Saving tomatoes for later: crushed tomatoes

If you have a large amount of tomatoes that you don’t think you will be using any time soon (and you have about an hour to kill), you can blanch and peel them, then portion and freeze them to use at a later date.

Using this method you can have a year round supply of fresh frozen, local tomatoes, which can be more cost-effective (and much lower in sodium) than purchasing canned tomatoes.

Canned diced tomatoes contain 580 mg sodium per cup. This works out to be 39% of your recommended  intake of 1500 mg. Don’t be fooled by the %DV for sodium on food labels, which is actually a % of the recommended daily maximum intake of sodium (2400 mg). Someone watching their sodium intake should look for food with less than 200 mg of sodium per serving.

Step 1: blanching:

Blanching is the process of removing the skin from a fruit by “shocking” them with boiling water.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Remove the stem portion of each tomato with a sharp paring knife. Score an “X” on the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes carefully into the boiling water using tongs. After about a minute you will notice the skin starting to peel. Remove the tomatoes carefully and place in a container of cold water. When the tomatoes are cool, carefully peel the tomatoes using a paring knife. The skins should lift off very easily.

Step 2: processing

Remove the seeds by squeezing each tomato with your hand (do this inside a sink or in the container of cold water). Place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor to crush them, or dice with a sharp knife.

Step 3: portion and freeze

Measure out the prepared tomatoes into one or two cup portions and place in freezer bags or containers. Label the containers with the name, date and amount. The next time you need crushed tomatoes, you can simply thaw out the desired portion.

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About dinutrition

I hold a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition. As you can imagine, food is a pretty big part of my life. However, I also enjoy painting, muay thai (yes I can throw a punch), yoga, writing, and am a certified personal trainer.

Posted on March 26, 2012, in Food tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Wow, what a great way to save your own tomatoes! Summer tomatoes are the best, but I often can’t even stomach them in the winter. Now I can save my perfectly juicy tomatoes for those off-season cravings. Thanks!

    • You are welcome! At my local produce market they sometimes have bags of tomatoes for $1 that are a bit over-ripe, and perfect for this purpose. I can never pass up a good deal :)

  2. That’s a great idea, always looking for ways to avoid the sodium in canned tomatoes and use fresh…Thanks for highlighting the step by step process.

  3. If you have some more time, you can always add other local, fresh produce and herbs (e.g. celery, carrot, onion, oregano, chives, basil etc.) chopped up to make “tomato junk” which then becomes a great base for pasta sauce. If you have even more time (or at least are hanging around the house), cook the tomatoes down to paste – it takes a while but is even better than the store-bought canned stuff.

    We are a canning household since we never have enough freezer space, but most city people don’t have the time or enough produce to do the canning. Freezing is a great option.

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