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tomatoesOne of my favorite summer treats are fresh tomatoes, either from my garden (if my green thumb holds out) or from my local farmer’s market.  I sometimes run out of ideas for fresh tomato recipes and hate to see them spoil if I can’t eat them fast enough.  But this year, I’ll be ahead of the game, since I plan to freeze what I grow or buy and enjoy them through the winter months in soups, stews, and sauces.  I always knew that freezing is one of the easiest ways to preserve many fruits and vegetables without losing much of their flavor or nutritional value, but I never thought tomatoes would freeze well.  Surprise!  Here are some tips to freezing tomatoes that I discovered:

·         Tomatoes can be preserved cooked or raw, and whole, diced, sliced or pureed.

·         Wash tomatoes thoroughly before getting them ready to freeze.

·         You can freeze peeled or unpeeled tomatoes.  To peel them before freezing, just dip them into boiling water for 1 minute, let cool, and the skin will come off easily!  If you want to peel frozen tomatoes, just run them under warm running water for a minute. 

·         To freeze whole tomatoes, cut out the stem first.  Otherwise, slice or chop the tomatoes.

·         Place the whole or cut tomatoes on a cookie sheet in the freezer.

·         After they are frozen, transfer the pieces to freezer bags or containers. 

·         You can also pour chopped or pureed tomatoes into ice cube trays.  Once frozen, pop the cubes out and store them in freezer bags or containers.  

·         Good cooking tip: It’s better to add spices and herbs after thawing frozen tomatoes, since they can either become too powerful or lose their kick when frozen.

For more information on preserving, storing and cooking tomatoes visit: http://snap.nal.usda.gov/resource-library/whats-available-summer/tomatoes

Do you ever freeze vegetables or fruits?  Let us know!

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