Yes, you can freeze delicious summer tomatoes and use them for sauce the following April!
I had cored, blanched and frozen (but not peeled) about 1.5 lbs of San Marzano tomatoes (click for more specific how-tos of what I call “Lazy Preserves”) from Restoration Farm last summer when I just couldn’t figure out what to do with all that lycopene bounty and was — gasp! — almost sick and tired of summer tomatoes.
They were in the back of my freezer in a freezer bag (suffering a bit of freezer burn, I must admit) and I decided that now was the time to see how they had fared.
The other day I knocked off some — but not all — the ice crystals that had formed and put them in a soup pot and simmered them down to about a pint that was more paste than liquid, removing the peels as they separated from the flesh. Today I took that pint to a friend’s house and we used it for the base of a bruschetta/pizza toast dish that pleased adults and kids alike. It was dense and sweet with a balance of acidity — in short, everything you want from tomato sauce — and since it was organic and local — there was nothing you don’t want in it (even the freezer burn didn’t matter).
Here is the quickie recipe with tinned tomato substitute:
Tasty Tomato Paste Topping
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 pint homemade tomato paste (or a 28 oz canned of pureed tomatoes)
five large fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs dry red wine (or whatever you have open, really)
Salt to taste
Warm the oil in a saucepan. Add the smashed garlic and cook at medium low turning cloves until they are uniformly golden brown. Remove cloves and discard (or rub the insides on toast for bruschetta), Add tomato paste or puree and basil leaves. Bring to a simmer and add the tablespoon of wine and salt to taste. Simmer until the sauce reaches desired thickness (at least 15 minutes to incorporate flavors). Serve over pasta, or on toasted bread. Top with olives, grated mozzarella or parmigiano reggiano, minced fresh basil, or other pizza-loving ingredients.