We’ve had a great tomato year–about as good as it gets in Seattle. A hot summer, and warmth into the beginning of October (last year the green tomatoes practically withered on the vine in early August). But autumn is truly with us now, and as I pick tomatoes this Harvest Moon morning, it is with the bittersweet realization that this is the end of the harvest. Still, there are more cherry tomatoes left today than we can possibly eat.
This year I tried a new freezing technique, inspired by June (my rural soul-sister) and her beautiful blog, Four Green Acres. The tomatoes are halved, doused with a lovely herbed olive oil mixture, and roasted. I’ve fixed cherry tomatoes this way before–SO delicious on salads, or on sandwiches with crusty bread (try then on ciabatta, with romaine doused in fresh caesar dressing–heaven). But I’d never thought to freeze them. Here’s what you do:
Rinse the cherry tomatoes, and halve them, then scoop out the really juicy-seedy stuff (save it in a bowl for the chickens–they’ll love you forever). We find that the small end of a melon baller works great for this part. Spread them, cut-side-up, on a baking sheet. Claire prepares the tomatoes while I start on the olive oil potion. Her comment: “I feel like Laura Ingalls. I come home from school, do my homework, and now I’m Putting Up Food for the Winter.”
For one baking sheet of tomatoes I mix: about 1/3 cup olive oil; 1 large clove of garlic, minced; a couple teaspoons of chopped thyme (oregano and basil, or a mixture, would also be good–use whatever’s growing in your garden).
Use a pastry brush to spread the olive oil over the tomatoes, then sprinkle with your best sea salt, a small handful of finely grated reggiano parmesan, and a dusting of fresh ground pepper.
Roast in a 300 degree oven for–well, it depends. You want that tasty roasted flavor, and the tomatoes should start to color and dry just a bit. But you still want them somewhat moist and certainly not dehydrated. Start checking them after half an hour, and use your best judgement. They shouldn’t roast more than an hour.
Let them cool before gently packing them into freezer jars. They can be plucked out a few at a time for tossing on salads, or nibbled whenever you need a sunny taste of summer in the dark of winter. The only problem I have is eating too many of them before they make it to the freezer…
For a slightly different method, see June’s beautifully-photographed instructions. She is not as lazy as I am, so she stirs the salt, pepper, and parmesan into the olive oil mixture, and spoons it into every individual little tomato. So yummy.
Happy Harvest Moon.
I just stumbled upon your blog. Beautiful. We live in Kent, Wa – we have six hens in our backyard and a garden too. Love what you are doing!
Thank you Denise!
Thanks for another great tip. But why remove the innards? I had heard that all tomato tastiness was in the seeds and that jelly stuff around them. Not so?
Good question. I never remove the seeds when I serve tomatoes fresh–you’re right, it’s all tasty and nourishing. But when they are roasted the seeds can become a little bitter, and when tomatoes are frozen and unfrozen, the juices can make them over-sloppy. But we’re not manic about it–ours remain a little seedy and juicy before we pop them in the oven.
I would love to give this a shot as we grow grape and cherry tomatoes, but I have never had a surplus. The kids usually eat them off the plants before I get home from work.
Any reason this wouldn’t work with larger varieties?
Hi Tim. You can definitely roast larger tomatoes this way, but the beauty of the cherry tomatoes is their sweetness, and their self-contained size. They work great for the freezer because you can just pull a few out at a time, like berries. But surely you could freeze larger roasted tomatoes and use them in other ways–soups and such. Enjoy!
So delighted that you tried the tomato nuggets, Lyanda! I do have to laugh, though: You call yourself lazy because you don’t do the whole spooning-in of cheese and herbs. But I’m inclined to think you just have better time-management skills. Oh how I wrestle to find enough time.
It’s so great to be nesting together — from opposite ends of the country.
Indeed! Thank you for all the inspiration June!
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Great idea! I have given up on growing regular tomatoes as fruit fly is so bad in my area – so I only grow cherry tomatoes . I’ll definitely try this recipe this season.
I found your website in the middle of summer when I was pleasantly inendated with a variety of cherry tomatoes. Not wanting to just give these little babies away since I wanted to have some during the winter months, I wondered if there was a way to preserve them without the hassel of canning. This preparation has been such a find!! I was wondering if they were going to make it into the freezer. They are so very flavorful. Thank you for sharing.
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Will freezer bags work the same?
Hi Andrea, I assume freezer bags would work fine, but when the tomatoes “unfreeze” they are kind of squishy, so a jar keeps them tidy–you can easily pop a few out to toss on a salad, or put a jar in the fridge to use over a few days.
Thanks I will keep them that in mind. Tomatoes are roasting as I type and they looke great! Have a blessed day!
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I have many things to say this year as I have TONS of cherry tomatoes in BELLEVUE WA.
For the fruit fly person that gave up… I finally had it with FRUIT flys. I did a fund raiser this year to buy an ipad for a little boy with autism. I baked 52 blackberry pies ( yes by myself ) and made enough to buy him an ipad and donate the rest to FEAT of washington. In the process of this I had a battle with the fruit flys of the world. I WON! I got an idea to go get traps and was not happy with the money they cost… so I made my own. I bought a product called “stick-em” mouse glue traps. I got a canning jar put some red wine in it and two cherry tomatoes that I cut open. I took the sticky traps and rubbed them on the top of the jar. ( DO NOT TOUCH THE STUFF>>> IT is hard to get off – olive oil works) OMG…. I caught so many fruit flys that I no longer am going crazy!!!!
I decided to start planting tomatoes this year in my house by seed in February. I got so very tired of my seedlings that I put them outside a bit early. I did not think I would get many cherry tomatoes… I have SOOO many now my neighbors avoid me. The tomato plants took over my yard! I can send picks if you want to see them!
I guess I have a green thumb!!!!!!
I came to this site to find out how to freeze cherry tomatoes… as I have hundreds!!!!
Happiness and success to you all!!
Did them last year. Going out today to pick tomatoes and do it again. Use them all year long and give them as presents.
Just found this recipe while trying to figure out something I could do with the quarts of cherry tomatoes I have that split one after recent hard rains. They aren’t even making it out of the oven, let alone to the freezer! Every time I “check on them” I have to taste a few…you know, to see if they are done 😉
Thank you for this lovely idea! I am going to use your recipe today.
My garden gave me loads and loads and loads beautiful little cherry tomatoes and now I have something useful to do with them!! Thank you!
Hi from Sydney, Australia. Just found your site when I was looking for what to do with a glut of cherry tomatoes from my son’s place. Tomatoes are roasting as I type and the house smells wonderful. Thankyou for your recipe!
Thank you for sharing your recipe and beautiful pictures! Our first garden yielded lots of extra cherry tomatoes and your recipe was exactly what we needed.
Do you have any good recipes for banana and jalapeno peppers?
You sell yourself short. This is the most amazing recipe for tomatoes I have ever tasted. People commented on how difficult it was to stay away from them. I get it. The pan was half eaten in 5 min. I live in Minnesota and this was will be an absolute delight this winter. Thanks for the great description and pictures.
Do you have printer friendly versions of your recipes?
how long will these stay good in the ice box?
Thank you for the receipe, am trying this as I type. Smells wonderful!
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