Cherry tomatoes are convenient to have in your pantry because they are easy to prepare and consume and they work well with many different foods. If you end up having more tomatoes than you anticipated, you can consider freezing them. It's one way to preserve their quality while extending their lifespan. We researched what you need to know about freezing cherry tomatoes, and here's what we gathered.
Freezing cherry tomatoes entails a few simple steps. It's just as easy as it sounds. Here's what you should do:
- Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes thoroughly.
- Place them on a baking sheet and stick them in the freezer to freeze for a few hours.
- Transfer the frozen tomatoes to a container or bag and return them to the freezer.
Now that you know how easy it is to freeze cherry tomatoes, keep reading to get the more detailed steps, insight on storage length, and other freezing methods.
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Can You Freeze Fresh Cherry Tomatoes?
Yes, you can freeze your cherry tomatoes fresh. Whole tomatoes are often peeled before freezing, but you don't have to do this with cherry tomatoes. You get to keep all their nutrients and retain the original taste. Simply storing them in a bag or container after preparing them will do.
Cherry tomatoes freeze well compared to other fruits and vegetables, but they lose their shape and are softer in texture the longer they are stored frozen. If they get too mushy, they would be best to use in recipes that require softened tomatoes. These shouldn't be used as an alternative for whole fresh tomatoes since the texture change is significant enough to make a difference.
The quality of food is at risk during lengthy periods of freezing. Placing them in tightly sealed containers is the key to keeping them at their best quality. Airtight containers prevent moisture, allowing the tomatoes to maintain their condition.
Steps In Freezing Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes go through two freezing processes. The first freeze is to make them solidify, while the second is for storage. A helpful tip is to make your tomatoes lay flat with enough room to set them apart during the first freeze. Keeping them separated will prevent them from sticking together.
Here's what you should do to freeze them:
- Take your cherry tomatoes and wash them well.
- Dry the tomatoes thoroughly. This prevents freezer burn.
- Lay them on a baking sheet or dish and store them until they completely freeze.
- Take them out and transfer them to a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container. Make sure to get rid of the air from the bag before sealing.
- Put them back in the freezer for future purposes.
Can You Freeze Roasted Cherry Tomatoes?
You can also freeze roasted cherry tomatoes whole. Roasting them adds to their flavor, so there's no need to take off the skin. The enhanced flavor from roasted cherry tomatoes stays when they are frozen.
There are fewer texture differences with frozen roasted cherry tomatoes as opposed to fresh ones. When using them for recipes like sauces, these changes won't be noticeable. You can thaw the tomatoes by chilling them in the fridge or leaving them out for a few hours.
Steps To Freeze Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Roasted cherry tomatoes go through a similar process with fresh cherry tomatoes when freezing. The only difference is how you should prepare them since they go through cooking first. Roasting requires you to slice the cherry tomatoes, so they are stored this way instead of whole.
- After roasting, let your tomatoes fully cool.
- Spread across a baking sheet and put the tomatoes in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours or until fully frozen.
- Once solid, transfer the roasted cherry tomatoes to a freezer bag or container, making sure no air is in the bag.
- You can use them after or store them back in the freezer for later use.
What Is The Best Way to Freeze Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are best when frozen whole. Freezing them whole requires less preparation compared to other methods. It saves you time and makes the process easier to complete.
There's no need to worry about the changes that occur in the fruit due to freezing because tomatoes freeze well. It's common for frozen fruit to change in taste and texture, but most of these changes aren't noticeable with cherry tomatoes unless you're using freshly picked ones.
You can also freeze cherry tomatoes through the following methods:
Freezing Cherry Tomatoes In Slices
For convenience, you can prepare your cherry tomatoes by cutting them into slices before popping them into the freezer. It usually lessens the work required when used for different dishes. It also makes them quick to use as an addition to your meal.
Freezing them goes through the same process as you would when whole. Try to keep the sliced cherry tomatoes dry with enough space to keep them apart during the first freeze. Tomatoes tend to become juicy when sliced, so giving each enough room is vital to keep them from freezing into a big chunk.
