When I have a good tomato year and end up with more fruit than family and friends can eat, I freeze the extras.

There are other ways to preserve tomatoes — drying, canning, etc. — but I choose freezing because of how fast and easy it is.

Freezing tomatoes

The process: put tomatoes in a plastic bag, put plastic bag in the freezer. Done.

Ready to go into the freezer.

Okay, sometimes there is one or two additional steps. I do pull stems off. And if the skin is cracked, then I cut out the cracked area.

Stem needs to come off. Skin is cracked.
Done. Ready.

Now that is it. I don’t blanch the tomatoes or remove skins or anything else.

Using frozen tomatoes

Freezing our tomatoes is not only fast and easy but it also suits the way my family uses them through the winter and spring. We use them primarily for making salsa and marinara sauce.

For either salsa or sauce, I take the tomatoes out of the freezer and warm them in a pot. As they thaw, the skins begin to slide off. I then remove them for marinara sauce but leave them on for salsa.

The texture of the frozen tomatoes is not like fresh tomatoes. When they thaw, they are mushy and can’t be sliced for sandwiches and hamburgers, for instance.

And the tomatoes can take up a lot of freezer space, but of course that only happens if the garden has been successful so who’s to complain?

Here’s what we’ve got taking up space in the freezer so far this year.

Frozen garden tomatoes vs. canned from store

Why try to grow extra tomatoes when you can buy cans of tomatoes in the off season? Canned tomatoes from the grocery store are inferior to frozen garden tomatoes. For one thing, the canned tomatoes taste odd since they contain ingredients beyond tomatoes, such as tomato juice, citric acid, salt, and calcium chloride.

Canned tomatoes from Costco. Or are they?

Here in October, I’m getting sick of tomatoes, frankly. I’ve been spoiled having them from the garden for months straight and I find myself inclined to eat other fruits and vegetables instead. But I know that those I throw into the freezer now will be a prized treat around March.

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