Ever wondered if there is a way you could preserve tomatoes without canning them? Well, if you want to keep fresh tomatoes longer
To preserve tomatoes without canning them, you can either freeze, dehydrate and dry them or you could puree them for long term use and easy storage inside your home food pantry.
Why Preserve Tomatoes Without Canning
Preserving tomatoes is often associated with a homeowner having a bunch of tomatoes on your counter and then wonder how on Earth will you keep tomatoes fresh long term (preserve them ).
And that is down to the fact that the majority of us as city dwellers, we live just a stone throw away from a local supermarket where fresh tomatoes and canned food items are often sold on demand.
This has led to many families choosing to stock canned food essentials inside their pantries enough to last for only a week or just a few weeks.
While there is nothing wrong in this practice( which you might think) truth is there are families who preserve fresh or canned tomatoes for numerous good reasons with one being preparedness to emergencies where we would be unable to buy food supplies on-demand from a local supermarket.
The other reason why you may consider preserving fresh food for your pantry would be to make huge savings in batching grocery shopping or if you grow your tomatoes in flower pots and grow bags.
Regardless of your reasons for wanting to preserve food and keep it for longer, the question for many of you is how do you preserve tomatoes without canning?
Canning tomatoes take hours in the kitchen, sweating over a hot pot of boiling water. Many people now seek better ways of preserving tomatoes without going through the tiring process of canning.
In this article, you will learn better ways of preserving your tomatoes before they go bad, and you will find out that preserving tomatoes is one of the easiest things you will ever do whether you want to save money or are looking at long term use of seasonal perishables.
Now, as an avid grow bag tomato grower, one of the first best methods to preserve my tomatoes every summer is by freezing them in food-grade pouches inside my freezer.
And if you are thinking of taking advantage of the over-supply of fresh tomatoes or the sale of any seasonal fruit that dwindles over time in the time of the year, you could preserve them using tips and guides shared here.
Whether you are buying tomatoes at the local supermarket, to keep them fresh for later use, try these freezing methods to help you preserve your tomatoes longer.
Preserve Whole Tomatoes Without Canning Them.
As there are numerous ways to freeze whole fresh tomatoes, the methods of freezing whole tomatoes are straightforward and easy as it doesn’t also require much of your time.
When freezing your tomatoes as a whole, you’ll first need to wash the tomatoes thoroughly in fresh water, followed by removing the stems and any other pulp or squishy problematic tomatoes as you go.
Make sure your tomatoes are firm, ripe and free of major bruising also be sure to pack well for freezing. You can as well use a freezer bag and the straw vacuum seal method.
As a double precaution, you can also place them in a freezer container.
The second method involves freezing the tomatoes without the skin. You can blanch them in boiling water for a minute and dip them in an ice water bath to remove the skin.
Or you can simply cut the stem end off of the tomato and place tomatoes on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. After they freeze (1-3 hours) run them under cold water and the skins will fall off!
You can as well freeze the tomatoes in halves, quarters or diced tomatoes. With this method, you follow the same process as above for removing the skins, cut as desired and freeze in an airtight container in sections most likely to be used in your recipes.
Freeze pureed tomatoes with this method you have to remove any bad areas from the tomato and place large chunks in a food processor or blender.
Pulse a few times to desired consistency and place puree in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 10-12 hours or until reduced and thickened to desired consistency. And then Freeze puree in desired quantities, freeze it after it cools.
Pros of freezing the tomatoes
1. All these tomato freezing methods will help you preserve your tomatoes for longer and will also let you enjoy summer ripened tomatoes in the winter. Sure they lose some flavor as any fresh frozen produce will, but they are still okay to cook with.
2. These freezing methods are one of the easiest and quickest ways to preserve your tomatoes. You can do large batches or tiny ones as your tomatoes ripen, which is great for smaller gardens. Most of these freezing methods require no blanching. Meaning you won’t have to deal with boiling and icy water.
3. We all know that Frozen fresh tomatoes are perfect for all those cold-weather soups, stews, and chili.
4. Freezing your tomatoes is the best way to preserve your tomatoes and avoid waste. Freezing tomatoes helps to prevent waste.
Cons of freezing the tomatoes
1. Frozen tomatoes don’t hold their texture once thawed. Sorry if you’re expecting a firm tomato for a tomato sandwich or plump tomatoes for a salad, that will not be possible with frozen tomatoes.
