Cherry tomatoes are a staple in many household kitchens because they give the best tasting caprese that no other variety of tomato can.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you have them in the excess and are wondering how to keep them for long so winter doesn’t end up boring!
Thankfully, it’s possible to keep cherry tomatoes for long so you can enjoy them whenever you like.
You may choose to preserve them at room temperature by keeping them away from the sun with the vine side facing down because it retains the most moisture that way, can them into jars and containers after peeling off their skins, dehydrate them by drying under the sun, or better still, you can freeze them.
Of all the preservative methods outlined above, freezing is the only method that preserves your cherry tomatoes raw and at the same time retains a good percentage of their color, taste, and texture.
Below we discuss extensively on how you can freeze cherry tomatoes for as long as six months in their different shapes and sizes.
Cherry tomatoes can be frozen for up to 6 months in their whole states or when slices into strips or cubes and packaged properly inside a vapor and moisture proof bag.
In the refrigerator, cherry tomatoes should never be kept for longer than 3 days!
Freezing cherry tomatoes
You don’t need to peel cherry tomatoes before freezing to avoid waste, you also don’t need to blanch them (which is a technique mostly used to preserve the texture and color of greens such as veggies and herbs).
To freeze cherry tomatoes as a whole or sliced, first spread them onto a cookie sheet and turn them to compact blocks in the freezer and then transfer the individual tomatoes into an airtight packaging and freeze.
When it comes to storage, freezing isn’t the only option you have as you can refrigerate too, but for no longer than three days. And make sure the tomatoes are fully ripened otherwise they may never ripen after their chilling time in the fridge!
Freezing cherry tomatoes can easily be done via the following steps;
• Step 1: Carefully select ripe, unblemished cherry tomatoes.
• Step 2: Remove any stem remnants from the cherry tomatoes.
• Step 3: Thoroughly wash the cherry tomatoes in a bowl and drain them in a colander.
• Step 4: Use a paper towel to dry the cherry tomatoes very well to prevent them from trading most of their texture for mush after thawing.
• Step 5: Chop into pieces if you want to freeze them in slices or leave them as a whole.
• Step 6: Place the cherry tomatoes on a clean baking sheet arranging them in rows in one layer to avoid contact and clumping with each other.
• Step 7: Place the baking sheet in the freezer to freeze the cherry tomatoes for about one to two hours until they become solid.
• Step 8: Remove the baking sheet from the freezer.
• Step 9: Transfer the cherry tomatoes into an airtight container.
• Step 10: Label the bag or container with the name of the item and date of storage and place in the freezer for up to six month.
Packaging for cherry tomatoes
Packaging isolates tomatoes from air which littles the chances of oxygen getting to them and causing color and textural changes.
The technical term for this is “freezer burn” and if you’ve ever consumed a thawed tomato part having literally no taste at all, then that’s freezer burn you witnessed there!
The following packaging are best for freezing cherry tomatoes;
1. Freezer bags
Freezer bag is a bag designed specifically for freezing items and it helps to prevent freezer burn. It is very affordable and available in a lot of stores.
It enables you to store your cherry tomatoes in it for as long as six months, all you have to do is make sure you expel as much air as you can before sealing it.
Expelling the air from the freezer bag is also possible using a straw (using a sucking action) or a vacuum-sealer automatically expel all the air in the bag creating a vacuum condition.
2. Plastic containers
Plastic freezer containers are another good option for freezing cherry tomatoes. When using them, ensure to leave head space to accomodate the expansion of tomatoes that will happen during freezing.
3. Glass containers
These a rigid containers made from tempered glass that is safe for freezer storage. This also presents a reliable way to store tomatoes.
How to use frozen cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes often lose their shape and become softer after freezing. Thus, frozen cherry tomatoes can’t make the best salads but do very well in stew and sauces.
To use frozen cherry tomatoes, first defrost them in the refrigerator for some hours or overnight before you go ahead to cook them.
Thawing cherry tomatoes in the refrigerator is better than leaving them to thaw at normal temperature in a bowl on a countertop because thawing in the refrigerator reduces the chances of microorganisms multiplying in the cherry tomatoes and thus delay the spoiling of the cherry tomatoes.
