This year was my first time exploring my gardening skills. I have a vague memories of my mom growing a few herbs when I was younger and memories my grand mother on her knees, every week ends and almost every day, but I never experienced the whole gardening deal myself. For a long time I didn’t even bothered with it because I always thought that I sucked at it because I killed a cactus once. ..I know, it’s a retarded way to think.. you don’t need to tell me lol
I decided to give it another try when everything was going bad in my life. I was on the edge of the panic attacks, my world was falling apart around me and I thought… I need to find something that relax me because I’m gonna go insane!
Cooking was obviously always an option to help me relax but when my head goes too crazy, I find it hard to concentrate on making a recipe. I needed something a little bit more brainless and as rewarding. Thank you so much for the Jean-Talon Farmer’s Market because I was able to buy a few tomato plants, fresh herbs and 2 hot pepper plants that same week end and start my new adventure with urban gardening. Obviously I loved my experience and discovered myself a new skill! Just goes to show that it’s never too late to try again and get better!
Although the summer haven’t been the best, my tomato plants have been giving me so many tomatoes this year. I haven’t purchased tomatoes all summer and I know I’ll have some for the next months to come! Now the question was… what to do with all those tomatoes? What’s the best ways to preserve the freshness of the summer without too much hassle?
There is obviously various options to preserve your tomatoes. Canning was my first option, I bought everything to do water bath canning and read a bunch of books on the subject but I still thought it was too complicated for the moment. Plus the whole process and care to it scared me a bit. lol I’m not saying that I’ll never be canning anything but at this specific moment, I just didn’t feel like dealing with the whole process and always wondering in the back of my mind if I’ve done it right and I wont poison anybody who will eat the content of my cans. That’s where I kept reading online and found out that freezing is actually a much better and easier options to preserve my fresh tomatoes!
Why choosing to freeze your tomatoes instead of canning them?
For the simple fact that it’s super easier. Canned tomatoes have their advantage, don’t get me wrong, but if you don’t want to deal with the whole canning process and acidity adding to your tomatoes, freezing is definitely the an option to consider.
How long can you keep your tomatoes in the freezer?
It’s usually the best to use them between 4 to 6 months. The freezer life will always depend on the quality of fruit at time of processing and how they are processed for the freezer. But they generally have a freezer life of 8-12 months.
What’s the downfall of freezing tomatoes?
The texture will change once you thaw your tomatoes. Make sure you to do so in a plastic bag or a container because there will be a lot of juices that you can use in your recipe to keep all the nutriments possible. Don’t expect your tomatoes to be firm anymore so you cant replace fresh tomatoes with frozen one in a recipe but they will be perfectly good for soup, sauces, stew, hand pies, casserole etc….
Do you need a special preparation before freezing them?
Tomatoes should be washed before cutting. To wash, wet each tomato with water, rub its surface, rinse it with running water, and dry it with a paper towel. After washing, cut away the stem and scars, mold etc.. and discard it before slicing or chopping the tomato.
Washing tomatoes in a sink filled with water is not recommended since contaminated water can be absorbed through the fruit’s stem scar. The use of soap or detergent is neither recommended nor approved for washing fruits and vegetables because they can absorb detergent residues.
Do you freeze them RAW or COOKED?
You can do both! I’ve read online that cooked tomatoes will taste better and last longer in the freezer but I have frozen mine raw and I have also heard from friends that it wont change much so it’s a question of taste again. In a few weeks I’ll let you know how it turned out.
In what types of containers can I keep my tomatoes?
Everything that is freezer friendly. Rigid plastic containers, freezer bags or you can even vacuum seal them. Although if you decide to vacuum seal them chopped, you will need to add an extra step of freezing your chopped pieces on a flat surface before putting them in your bag and removing the air because they will all merge together if not. Personally I do not enjoy the idea of the vacuumed seal bag, unless they are smaller portion at the time, because I like to be able to re-use the same bag to keep in the freezer what I didn’t used.
Now with that being said, vacuum sealing always keep everything fresher longer.
Ok so now that you have pretty much all the info needed to start preserving your tomatoes, dont waste anymore time!