Freezing whole tomatoes works great in some cases, but varieties of tomatoes with thick skins, such as the Roma, will ruin stews, sauces and dips with their excess flesh. Blanching tomatoes is more complicated and time-consuming than freezing them whole, but they often retain more flavor after freezing than their whole-hided kin. In the end, we think the end result is worth the extra time investment.
To blanch tomatoes, you'll need:
- a clean cutting board
- a sharp paring knife
- a pair of tongs or a large slotted spoon
- a large pot of ice-cold water
- a saucepan with enough water to cover a few tomatoes at once
If you have a fryer basket that will fit inside both the saucepan and the pot of cold water, you can use that instead of the tongs or spoon.
Begin by bringing the water in the saucepan to a boil. While you're waiting, remove the stem scar from the top of each tomato, then make a small X- or cross-shaped incision on the underside of each one. Drop the tomatoes, three or four at a time, into the boiling water. It should only take a little while for the skin to soften (typically between 10 seconds and a minute, depending on the size consistency of the tomatoes).
After the tomatoes' skin becomes loose or pliable, remove them from the saucepan and promptly submerge the entire batch into the ice water. Keep them submerged for a few seconds -- long enough to cool -- then peel the tomatoes by hand or with the knife. Start peeling the tomatoes from the incision you created earlier and work your way up. Place the blanched tomatoes on a paper towel or clean cloth to dry. Then, put them on a cookie sheet and follow the steps for freezing whole tomatoes.