The Fresh Loaf

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Fresh tomatoes - Canning versus freezing?

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arzajac's picture
arzajac

Fresh tomatoes - Canning versus freezing?

Over the past few months, I have brought my slab pizza into work a few times and people really like it.  I usually bake enough to feed a few dozen people. 


Anyway, after the fantastic summer we had, people at work are giving me their excess garden tomatoes.  I'm getting a few pounds per day from people who appreciated my pizza!


I actually have made some pizza from the fresh tomatoes and brought that into work.  Again, more tomatoes....


I find it easy to peel them, and I it would be really simple if I could just freeze them instead of canning them.  Is there any major dissavantage to doing that?  I will be using them mostly for pizza and pasta sauce.


I'd really like to hear your opinions about this.  Thanks.


 


 


 


 

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Hey,


Lucky you, unfortunately we do not have enough home grown tomatoes lately to freeze.


My wife recently blogged http://tssaweber.com/WP/2009/08/a-gardeners-reward/


about this (she works with this stuff) and believes that freezing is much better and easier than canning. Also my mother always freezes tomatoes and her pies in the middle of winter are very much appreciated.


Thomas


OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

Any time you are canning "vegetables" (no I don't want to revive the fruit or vegetable debate) you must be concerned with the acidity of your veges, because botulism can thrive in a "low acid" environment, but does not survive in a higher acid environment.  While tomatoes are not generally a "low acid" commodity, they can approach it, and if they do, and your canning process is not adequate (too short a time and/or too low a temperature) there can be some risk of botulism.  It might not be a high risk, but it is not zero.  That risk is greatly reduced with freezing.


Assuming that if you can them you will do it right, of course, and process them adequately, it is an excellent way to preserve tomatoes and other vegetables for later use, and gives you a very versatile "product".  Texture can be largely preserved in canning, and you end up with tomatoes you can use in a variety of ways.  That includes making an excellent pizza sauce for that beauty you show us above


Freezing, on the other hand, will rupture the tiny "sacks" that hold the juice because the water in the juice will form tiny ice crystals that puncture them.  When you thaw them out you will find them limp and soggy in texture, where with canning much of that damage does not occur.  For making pizza sauce, freezing will work just fine, and it is easier than canning.  You won't like them as slices or for whole tomatoes though.


 


That pizza is a beauty!

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Well the picture is not really a Pizza. The bottom is puff pastry dough, then a thin layer of oat flakes to deal with the moisture of the tomatoes. The filling is a mix of eggs, milk, salt pepper and nutmeg. The tomatoes I sprinkled with grated mozzarella and put some bacon on the top.


 This is a very simple but tasty European style recipe and you can also do it with other vegetables like chopped spinach. It is also excellent with fresh or frozen fruits, but the filling would then have sugar and vanilla instead of salt, pepper etc.


The frozen veggies or fruits are always put on frozen.


Thomas

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I saved this, but haven't tried it.. http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ciqtomatoes.shtml


What I do love to do with extra tomatoes is roast them in the oven. I cut them in half, drizzle olive oil and roll them around at bit, grind salt and pepper over them, sprinkle with oregano and basil. Roast them in the oven, low heat, until they are like sundried, slighty moist and chewy. Them I bag them up in small ziplocs and throw them in the freezer.  They are great on pizza, chopped up and tossed with pasta, feta, basil and kalamata olives and I just recently used up the last bag from last year in marinara sauce from, guess what , more tomatoes from the garden.


Betty

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

wow, Betty, what a grand idea !  Will try that!


 


 

adarpino's picture
adarpino

The problem with freezing the tomatoes is that the thawing process will very likely have an adverse effect on the texture of the tomatoes.  It was illustrated to me in the following manner: imagine a plastic bag filled with water and sealed. imagine it placed on a table and it is full and bouyant. then imagine the bag was placed in a freezer, still no problems... but then when you place the bag back on the table to thaw it, imagine just 1 small shard of ice slicing the bag at any point of the process.


The cells of the tomato will experience the same problem, so you end up with a lot of water (and flavor) escaping the tomato, and de-naturing the texture of the tomato.


Having said that, tssaweber posted successful results with frozen tomatoes and I may try it myself . And Paddyscake suggestion is an excellent one, roasted tomatoes freeze fine and the roasted process dries them out a bit and develops flavor, they thaw much more reliably and taste great on a pizza.  But its not the same as the fresh tomato pies we make in august! Your pizza is beautiful!

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

Having planted more tomatoes this year than an actual sane person ever would have thought of planting, I am overrun with them! I have preserved them in both manners; freezing and canning. I opted to can diced and whole tomatoes so I could preserve more of the "firmness" of them. The tomato "sauce" I made, I froze since firmness wasn't an issue. I then made my "pasta" sauce; roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs,  etc., and froze it since again, firmness wasn't an issue. I now have tomatoes or tomato product, for any need I might have.. Hope this helps.


 


Wendy

dwhite0849's picture
dwhite0849

i freeze my extra tomatoes whole.  when i thaw them the skin peels right off without any work at all.  i just drain and seed them and use them for cooking.  and yes sliced on a pizza.  i love the no work part.

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Every few days I get a big lug of tomatoes. I roughly chop them and throw them in a big stainless pot with sliced onion, garlic, basil, and oregano. I cook them on low until everything's soft then put them through my food mill. Sometimes I can the sauce, sometimes I freeze it. I could reduce it if I wanted a more concentrated sauce for pizza, but I haven't done that yet. Either way, the sauce makes a welcome treat in the winter when I want a good sauce for anything-pasta, soup, or even a Bloody Mary.


I have also frozen them whole in plastic bags and then added them to soups and stews. Tomatoes are notably one of the few things that can be frozen without blanching or an acid bath, but the freezer is challenged at this point. Canning after cooking is a great, low-energy way to keep them if you have the shelf space.


Patricia

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

Freezing takes up a lot of room and energy. Why not dehydrate them? Dehydrated tomatoes are great when rehydrated. My personal preference would be dehydrating as a first choice, canning them as a second choice and freezing them as a last resort.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Like Betty, I oven roast tomatoes sliced in half. I put some olive oil in the middle of a large cookie sheet, slice the tomatoes lengthwise (usually Italian tomatoes) and dip them cut side down in the oil and turn them over so the skin side is down. I don't use salt or pepper. When a tray is full I put it in a 240ºF oven and roast till they're still soft but have lost a lot of their juice. The low temperature keeps the oil from burning and making the pan hard to clean. They are so good we eat them like candy when they come out of the oven. The rest I put in small sandwich freezer bags laying flat. That way when a want a few I can just break off what I need. They are so good I do half our tomatoes in the oven and throw the rest whole in plastic freezer bags to use through the winter.


 


Sometimes I throw a whole bag of frozen tomatoes in a bowl and put it in the oven at a medium heat and bake till I decide they've baked enough. The skins can be pulled out but we don't mind them. Then I add salt and pepper and maybe a little sugar for the best stewed tomatoes. Yum.


 


For breakfast we toss a few oven roasted tomatoes for each of us into the pan when we're frying eggs. I just keep them on the side of the pan till they warm up and serve them with the eggs. So good with a good sourdough toast.


 


weavershouse