Thawed tomatoes will be mushy and not as pleasant to eat plain as it is when it’s fresh.
2. Frozen tomatoes are only best to be used in a stew and other recipes requiring tomatoes e.g soups, chilis, casseroles, stews, sauces).
3. When you have a small freezer you may not have room for bags of frozen tomatoes. However, if you freeze them flat you’ll be able to stack the bags and save on freezer space.
Preserving your tomatoes is by drying them
Drying tomatoes is easy, economical, and a good way to save some of summer’s bounty if you’re running out of room in your freezer or on your pantry shelf.
The idea is simple: remove water from the tomatoes to preserve them.
– Firstly you’ll need to wash your tomatoes and then with a very sharp knife, slice the tomatoes in half top to bottom. After that cut out the stem and the brown part where the stem connects to the tomato.
You must use your fingers to scoop out as many seeds as you can. However, you don’t need to remove every seed, but they will be extra crunchy when dried. Then the next step is to lay the tomatoes on a dehydrator tray cut-side up.
If you place the tomatoes cut-side down, they may stick to the tray, making them difficult to turn. Pack them in close together, as they will reduce in size by quite a bit.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can place your tomatoes on a baking sheet to go in the oven.
Make sure you dehydrate the tomatoes at 135 °F (57 °C). So you must set the tray in the dehydrator, and turn it on. Let the tomatoes dehydrate at this temperature for about 4 hours before checking on them.
When dying your tomatoes using the oven then you must set the temperature at 150 °F (66 °C). Strictly use an oven thermometer to make sure the tomatoes stay at this temperature.
You must then turn the tomatoes after 3-4 hours by using a spatula to flip the tomatoes over. Also, turn the trays around the other direction, as most dehydrators and ovens do not cook evenly across the whole space.
– You must remove the tomatoes as they dry to a leather-like texture. When you turn your tomatoes, check to see if any are dry. They should be soft and bendable, but not so dry that they’re brittle.
After you have finished the whole process, the tomatoes shouldn’t feel sticky and should not squish out any moisture when you squeeze them.
If any tomatoes get too crispy, you can grind them up for tomato powder instead. Mix the powder with water to make tomato paste!
After you’re done dying your tomatoes make sure to store them in the refrigerator or freezer, place them in a zip-top bag and squeeze any extra air out.
It’s advised to put them in the refrigerator for up to a month or stick them in the freezer. You can as well store the tomatoes in oil, to do so you must Sterilize a mason jar by boiling it for 10 minutes.
Let the jar dry. Dip the tomatoes in red wine vinegar, then add the tomatoes to the jar. Pour oil (such as olive oil) over the tomatoes until they are completely submerged. Keep the jar in a cool, dark place.
When taking tomatoes out, make sure the remaining tomatoes are still submerged in the oil.
Pros of drying tomatoes
1. Dried tomatoes take less storage space than other preserved tomatoes
2. Dried tomatoes are expensive in stores but cheap to process at home
3. Dried tomatoes add a gourmet touch to dishes
4. Dried tomatoes take no special equipment to produce (unless you choose to use a dehydrator)
Cons of drying tomatoes
1. It takes longer to dry tomatoes than to freeze them
2. Dried tomatoes need to be reconstituted before using
3. The last way we have listed here is by roasting the tomatoes.
– With this method, firstly you must wash your tomatoes thoroughly and then dry them with a paper towel after that preheat your oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
After you have done that the next step is to line several baking trays with aluminum foil make sure you grease the foil with olive oil.
Then the next step is to cut your tomatoes in half from top to bottom and squeeze the tomato seeds out into a bowl or remove them with a tsp and then place the tomatoes on the foil-lined tray with the cut side up.
Season your tomatoes with olive oil. Sea salt, black pepper, basil, oregano or other Italian spices. And then Bake the tomatoes for approximately 50 minutes.
They should be completely cooked, but not burned. Meanwhile, if you want to use the seeds and juice, you can cook them on the stove for five minutes. Remove the tomatoes.
Place them in a large bowl. Pour in the tomato juice and seeds, if you choose and finally Stir with a wooden spoon. Place them in freezer bags in individual servings or can them. Be sure to label and date them.