A Bountiful “First” Harvest of Tomatoes of All Varieties!!


We have been so blessed this spring and summer with weekly rain showers, so our gardens are just thriving….it’s been hard on the roses unfortunately, so I’m researching the various ways to get rid of black spot, thrip, rust, and Japanese beetles (June bugs). Roses are a challenge in the South with all of our humidity [but that helps keep us so young looking right :-)].

So I just wanted to give you an update on my tomato bounty thus far. And this is just the second week of fully ripened tomatoes in our garden. The plants are literally drooping due to the excessive weight. The tomatoes are HUGE! Especially the “Beef Masters” and “Beef Steaks”!

Now you’re probably thinking, “gosh what is that woman going to do with all those tomatoes if this is just the beginning of the harvest”?
Well, every year W.D. and I do several things with the tomatoes. Obviously the first thing that we do is make many lunches of BL & T (bacon, lettuce & tomato) sandwiches. So very simple and so very good! Then I use a lot of them (any size, any variety) in fresh pasta sauces, as well as fresh salads. Besides using them fresh, we either freeze tomatoes to add into our homemade Bolognese tomato sauce or we use them in our homemade salsa (we can the salsa). Every year, each member of our huge family asks for a few cans of our salsa, so I take those back to the Midwest during my annual family visits. My sister demands a can or two before I can even enter her house! My sister is a serious salsa fan!

How to Freeze Fresh Tomatoes
  • In a VERY large, deep pot, fill with water about 2/3rds full. Have a second pot of ICE water near the sink!
  • Bring the water in the pot on the stove to a rolling boil.
  • Slowly and carefully place the tomatoes into the boiling water. You can use a large slotted ladle/spoon to put them in the water with.
  • Watch them carefully!As soon as the skin SPLITS on the tomato (about 1 minute!) . . . remove them immediately! You want the tomatoes to stop cooking!
  • With a slotted ladle/spoon or hand strainer, remove the tomatoes and place them in the ICE water pot.
  • Remove the tomatoes from the ice water when they are comfortable to handle and then peel off the skins.
  • Place the whole, skinless tomatoes in a freezer quality plastic bag (I use Ziploc Freezer bags). Freeze a variety of sized bag-fulls of tomatoes.
  • Place in the freezer.
That’s all that I do and it works every time!! Nothing difficult and we get to enjoy fresh tomatoes every month of the year. You can REALLY tell the difference in your recipes when you use FRESH (thawed) tomatoes! Plus, tasting a little bit of summer freshness in the middle of winter makes you really appreciate summer’s bounty, the love and care that you put into the garden, and builds your anticipation for the next spring garden!