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Tomatoes: Can I freeze tomatoes to use in pasta sauces or soups?

I just got an e-mail from Gloria entitled “Tomatoes Everywhere.” She explained that she was overwhelmed by the abundance of tomatoes her garden had produced and wondered if she could freeze some. I have had that problem myself (check out “Too Many Tomatoes”) and have been asked practically the same question in the past (see “What is the best way to store tomatoes?”). I suggest making a good pasta sauce and freezing it for quick meals later on but you could also just make the equivalent of canned tomatoes so you can use it in any recipe that calls for canned tomatoes. To do that, blanch and peel the tomatoes, cut them into 1-inch chunks and simmer them until they are tender and have released their juice. Cool the tomatoes to room temperature, add salt and pepper to taste, pack them in pint freezer containers and freeze. The equivalent of a 14 to 14 1/2 ounce can is 1 3/4 cups so if you pack that measured amount you can substitute them directly for a can of tomatoes in a recipe for sauce or soup. They would work well in my recipes for Southern Manhattan Corn Chowder or Annie’s Favorite Pasta.

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