In an especially good year, your tomato plants will produce more fruit than you could ever use fresh. Many gardeners choose to process their surplus tomatoes into sauce or paste, but it is actually easiest to freeze large quantities of tomatoes all at once. Using this option ensures that the quality of the tomatoes is always at its highest, the tomatoes retain most of their flavor once they have been thawed out, and they retain the right consistency when they are used in cooking.
The trick to freezing surplus tomatoes is timing and proper storage, which ensures that your tomatoes will be fit to eat later.
Check out these Tips for Freezing Surplus Tomatoes
Types of Surplus Tomatoes to Freeze
While it is possible that every type of tomato plant that you grow might end up producing a surplus of fruit, not every variety is suitable for freezing. Beefier types of tomatoes such as beefsteak and Roma tomatoes make the better freezer options because they have more flesh to them than small tomato varieties like cherry and grape tomatoes. Anything that is larger than a grape tomato is a good option.
Only Freeze the Best
While we might want to preserve our entire harvest for future use, it is best to only freeze the best of what you have. This means that ripe, but not overripe, fruits should be processed for freezing. Check to make sure that tomatoes do not have any bruising, soft spots or broken skin where the fruit might already be breaking down.
Removing Tomato Skin
By removing the tomato skin you keep the tomatoes from becoming chewy and creating rolled up remnants in anything you might cook them up in later. Prepare a large bowl with ice water for blanching and set a large pot to boil. Use a large spoon to drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for about thirty to sixty seconds, remove and then drop them into the ice water like you would pasta for blanching. With your fingers, very carefully pull the skin away from the fruit, and the entire skins will slide right off.
Process Skinned Tomatoes
The boiled and then iced tomatoes are easy to process quickly after this treatment. Excess water and seeds need to be removed and the remaining flesh needs to be quartered. Cut a slit into the side of the flesh and squeeze out as much of the seeds inside as possible. This does not have to be a clean deseeding, but reducing as much of this excess pulp creates the best freezed tomatoes. Quarter the remaining flesh until all the tomatoes have been processed.
Fill quart sized freezer safe bags with the cut up tomato quarters, leaving about half to one third of the bag empty. Make sure that you remove as much of the air as possible. Place your freezer bags into the freezer and keep them in there until you are ready to use. Surplus tomatoes can be kept in the freezer for up to a year, meaning that with enough of a harvest, you can continue to use your frozen supply until your fresh tomatoes come in.