I have a couple goals for the tomatoes that I grow.
- Have enough to eat fresh.
- Preserve some into salsa, pasta sauce or other tomato products.
Last year I didn’t have enough to do much preserving, so I blanched, peeled and froze some Romas that I used later in chili.
A few weeks ago I had a whole pile of tomatoes ripening on the counter and realized I needed to do something with them. Finally, I had enough to make salsa!
I still didn’t feel like I had enough to make canning worth my while, so I went the freezing route. (Plus we have a gigantic freezer in our basement, so freezer space isn’t really a limiting factor.)
I found what looked like a great freezer salsa recipe online, and went to work. I had about 8 lb of tomatoes between the fresh tomatoes I had from this year and some frozen ones from last, so I halved the recipe.
The salsa turned out amazingly. We used homegrown tomatoes, garlic and jalapeños. We also added some serranos which made the salsa a little spicier than I love, so next time I’d leave them out.
Can you freeze in canning jars?
Yes, if you use the right ones.
a) Only use wide-mouth canning jars. The necks of tapered jars are a weak spot that can crack under pressure from expanding liquid.
b) Freeze in pint-sized jars or smaller. Quart-sized jars contain too much liquid which will expand when it freezes. Stick to pints or half pints. I learned this the hard way last year after I froze some homegrown tomato carrot basil soup, and the tapered-neck quart jar cracked and sliced my finger open.
c) Allow yourself plenty of headspace for the liquid to expand.
I prefer glass to plastic, so I freeze in canning jars. Plus, when I finally get around to canning I’ll have quite a stash of jars to use.
Freezer salsa is a great alternative to canned salsa if you’re not trained in how to can safely or if you don’t have mountains of tomatoes all at one time.
We really, really like this recipe, and assuming all goes well with our tomatoes in the next few days, I’ll be making another batch on the weekend.