In Autumn, tomatoes are cheap and great quality, often more flavoursome than Summer tomatoes.I can buy large bags of them locally and very cheaply. It is a perfect time to freeze tomatoes for use during winter. And in times of trouble, such as these crazy days of 2020, it is useful to have tomatoes that you can use without having to leave the house to shop.
Freezing Whole Tomatoes
When I came across this tip a couple of years ago, I was rather sceptical. Freeze whole tomatoes? Really? But it does work, and it helps with supplying tomatoes for cooking throughout the winter.
It is easy. Take some medium ziplock bags, place 2 or 3 washed and dried, whole tomatoes in the bag. Press the bag to remove as much air as possible and zip it closed. Place into the freezer.
When you want to use the tomatoes, add to soups, sauces, dals, braises etc straight from the freezer. They will break up as they defrost and cook.
It works a treat. I do hope that you get to try it.
Throw some tomatoes through the juicer, and freeze the wonderful juice. It is perfect for lots of tomato soups in winter, and can also be added to dishes such as dals, curries, rasams etc. Cheaper, cooking tomatoes can be used for juicing.
You can also puree the tomatoes and freeze the puree.
Freeze Pastes, Cooked Purees and Savoury Jams
It is worth freezing a range of tomato bases for adding layers of flavours to dishes during winter. Here are some that work really well.
- An Italian Tomato Paste cooks down with a mirepoix to a flavoursome paste that freezes easily
- Spiced Tomato Puree has a hit of red wine to deepen the flavours and add complexity
- A great herb flavoured Italian Sauce – also contains a little red wine for deeper flavours
- Pomarola – an Italian Tomato Sauce for Pizzas (and other uses)
- A great Tomato and Chilli Jam which can be defrosted and used as a sauce, spread, dip or dressing.
- Or simply puree tomatoes and freeze the results.
Make a little of each, to get you through the winter with gorgeous tomato flavours. Cheaper, cooking tomatoes can be used for pastes, purees, sauces and jams.
Small tomatoes can also be successfully dried. Cherry or Grape tomatoes are the best for this. For larger tomatoes, increase the drying times.
- Oven Dried Tomatoes with Sumac (leave the sumac off altogether, or replace with dried herbs)
While you have the oven on, why not dry some Capsicums as well.