Monday, August 31, 2009

Freezing Tomatoes

I am still afraid of pressure canning, though we do cook an awful lot with a pressure cooker. It is a marvelous invention to cut bean cooking time to about 15 minutes, but I am still wary of the sterility and proper seal issues of home canning. So, I am still in the freezing stage of preserving food for the winter.

Yesterday, I put up 4 pounds of tomatoes in the freezer. From these, I have 32 ounces of tomato juice in the fridge that we will have to use somehow. I am considering freezing some of this as well. I love to add tomato elements to many winter dishes, and tomato juice would take me a stretch closer to a good vegetable broth when needed.

I consulted two online articles to make sure I knew what I was doing. You can find them HERE and HERE. I like Pick Your Own . org. I just found it when looking for preserving tutorials, and it has a wealth of information and a ton of links.

Here is what the articles fail to mention. It is M E S S Y to prepare tomatoes for freezing. It takes a lot of stuff (relatively), and there will be tomato juice and seeds dotting all the counters and countertop items. Your hands will look like prunes and they will feel very dry. The inside of your stainless steel cookware will look like you left it sitting outside for a year.

I used 4 stainless steel bowls. One for holding the blanched tomatoes. One for holding the colander with peeled, processed, cut tomatoes. Both of these worked double duty and caught plenty of juice. One for holding raw tomatoes. One for holding the blanched tomatoes when the other one had become full. I used one stock pot, 2 slotted spoons, 2 knives, 1 32 oz. jar to hold the juice, 3 freezer bags, and my seal-a-meal from 1900 that does not vaccuum seal (it just heat seals). I had to suck the air out of the bags with a straw before I sealed them.

All in all, though, it was a worthwhile endeavor. I have frozen food to show for it, and I am doing my part to attempt a "slow year". Or at least a slow 1/2 year. Our goal is to put away enough food that we do not have to purchase any at the grocery store all winter. Unless we choose to purchase fresh dairy items. If I had milking goats, even that wouldn't be necessary!

Wish me luck. Tomorrow I will be putting up 25 ears of corn for the freezer.
Have a happy week!



ClayItAgain / 12MidnightOils said...

I froze things my first year; then when I learned how easy canning was, I started pickling and canning myself.

Deb G said...

You can freeze tomatoes whole. Just pop them in the freezer and then pull them out when you want to use one. If you place a frozen tomato in hot water the skin comes right off and it's easy to dice. Aren't you glad that the season isn't over? :)

I don't do too many tomatoes in the freezer. I'm pretty comfortable with canning them (I do add lemon juice).

I also love to dehydrate tomatoes and have also been dehydrating tomato sauce like a fruit leather. I use it as a substitute for tomato paste.

I love tomatoes...

Sinclair said...

@Deb G: I read that they could be frozen whole, but had not tried it that way. I think I might try some and see how it goes. It would certainly be less messy. We are also dehydrating some. Thanks for the tips!

SLColman said...

I put up 100 ears of corn in the freezer this summer... So yummy and not hard at all :)