Blanching Cherry Tomatoes Before Freezing
You aren't required to blanch cherry tomatoes before freezing, but this is also one way you can do so. Whole tomatoes are commonly blanched when being prepared for specific recipes like sauces. Blanching gets rid of dirt, enhances color, and slows vitamin loss. It also helps in peeling tomato skin better.
If you'll be storing your tomatoes in the freezer for a couple of months, blanching them before freezing helps retain the freshness. On top of the effects of freezing, the natural enzymes that cause flavor and color loss will slow down in blanched cherry tomatoes. Blanching also softens them, and so they may become mushier after thawing.
Freezing Cherry Tomatoes Juiced
If your cherry tomatoes don't need to be whole, you can consider freezing them juiced. It makes them great to use in stews and sauces. Unlike freezing them whole or sliced, it wouldn't be an issue if the consistency is softer.
After making your tomato juice, let it cool before pouring it into a tightly sealed jar or container. You can prepare it the way you prefer before placing the tomato juice in the freezer. It includes taking out the pulps, skin, and seeds or seasoning them to enhance the flavor.
For How Long Can You Freeze Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes can stay frozen for up to a year, but they hold their best condition for up to 6 months of freezing. They usually start to lose their preserved flavors when they are left frozen for over 6 months. Freezing them past this mark doesn't cause them to spoil, but they won't have the same level of freshness.
Frozen cherry tomatoes go through texture changes after defrosting, especially from weeks or months of storage. The cherry tomatoes are often softer when thawed. When this happens, they won't work well for salads. But they would be good to use in soups, sauces, and other similar recipes.
How Do You Store Cherry Tomatoes Long-Term?
For long-term storage, cherry tomatoes can be either frozen, canned, or dried. These are popular methods when it comes to preserving the fruit for extended periods without damaging the quality. While you can expect changes, it's not enough to cause any unpleasant differences.
Freezing Cherry Tomatoes Long-Term
Freezing is known to be the easiest method of food preservation, especially for fresh produce. It slows down enzyme action, allowing frozen food to maintain its qualities for a longer time. Bacteria growth is also slower in colder temperatures, therefore, delaying spoilage.
This process doesn't affect the nutritional value of fresh cherry tomatoes unless you prepare them differently. Freezing won't result in nutrient loss, but it causes changes in physical properties. For cherry tomatoes, they would lose their firmness and sometimes would develop a rough texture.
Long-Term Storage For Canned Cherry Tomatoes
Canning is a classic option for preserving cherry tomatoes. It involves heating jars of food at a temperature that will destroy microorganisms. A vacuum seal forms after being cooled from the heating to prevent recontamination from the air. Canning tomatoes are also good in keeping them preserved when you don't have access to a freezer.
You would prepare the tomatoes through blanching and peeling after being cleaned. In the jar, it's vital to add citric acid or lemon juice to ensure the tomatoes will be safe for canning without spoiling. You can also add salt to the jar to enhance the flavor.
Drying Cherry Tomatoes For Storage
The best part about dehydrating cherry tomatoes is how it compresses the fruit's size while enhancing its taste. Since it shrinks the tomatoes, it allows more storage taking up as little space as possible. Note that the tomatoes will change in shape and texture during the process, making them less flexible to use for other dishes.
In comparison to freezing and canning, dried tomatoes have limited use in recipes. Dehydrating cherry tomatoes won't require equipment, but it takes a longer time for them to dry completely. However, it's a cheap option to consider if you're looking to save more space for long-time storage.
Cherry tomatoes can be frozen whole, sliced, or juiced by placing them in airtight containers. Freezing allows the fruit to lengthen its shelf life while staying in top shape. Like other fruits, they can be stored in the freezer for long-time use. There are also several ways you can preserve them when you can't freeze them.
You can read more about freezing other fruit and vegetables through the following: