Whether you’re growing a few tomato plants or a greenhouse full of them, ending up with a few over-ripe, bruised, or split tomatoes is inevitable. As we continue to grow our CSA family, the number of tomatoes we need each week grows exponentially. Consequently, we also end up with more of those “so-so” tomatoes. Last year the number of overripe tomatoes was a little overwhelming. We froze SO MANY, but, still at the end of the day, some ended up going into our compost pile.
However, now that we have a fully functioning farm kitchen, we’re able to process imperfect tomatoes and put them to good use! My personal favorite preserving method is to quarter, core, and roast my tomatoes. I throw them on a sheet pan, roast at 450 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour, toss them in a freezer bag, write the weight on it, and BAM. Preserved tomatoes. This not only makes them easy to peel, but it also reduces the liquid content, meaning they can be used as substitutes for canned tomatoes. If you feel like skipping a step, you can also just freeze them as is. Although if you choose not to roast the tomatoes, you will probably have to increase the cooking time in your recipe to get rid of excess liquid.
One more tip from Julie: This is especially for CSA members. Let’s say you have one tomato each week that you can’t eat and is getting overripe. Keep a freezer bag in your freezer designated for these tomatoes, adding overripe tomatoes as needed. You end up skipping the roasting step Casey describes, but it’s generally not worth it to roast one tomato at a time. In the winter, you can still use these tomatoes in your recipes!
Roasted and Frozen Tomatoes
- sheet pans
- cutting board
- 5 lbs tomatoes quartered with all blemishes and hard parts cut off
- Heat your oven to 450 F. Spread tomatoes out on two sheet pans. Roast for 40 minutes to an hour or until tomatoes are tender and just starting to brown, rotating pans half-way through baking.
- Let cool. Remove skins if desired. Freeze in freezer bags labeled with date and weight for easy use.