Dear Lynne,

Can you freeze tomatoes? My mom thinks I have to can them, which I cannot bear in this heat.

-Suzanne in Madison, WI

Dear Suzanne,

Naysayers claim tomatoes are slimy when frozen, believing the fruit demands some cooking (as in the canning process) to develop the proper texture. Freezer fans state it's safer (especially with today's low-acid tomatoes), flavors are better, and mushy tomatoes make no difference in most recipes.

I recommend the laziest kind of freezing. Wash tomatoes, cut away cores, crowd into heavy plastic freezer bags, and freeze. One-quart bags hold about a pound of tomatoes, which roughly equals a 14-ounce can of store-bought tomatoes. Defrost them in the bag. An added bonus is that the skins slip off effortlessly as the tomatoes go into the pot.

(A word of caution: It is essential that you start with superb-tasting, ripe, blemish-free tomatoes. This means under no circumstances should you ever buy without sampling first.)

-Lynne

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.