Too many tomatoes and not enough time to eat them? The tried-and-true way of saving those end-of-the-season tomatoes is to purée them, then freeze in 1/2-cup portions. However, my friend Lee Janvrin taught me a neat trick and that's to freeze them whole. Yes, it’s true that chilling tomatoes reduces their flavor, but Lee’s frozen, vine-picked fruit are better by far than any wintertime, flavor-wimpy hothouse pretenders.
Here’s Lee’s technique: Place fresh-picked, ripe but firm tomatoes in a freezer-weight plastic bag and freeze until solid. If you want the tomatoes cored, do so before freezing, but don’t wash them. When ready to use, briefly run the frozen tomato under lukewarm (not hot!) water, which not only washes the tomato, but loosens the skin. Use your fingers or a paring knife to pull off the skin, then add the frozen tomato to a sauce, soup or any other dish where you would normally use puréed tomatoes (freezing breaks down the tomato’s cells so that they don’t hold their shape). One caveat: thawing the tomatoes before using them allows much of their juice to escape. By the way, I’ve since discovered another use for frozen tomatoes—they make a killer Bloody Mary!