Read on to find out how.

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Braised Chicken Thighs with Slow-Cooked Marinara
Credit: Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

When fresh summer tomatoes are at their peak, it can be tempting to eat them by the dozen. But once you’ve maxed out on sandwiches, salads, salsas, and other tomato recipes, it’s a good idea to preserve some fruit for the future. And canning isn’t the only way to do it. When properly prepped, tomatoes freeze well too. Here is our test kitchen’s favorite way to freeze tomatoes and keep their flavor and color bright:

Prep

Use a paring knife to remove the stems of the tomatoes; discard the stems.

Blanch

Plunge the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for 15 seconds if ripe. If underripe, place them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain the tomatoes in a colander and transfer them to a large bowl (or the sink) filled with ice water.

Once the tomatoes have cooled, use a paring knife to gently remove the skins from the tomatoes. They should slip off easily. Cut the tomato in half and use a spoon to scoop and scrape out the seeds from the flesh. Discard the seeds.

Freeze

Cut the tomatoes as desired and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze 30 minutes, or until solid. Transfer the frozen tomatoes to a ziplock freezer bag and label the bag with the date. Freeze up to 1 year. You can also puree the tomatoes and place them directly into the freezer bag.

To use, simply defrost the frozen tomatoes in the refrigerator overnight or on the kitchen counter for an hour or so. The only downside to freezing tomatoes is that you can’t eat them as-is after they have been defrosted. Like other types of produce with high water content, defrosted tomatoes should be used in cooked recipes, like sauces or soups.