Friday, August 12, 2011

Frozen Tomatoes

Who planted a garden this year? What did you plant? Have you harvested anything yet? What are you most excited to eat from your garden? My husband went crazy this year. Our garden is about six times bigger than we need and I love it! It's been a lot of work to keep the weeds somewhat under control, but I think they are winning right now. This year I was most excited for the green beans and zucchini we planted. I knew one zucchini plant would be enough for us, but I planted two; I just picked the first one yesterday! The hubs planted eight tomato plants! All I can say is, wow.

I know how to can and I don't hate doing it, but it is so hot right now and standing in front of the stove for a few hours canning tomatoes does not sound like my idea of fun. A neighbor told me that she freezes her tomatoes! I am new to the amazing world of freezing fresh foods, and so far I am in love. I'm embarrassed to admit that I just learned you can freeze bananas this summer. One of the best things to happen to my life. So when my neighbor told me what she does to get her tomatoes ready to freeze, I knew I had to tell all you as well!
  • Wash the tomatoes
  • Cut the stems out
  • Quarter or half the tomato depending on how large it is. If you have cherry tomatoes don't worry about cutting them at all. I do half Romas though.
  • Put them in a food processor with the blade attachment (I'm not sure if a blender will work since I haven't tried it)
  • Turn the food processor on and liquefy the tomatoes.
You can be done at this point but if you know what you will be using the tomatoes for, you can add other ingredients: jalapenos, garlic, onion etc. Just make sure you mix them together well.

My neighbor stores her tomatoes in plastic bowls with lids. I measure mine into Ziploc Freezer bags. Before pouring the tomatoes in, I label each bag with the date and what is going inside. Sometimes I add extra ingredients. Sometimes I just use tomato so I need to know what I'm going to be using. I also write on the bag how many cups are inside. Side note: I do not buy the less expensive zipper bags for the freezer. Ziploc makes a great product and the freezer bags help prevent freezer burn so well. Before I zip the bag closed, I press out as much air as I can.

I use frozen tomatoes for anything tomato based: chili, spaghetti, soups etc.

One last thing, did you know you can freeze celery as well? Wash and cut it down to sticks. Lay it out on a cookie sheet and freeze for several hours before you place it in Ziploc bags. You can use it later in soups and stews. Great to know for when celery is on sale!

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