Also, thawing in the refrigerator is slow, giving enough time for some of the moisture to be absorbed back into the vegetable, compared to fast thawing that loses the water content of the cherry tomatoes, altering their texture.
Steps to use frozen cherry tomatoes;
• Step 1: Take the exact amount of cherry tomatoes you need from the freezer bag or container and seal them back immediately to prevent air and moisture from entering. An alternative to this is to pre package the exact quantity of tomatoes you’ll be using in separate bags so you simply reach out and grab from the freezer without having to return it back.
• Step 2: Place the cherry tomatoes in the refrigerator to thaw for hours.
• Step 3: Take the cherry tomatoes out of the refrigerator and use them to prepare your delicious meals.
How to freeze cherry tomatoes juice
Tomatoes juice made from cherry tomatoes can be stored in the freezer for months by packaging in a well-sealed container.
How to freeze cherry tomatoes juice:
• Step 1: Allow tomato juice to cool for a few minutes. You can use the ice bath technique to cool a large batch of tomato juice faster.
• Step 2: Place in a well-sealed packaging or container.
• Step 3: Label the jar or container and place in the freezer.
Thaw cherry tomato juice in the refrigerator.
How to freeze roasted cherry tomatoes
Roasted cherry tomatoes are very delicious and bring out the flavor and taste of cherry tomatoes.
Roasted cherry tomatoes can be frozen for as long as six months by first flash freezing them in the freezer on a baking tray then transferring into an airtight bag or container to freeze indefinitely or for months on end.
Steps in freezing roasted cherry tomatoes;
• Step 1: Wash the cherry tomatoes properly in a bowl of clean water.
• Step 2: Roast the cherry tomatoes with your favorite recipes.
• Step 3: Allow to cool and spread on a cookie tray to avoid contact with each other.
• Step 4: Place the cookie tray in the freezer for a few hours for the roasted cherry to become solid to avoid clumping.
• Step 5: Remove the roasted cherry tomatoes from the cookie tray and place them in airtight bags or containers and label them with the date and name.
• Step 6: Put the packaged roasted cherry in the freezer again to freeze for as long as 5 months.
To use the frozen roasted cherry tomatoes after freezing, defrost them in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Then bring to room temperature and use as an ingredient for your favorite meals.
Note, it is very important to bring chilled tomatoes to room temperature first before using to reap the most in the flavor department.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you season cherry tomatoes before freezing?
Yes, you can season cherry tomatoes before freezing, however, this is not advisable because at freezing temperature, the flavors of some seasonings like onions and other spices can be strengthened or loosened, which can then alter the taste and flavor of the cherry tomatoes.
Therefore, the seasoning of cherry tomatoes is best done after freezing and thawing for a fresh delicious taste.
Can you freeze cooked cherry tomatoes?
Yes cooked cherry tomatoes can be frozen in an airtight bag or container. Cherry tomatoes that have been cooked before freezing have a better taste after defrosting than those frozen raw.
Steps in freezing cooked cherry tomatoes;
• Step 1: Chop the cooked cherry tomatoes into pieces (if you like) or leave whole.
• Step 2: Cool cherry tomatoes for no longer than 2 hours on the counter (use the ice bath technique to cool cooked cherry tomatoes faster).
• Step 4: Place in a resealable bag and freeze for upto 4 months.
To use frozen cooked cherry tomatoes, first defrost in a refrigerator and heat them up in a non-stick skillet after which you can use them for your delicious meals like noodles, spaghetti, vegetable pasta bake, and stew. Alternative to heating them up is to let them sit at counter until they get to room temperature.
Freezing cherry tomatoes is the surest way to preserve the cherry tomatoes for long — as long as six months or even more. It helps to preserve the nutritional value, texture, and flavor of the cherry tomatoes.
Freezing cherry tomatoes is done without blanching by first solidifying them in a cookie sheet and placing them in a resealable bag or container.
Cherry tomatoes can be frozen as a whole, sliced, cooked, and roasted, for as much as six months. Also, cherry tomatoes juice can be frozen by storing it in a jar or container for the same duration of time.