by: Tammy Taylor
Tomatoes are the sweethearts of the vegetable garden, especially down here in the south. Southerners eat tomatoes raw in salads, garnishing main dishes, cooked into soups & stews and made into savory sauces. Why we even enjoy a dish called tomato pie! (or as it’s pronounced here: tomatah pah) Now here in the Taylor Household I always purposely over-plant tomatoes in the garden each year so we’ll have plenty to preserve for later.
Tomatoes are pretty prolific producers and oftentimes there’s quite an influx of produce to be consumed at one time. Some home gardeners eat them fresh as quickly as they can, others preserve their tomato excess by canning them in a pressure canner. I really enjoy a freshly-picked ripe tomato fresh from the garden, still warm from the sun. But RancherMan will only eat them in moderation when they’re served sliced raw. I won’t allow these precious fruits to go to waste of course. But I personally don’t enjoy the thought of firing up that canner during the heat and humidity that defines a typical Texas summer. So what’s a country girl to do?
To The Freezer!
I prefer to preserve them by freezing so I can use them in our favorite way – blender salsa! Preserving them by freezing is super easy. Since they won’t stay in the freezer long I don’t worry much about freezer burn. And the beauty of freezing tomatoes is that when they are thawing the skin slips right off so there’s no need to stand over a steaming pot of water dipping raw tomatoes in to skin them. Less heat & humidity in the house during the summertime? That certainly works for me!
To freeze the tomatoes I bring in those freshly-picked orbs of crimson beauty from the garden. And after a quick wash & blot dry I core them and cut them in half. Then I place the halves into a bag and place them in my freezer. I usually just use repurposed bread or tortilla bags to store them in the freezer since their stay there will be so short. but if you want to store them longer you’ll need to be more mindful of their freezer digs to keep them fresher tasting. As with many frozen foods the texture of your tomatoes will be soft when thawed so plan to use them in your cooking (or blender salsa!)
Using The Frozen Tomatoes
When I want to make blender salsa I’ll bring the tomatoes out of the freezer and let them thaw a bit & proceed. It’s a staple around here & RancherMan & I eat it up. I like that it’s made with pure veggies from my own garden without creating any landfill waste. Yep, that classifies it as a bona fide win/win!
How do you prefer to preserve your garden bounty of tomatoes?