|Best way to preserve cherry tomatoes?
||[Aug. 11th, 2009|09:05 pm]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables
The cherry tomato plants in my parents' house are growing wildly -- there's too many tomatoes to ever be eaten, even with 5 of us. I am going away in a week to attend school in another city, and thought it would be great if I could take some of the tomatoes with me, as I'm more likely to eat them than the rest of the family.
What's the best way to store and preserve cherry tomatoes? I've read about canning, freezing, and roasting. According to some people, I can just freeze the cherry tomatoes with the skin on and use them as needed, but according to others, it's better to remove the skin and seeds first. I'm naturally very busy this upcoming week trying to get everything ready and a huge long time and energy intensive task isn't high on my list of things to do. And what about roasting? Would a jar of roasted tomatoes keep well in the freezer?
I thought you guys would have some good ideas for me.
I've heard good things about freezing them whole too, that the skin just slips off the thawed tomatoes. I never seed my tomatoes.
Personally, I dehydrate them, though dried tomatoes retain enough moisture that they need to be stored in the freezer. I don't have much freezer space so I appreciate that dehydrated tomatoes take up less room and have tons of delicious flavor.
I've frozen larger tomatoes whole and raw, and the skin does just slip off. Not sure if it will work with cherry tomatoes though.
I sometimes roast them on parchment paper, on low, for several hours, then store in the fridge. You can cover them with olive oil too. This year I will probably cut them in half (I have grape tomatoes & sungolds) and try dehydrating them. I also make marinara sauce with them; I seed them a little but don't remove the skins. I haven't tried canning my tomato sauce because I have a big freezer! You can always make a big batch of cherry-tomato salsa; it won't keep too long (in the fridge) but you can always share it!
I have some sungolds and I'm planning on pickling them in a light, sweet, tart brine with a sprig of rosemary and a curl of lemon peel in each jar.
I've never understood why some people seed their tomatoes. I always leave the seeds and pulp in because I like the way they taste and feel.
I'd freeze them whole out of sheer laziness, or maybe freeze some whole and freeze others roasted or stewed with basil and olive oil.
I wish my tomato plants would produce like that. Mine are just barely hanging on in the heat we've been having.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I find cooked tomato seeds to be extremely bitter & soapy tasting, so I always seed them before I make sauces and such. I don't notice the bitterness when I'm eating them fresh though. Not sure what the deal is.
You could make chutney out of them? :)
Some could also be turned into pasta sauces (canned or frozen), to use as emergency food on those evenings when one is too tired to spend time by the cooker. Such sauces are real space savers, too.
Last year, I had a glut of garden produce, a big freezer, and not enough time. I froze gallons of whole tomatoes, both tommy-toes and full-size tomatoes, just picking them directly off the plants into the bags. They came out great, although I cook with the seeds and the skin anyway.