Garden fresh tomatoes are a cornerstone of summer harvests, and sometimes the windfall of tomatoes is much more than we can keep up with–or maybe it’s just me! Both consistent harvesting from the garden and vigilant organic pest control are taking up a lot of time, leaving time for little else. There’s an easy way to deal with this wonderful problem, and that’s freezing tomatoes for later canning jobs.
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If your summer days are like mine, you will need to figure out a way to pace yourself when dealing with your tomato crop. Of course, we want to be eating them fresh in salads, made into a beautiful vegetable frittata like this one, grilled and made into fresh salsa, made into fresh marinara sauce, and even made into lovely fresh tomato soup, but there’s really only so many tomatoes you can eat if you have an abundance coming from the garden!
Balancing all that needs to be done between garden and kitchen can be a little tricky, believe me, I know! Not to mention if you live in a hot summer climate like I do, it’s almost excruciatingly painful to try to get any canning done. Preserving tomatoes this way can buy you some time between harvesting and canning!
A Simple Solution for the Busy Homesteader
So what’s a homesteading girl to do when there’s so much work, so little time, and so much heat? A great solution to your summer days is freezing tomatoes in your deep freeze until you can get to them later in the year. For me, that’s usually fall, when it’s starting to cool off a bit.
The beauty of freezing bags of frozen tomatoes in your extra freezer space is that you can come back to them any time you’d like. Having said that, if you plan to wait longer than about 3 months, you need a better option. Try something better than your regular freezer bags, like Foodsaver bags. This will ensure that you get all the air out of the bag of tomatoes, which will help avoid freezer burn.
The Shortcuts to Freezing Tomatoes
This method of freezing tomatoes is going to free you up to keep on harvesting, work on your organic pest control, or just sit in the air conditioning, sipping on a lovely glass of homemade strawberry lemonade. (Don’t know how to make strawberry lemonade? 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, and some of this delicious homemade strawberry syrup added to taste. Yummy!) Here’s how to do it:
- Wash your tomatoes in a sink full of water. No need to scrub, just swish them around in the water to rinse any dust off the skin.
- Remove the stem with a stem corer, or just cut off the stem end of the tomato with a knife.
- Put your tomatoes into a freezer safe zipper bag in a single layer and mark with the date. Alternatively, you can freeze these in open vacuum sealer bags, and once they freeze, you can vacuum the air out. This will prevent frost damage and buy you some time between now and canning time.
- When you’re ready to get them canned, remove them from the freezer and allow them to thaw. You’ll notice that the skins will slip right off and you will be left with peeled tomatoes! No boiling water needed!
Next, it’s time to preserve them! You can choose to opt for canning tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salsas to use all year long in soups and stews, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or in any other kind of sauce or dish you would use your store bought tomato products. Here are a few ideas to get your mind working:
- Canning tomato sauce (here’s a bonus tip for thicker sauce)
- Canning salsa
- Canning whole, crushed/diced or stewed tomatoes
- Canning seasoned tomato sauce
Friend, food preservation while abundant during summer, doesn’t have to be hard if you develop a few tricks, This one I’ve shared will help you immensely in dealing with your windfall crops. You’ll be preserving food like a pro, year after year!
This post is part of the blogger roundup Preserving the Harvest.
Do you love preserving the harvest as much as we do? Click the links below and get detailed instructions for preserving 23 of the most popular fruits and vegetables
Preserving Vegetables (in alphabetical order)
How to Preserve Carrots by Freezing, Canning, and More from Oak Hill Homestead
4 Easy Ways to Preserve Cauliflower from Dehydrating Made Easy
Cucumber Fresh Pack Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre
Make Your Own Garlic Powder and Other Ways to Preserve Garlic from Learning & Yearning
How to Freeze Your Green Bean Harvest from The Reid Homestead
How to Preserve Leafy Greens from Homespun Seasonal Living
Preserving Okra by Freezing, Canning, Fermenting, and Dehydrating from Schneider Peeps
5 Ways to Preserve Onions for Storage from Rockin W Homestead
How to Dehydrate Parsnips & Make Parsnip Chips from The Purposeful Pantry
3 Ways to Preserve Peppers from Grow a Good Life
5 Ways to Store Potatoes from A Modern Homestead
Ways to Preserve Radishes from The Purposeful Pantry
How to Freeze Squash (and Other Preservation Methods) from Our Inspired Roots
Freezing Tomatoes for Preserving Later in the Year from Stone Family Farmstead
3 Easy Ways to Preserve Zucchini from Grow a Good Life
Preserving Fruit (in alphabetical order)
Guide to Preserving Apples from Oak Hill Homestead
3 Ways To Preserve Fresh Summer Berries from Better Hens & Gardens
How to Make Cherry Jam from Scratch from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre
3 Quick Ways to Preserve Grapes from Homestead Lady
3 Best Ways To Preserve Mulberries from My Homestead Life
How To Preserve Oranges On The Homestead from 15 Acre Homestead
How to Freeze Peaches from A Modern Homestead
How To Preserve Strawberries On The Homestead from 15 Acre Homestead