There are several ways to preserve tomatoes for a long time:
- Canning: Tomatoes can be canned using a pressure canner to make them shelf-stable for up to a year. This method is best for tomatoes that are fully ripe. The process involves washing and peeling the tomatoes, then packing them into jars and covering them with hot liquid (usually water or tomato juice) and sealing them with lids and rings.
- Freezing: Tomatoes can be frozen whole or diced. They should be washed, peeled and diced, then placed in airtight containers or freezer bags and stored in the freezer. Frozen tomatoes will keep for several months.
- Drying: Tomatoes can be dried either in the sun or in a dehydrator. This method works best for Roma or plum tomatoes. They should be washed, cored, and cut into slices or chunks, then placed on drying racks or trays and left to dry until they are leathery. Once dry, they can be stored in airtight containers.
- Fermenting: Tomatoes can be fermented to make a tangy, flavorful condiment. They should be washed and cut into chunks, then mixed with salt and spices (such as garlic, onion, and chili pepper) and left to ferment for several days. Once fermented, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Refrigerating: Tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week if they are not fully ripe. They should be kept in a paper bag or a container with a lid to help them ripen.
It’s important to note that the best way to preserve tomatoes is to store them at the right temperature. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature or slightly above until they are fully ripe, then they can be stored in the refrigerator or preserved using one of the methods above.