Reader question… “Is it really possible to freeze whole raw tomatoes for winter salads and have them be almost like fresh? I keep seeing instructions for doing this but the tomatoes I froze raw and whole last year were a watery mess after they were defrosted.” –Ava H.
The answer to your question is yes and no… yes, it is possible to freeze whole raw tomatoes… but no, after they thaw the tomatoes will not be like fresh tomatoes (as so many people seem to be implying). Most whole tomatoes are 93 to 95 percent water… Roma tomatoes have less water, about 85 percent… but unfortunately, all frozen tomatoes collapse into a lot of liquid and a surprisingly small amount of mushy pulp after they have thawed.
Some people recommend eating the previously frozen tomato while it is still in a half-frozen state. Others suggest freezing slices of raw tomato (instead of the whole tomato) and eating them in the same half-frozen state. It’s true that the uncooked tomato pulp will have a fresher taste than a canned tomato, for example, but the texture and aesthetics of a previously frozen and defrosted raw tomato will certainly be very different from a tomato that has not been frozen. Your experience was very typical, I think.
Have you tried holding over green tomatoes so they ripen during the winter months? Tomatoes ripened this way really DO taste almost as good as tomatoes fresh from the garden.