Got tomatoes? Want to save them for winter sauces and stews, without the hassle of canning? If you have the freezer space, you can preserve tomatoes with literally no extra work: Just freeze 'em!
When we think about preserving fruits and vegetables, we usually think of jams, jellies, pickles, and canned goods. But the freezer is also a much-overlooked tool for preserving. No, it's not really a good option for most city-dwellers; you can't very well pack a summer's worth of tomatoes in a tiny freezer. But if you live in a larger home or have access to a chest freezer, then you can preserve summer fruits and vegetables so easily.
This week I threw an entire bag full of jalapeño peppers into the freezer; I pulled them straight off the prolific plant in my garden and dumped them in. I'll pull them out one by one over the winter for use in curries.
Tomatoes, though, are my favorite thing to freeze. Now, of course, you may be reacting to this news with no small horror, picturing the runny mess that is a frozen and thawed tomato. No, of course, if you want a fresh tomato, you're going to need to eat it now.
But if you plan on using tomatoes in the depths of winter in sauces and stews, then freezing is a perfectly wonderful option. You can skip the puréeing and canning and just sock them straight into freezer bags. It's the lazy yet smart way of preserving tomatoes; their delicious acidity and bright flavor will still come through, months later, in a way that'll make you think you've stepped into the Tardis and gone straight back to July.
Plus, there's a bonus to this method: After the tomatoes have thawed in the fridge or in the microwave, you can just pull the skins right off, as Emma demonstrated recently.
If you have access to a big freezer, don't forget to use it for summer goodies. Buy a flat of late-season tomatoes, dump them in freezer bags, and stash them away for the dark days of winter!