Ahhhh, football season! You know what that means, it’s chili season! Back in August we had tomatoes out the wazoo! I mean literally tables of tomatoes! Between our backyard garden and our weekly CSA Shares we had more tomatoes than we could handle. Of course we didn’t want any to go to waste, but we also wanted to enjoy our tomatoes well into the fall and winter months. During football season we make chili in the crock pot just about every Sunday and buying organic tomatoes in the fall and winter can really get expensive. This is where freezing tomatoes comes in and is a great alternative to canning. It is super easy, affordable, and allows you to enjoy this delicious red fruit all year-long.
Before we get started, isn’t this Kentucky shaped cutting board just the cutest?! My dear friend Sarah and fellow blogger of Simply Sarah Style gave it to me for my birthday and I absolutely love it! She got it at one of my favorite local boutiques Ft. Thomas Central. If you live in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area you must check it out, they have so many great gift giving options.
Aren’t these so pretty! So how do you freeze them? It is so easy, let’s get started. Since our tomatoes come right from the dirt, be sure to give your tomatoes a good washing before you get started.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and drop in your tomatoes. I used a draining spoon so it was easy to get the tomatoes in and out, because well, boiling water is really hot! 🙂
This is the fun and really cool part, when you boil them for a few minutes the skin splits like shown above. That is how you know it is time to remove them from the boiling water and put them into another pot filled with ice water to cool your tomatoes down. I also wait to remove the stem until after they are boiled. I found that it works better than removing the stem before boiling, if you remove before, the split doesn’t work as well when you boil.
Next, once your tomatoes have cooled down, put them in a 9×12 Pyrex dish and remove the skin and stem. The Pyrex dish will catch all the yummy juices that will flow once you start chopping and you will want to put the tomatoes, juices and all, into the freezer bags. Repeat this process until you fill up the Pyrex, this will give you just the right amount to fill up a gallon freezer bag.
Now grab a knife and go to town. I mainly wanted my frozen tomatoes to be used for chili and soup so I went ahead and cut them up pretty well. You could keep them whole, but I found cutting them up works best for defrosting and for easy future cooking.
Then label your gallon freezer bag, press it tight, and lay it flat in the freezer for when you are ready to use. This is a process, and I would give yourself at least an hour the first time you do this depending on how many batches you have. But once you get going, it will go faster and become easier. I can’t wait to enjoy my freezer full of tomatoes all fall and winter long, in fact I’m gonna go make some chili right now. It is Sunday Funday after all!