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.