In case you were wondering what 75 pounds of tomatoes looks like, it looks like three of these huge bags:
Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time with my knife and cutting board in the past few days, trying to get all the tomatoes frozen before they went bad. I’m freezing three different forms of tomatoes, and hopefully will have plenty of all three to last the winter!
Last month, I canned some tomato sauce, but quickly ditched that plan. It felt like such a waste to throw out the seeds and skins.
So instead I decided to freeze some tomato sauce. That way, I didn’t have to strain out the seeds and skins, and felt like I was wasting a lot less.
Simply puree the tomatoes, then simmer them in a large stockpot over low until the sauce is reduced by 1/3-1/2. If you’re working with more than 5 pounds of tomatoes, this may take a few hours. Once it has cooled, I puree it again and package it into airtight freezer containers.
The sauce I freeze is just tomatoes, nothing else. I can add seasonings, olive oil, etc when I defrost and cook with it. This will give me a lot more flexibility with how I use the sauce.
Just wash, core and dice the tomatoes and pack them into freezer bags. Squeeze out the air as you seal the bag to avoid freezer burn.
Get as much of the juice and seeds into the bags as you can. But if you’re using a round type of tomatoes like these, your cutting board is going to get messy. Be prepared. The mess is totally worth it.
This method wins the award for “makes the house smell great.”
Preheat the oven to 200F. Drizzle a cookie sheet with olive oil. Halve the tomatoes and place them cut-side down on top of the oil. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with your seasonings of choice. You could simply use salt and pepper, or you could add some dried oregano or rosemary. Personally, I chose to use Garlic Gold Italian Herb Nuggets.
Repeat until you run out of tomatoes, cookie sheets, or space in your oven.
Roast the tomatoes at 200F for 8-10 hours. At this point they will have partially collapsed but still hol their basic tomato shape.
Allow to cool before transferring to freezer bags, squeezing out the air as you seal the bags.
All of these methods are incredibly easy. And while both the sauce and the slow-roasted tomatoes require a lot of time, they both need to be left alone for quite awhile, so you can get other things done around the house while you wait.