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Freezing fresh roma/plum tomatoes for tomato sauce (to cook first or not)

  • r

I read the thread on making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes. Still questioning whether to cook them down or not before freezing. This was not really answered in that thread.

Asked two different Italian/Italian women (people born in Italy) and both said something different. One said to just quarter them and put them in freezer bags or containers with basil and then add other ingredients such as olive oil, salt and fresh garlic once you cook them. The other woman said to cook them down a little bit with olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and then cool down and add basil and freeze and finish cooking once taken out of the freezer for use.

Both were adamant about why they shouldn't be cooked first and why they should be cooked first before freezing. The explanation was that not cooked tomatoes cooks up better after being frozen and after cooking them down a bit they cook up better. Hope that made sense!

Any suggestions or comments about this would be appreciated. Thank You.

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  1. Here's what I do with fresh romas. Quarter them, toss with plenty of chopped garlic and olive oil. Spread out on very large cookie sheets - in a single layer (as much as possible). Then I roast them at about 425o until the juice has reduced and the skins are slightly blackened. This requires absolutely no stirring or attention whatsoever - it will take maybe 45 minutes. Throw in some chopped basil and sprinkle with salt about 10 minutes before you're ready to take them out of the oven.

    Scoop into freezer bags and freeze. This is an very intensely tomatoey sauce that can be used as is with pasta, on pizza or as the basis of something more complicated. You can sieve out the skins if you prefer, but I like the texture.

    I just did half a bushel of tomatoes that way last week and I'm happy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nyleve

      Thanks for Sharing, the Roma's are as wonderful as you said, and I'm happy. Best Wishes Kathy

      1. re: Nyleve

        I have frozen tomatoes all ways, I think. Tried different ways over the years. Now I just make a batch of my spaghetti sauce and divide into ziploc baggies (freezer type) and use over a month of so. Repeat as I need them.

        Although I just read a post at Mennonite Girls Can Cook and one of the gals freezes whole tomatoes in plastic bags and when she is ready to use them, she runs them under hot water and the skins just peel away. I'm going to try this method with a few tomatoes soon. I love finding new and easy tips to extend my tomatoes during the winter.

      2. If you are using roma tomatoes peel them first and then freeze.
        I have always used fresh tomatoes and then canned the tomato sauce.

        1. s
          suzannapilaf

          One year I had an abundance of Palestinian tomatoes - a very large paste type. I simply washed them and froze them individually due to lack of time. When I needed tomatoes in the winter I would hold them under hot tap water to remove the skin and either grate them frozen or just throw them in the pan with onions, garlic, etc. I thought it worked great!

          2 Replies
          1. re: suzannapilaf

            That is what I have done. I just put them on a baking sheet adn froze and then bagged. Skins slip right off under running water.

            1. re: Candy

              This is what I have done too. Not even a baking sheet, just put whole tomatoes in freezer bags - not a problem to take out one or more. And the skins slip off as soon as they start defrosting.

              The taste of the sauce made with these frozen tomatoes is wonderful, btw. No loss of flavour!

          2. I wouldn't freeze the tomatoes. It gives them a mushy, mealy texture and an off flavor.
            I would suggest making a basic, simple sauce and putting it up in sterilized canning jars.
            The acid in tomatoes, and added salt guarantee it will not spoil. It will keep all year.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FLEUR

              I agree. Cook first. I roast them and then freeze. Keeps at least a year.

            2. Well to be scientific, you should do it both ways and see for yourself which way works best. ;o)

              1. According to my book about preserving produce, wash, cut off blossom end (just a bit) and stem end and core. Then you can bag and freeze them. Similar to the process for canning tomatoes, which also requires removing stem, core and blossom end (just the brown spot). It doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution when it comes to food preservation. Also recommend cooking thoroughly before eating these.

                1. Chilling tomatoes kills their taste. Cook and then freeze.