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Freezing Cherry Tomatoes:
What You Need to Know
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Why does it seem that cherry tomatoes all ripen at once? To preserve all that miniature goodness, freeze some of them. Freezing cherry tomatoes is a simple way to preserve summer’s freshness to use later in the year.
It doesn’t seem right to let cherry tomatoes go to waste. You don’t have to. You can freeze them in small amounts or large quantities. It’s a simple strategy for today’s busy gardener.
Good Reasons to Freeze Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are small, so it is impractical to peel them for canning. (If you did, there probably wouldn’t be much tomato left after you discard the peels.) Freezing cherry tomatoes makes so much sense. It is ..
- Convenient: freezing is quick and easy
- Neat: freezing is not messy. There’s no peeling and no blanching.
- Nutritious: freezing preserves nutrients in the cherry tomato skins
- Resourceful: freezing helps you manage cherry tomato overload when you discover yours have ripened at the same time … you’re getting ready to go on vacation and your cherries have ripened just before you leave … or you simply have too many and you can’t give any more to the neighbors
- Practical: Like other tomatoes, cherry tomatoes lose their shape, texture, and a bit of flavor in the freezer. But you can reserve frozen tomatoes for sauces, casseroles, soups, and other cooked recipes.
Freezing Cherry Tomatoes: How-Tos
Take these steps to freeze cherry tomatoes:
- Choose ripe, unblemished cherry tomatoes.
- Wash cherry tomatoes, remove stems, and drain them in a colander. Allow them to dry on paper towels, waxed paper, or a dish towel. If you freeze them with excess moisture on surfaces, they will accumulate frost.
- Set cherry tomatoes onto a cookie sheet so that their skins do not touch. This way, tomatoes won’t clump together and be difficult to separate when you are ready to use them.
- Set the cookie sheet in the freezer for about an hour until the tomatoes are firmly frozen.
- Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and place cherry tomatoes into freezer bags or freezer-safe containers. Remove the excess air from the bags and seal them tightly. Lay bags on their sides and jiggle them to allow tomatoes to settle.
- Label bags with the date. You can keep cherry tomatoes in the freezer for a year, but they are best when used within 6 months.
How to Thaw Frozen Cherry Tomatoes
- Remove the freezer bag or freezer-safe container from the freezer.
- Measure out how many tomatoes you need for your recipe. You can reseal the bag or container and return it the freezer.
- Place the tomatoes in a bowl on the counter top or refrigerator. Allow them to sit until nearly thawed.
Cherry tomatoes will lose their shape when completely defrosted and their texture will be soft, so you cannot eat them whole in salads. But they work well in soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, or other cooked recipes. You can also blend or process them into salad dressing or pesto.
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