I grew up helping my mother can tomatoes the old fashioned way. We spent hours skinning the tomatoes in boiling water, sterilizing glass quart jars, and then processing the tomato-filled jars in a boiling water bath and waiting to hear the “pop” as each jar cooled and sealed. It was an all day project that most gardeners endured in order to enjoy the fruit of their labor during the long winter months.
Later, as a young wife, my mother-in-law taught me how to freeze fresh tomatoes. It still involved skinning the tomatoes in boiling water, and then slicing them into eighths. But, instead of the canning process, you just had to pack and freeze them in plastic quart containers. I thought this system was a real time saver, and did it that way for years.
Imagine my surprise when I learned just last year that there is a MUCH simpler way to freeze all the tomatoes we harvest from our garden, and now this is how I do it:
First, wash and core (cut out the stem end) your whole tomatoes.
Place the cored tomatoes on a tray with sides (leave a little space around each one — you don’t want them to touch) and place the tray in the freezer. (notice that you DO NOT have to peel the tomatoes).
When they are completely frozen (like the next day), put the whole frozen tomatoes in a gallon size plastic freezer bag, zip closed, and store in the freezer until needed.
When you are ready to use, simply remove however many tomatoes you need and hold each one under hot running water. The skin will easily slip off the frozen tomato. Then let them defrost just long enough to be able to slice or chop.
That’s it! You can easily fit this method of preserving your tomato harvest into even the busiest day and be satisfied with the results.