Do you have more cherry tomatoes than you can eat? Are you wondering what you can do with them? Try freezing them to use later in the season! It is a real treat to make homemade soup in the wintertime with tomatoes from your summer garden!
I prefer freezing my cherry tomatoes over other preservation methods because it is so incredibly easy. There is no chopping, peeling, or canning involved! Now we will go through how simple this process is.
Prep the Tomatoes
First off, you need to sort through your tomatoes and discard any that are cracked or blemished because they will not keep as well. Prep the tomatoes by taking off the stems and washing them thoroughly.
After they are washed get as much water off as you can. You can drain them well in a colander or spread them out on a clean kitchen towel. This is important because they may stick to your pan or stick together if too much water is present.
When they are dry spread the tomatoes out onto a large sheet pan. We want to freeze them before putting them into bags for long term storage. The advantage of this method is that the tomatoes are less likely to get squished or stick together in a giant tomato ice block. Try to leave some space between them on the pan and do not crowd them if possible. This way they will freeze faster and are less likely to get stuck together.
Freeze the Tomatoes
Place the sheet pan in the freezer for at least 1-2 hours, or until the tomatoes have firmed up.
After the tomatoes are frozen, you should be able to easily gather them up and place them in freezer bags. Freezer bags are preferable to regular zip top bags because they are thicker and will help protect the food better. Labeling the bags before you fill them will make it easier to write on them. Make sure that you also write the date on the bag.
Store the tomatoes in the freezer for 6 months or up to a year or so. After that time they will still be safe to eat but the quality may begin to decline.
How to Use Frozen Cherry Tomatoes
Realize that frozen cherry tomatoes will have a different texture than fresh tomatoes. They will be softer and are best used in cooked dishes such as soups, sauces, or casseroles. These tomatoes will also have their skins on which may affect the texture of some dishes. For most recipes however this is not an issue.
My favorite way to use these frozen cherry tomatoes is in homemade vegetable soup. I use them straight out of the bag and pour however many I need into the boiling soup as it cooks. Yum!
Hope you are able to freeze some of your tomatoes to enjoy in the winter months. Happy Gardening!
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