scrambled eggs, and even they go to the filling for pies.