I can’t remember who told me about this easy way to preserve homegrown tomatoes, but I’ve been doing it for years. It especially comes in handy after I’ve canned, dehydrated and gifted a bounty that just won’t end.
This is the EASIEST and quickest way I know to preserve tomatoes for use in the winter. They will find their way into sauces, reductions and stews. There’s nothing like having fresh, whole tomatoes (from my garden) to use in January!
It’s easy to preserve six large tomatoes at a time. What you’ll need is:
1. ample freezer space
4. cutting board & paring knife
5. freezer safe tray or platter
6. freezer bag & Sharpie
7. oven mitt or rubber gloves
The CS&S Method stands for CORE, SCORE and STORE. Start with six large tomatoes from the garden. Wash them really well and let them air dry.
Using the paring knife, core each tomato—making certain to take out any unwanted blemishes on the fruit.
The next step has you turning over the tomato and scoring it, on the bottom. Why this step? You ask. Scoring the bottom of each tomato will allow you to slip the skins off the fruit, once they are slightly thawed and you are ready to use them.
Arrange the tomatoes on a tray and pop them into your freezer (in my case, in front of the preserved, fresh corn and next to the tequila—how’d that get there?) I usually give the fruit 10 hours in the freezer to get a good, hard freeze.
I use an oven mitt to fetch the frozen tomatoes (the tray is usually heavy and really cold). If I’m feeling bold, I’ll use my washed hands to place the fruit into the freezer bag. Otherwise, I’ll slip on a rubber glove and load the bag. You could also use a food sealer if you prefer that over freezer bags. Once in the bag, place it back into the freezer for use in the wintertime.
I ALWAYS label and date what I put in the freezer. I’ve learned this habit the hard way. Sure, they look like tomatoes now…but in a year, who knows? Actually, they will hold up just fine. When I’m ready to use them in some sort of soup or stew recipe, I’ll set the tomatoes in the bottom of a big stew pot, allow them to thaw and simply pull the skins from the rest of the tomato. It’s that easy.
Happy picking and preserving!