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Saturday, August 30, 2008
Tomatoes are usually canned, but Jananne Finck with University of Illinois Extension says they can be frozen. Some people like to freeze tomatoes because freezing is usually an easier way to preserve food.
To freeze tomatoes, the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) recommends using firm, ripe, deep-red tomatoes. The next step is to decide whether you want to freeze raw or stewed tomatoes.
To freeze raw tomatoes, wash with cold water; then dip in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Core and peel. Freeze as whole tomatoes or in pieces. Pack into freezer containers, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze and use only for cooking or seasoning because tomatoes will not be solid when thawed.
To freeze stewed tomatoes, remove stem ends, peel and quarter ripe tomatoes. Cover and cook until tender (about 10 to 20 minutes). Place the pan containing the tomatoes in cold water to cool quickly. Pack into containers, leaving about 1-inch headspace, seal, label and freeze.
Tomato juice can also be frozen. To prepare, wash, sort and trim firm, vine-ripened tomatoes. Cut in quarters or eighths. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes; then press through a sieve. If desired, season with 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of juice. Pour into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace for wide-top pint containers and 1-inch headspace for wide-top quarts. For narrow top openings, leave 1 1/2-inch headspace for pint and quart freezer containers.
For more information on preserving tomatoes and other foods, visit the USDA sponsored National Center for Home Food Preservation website at www.homefoodpreservation.com.
Source: Jananne Finck, Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness