[The following is from our friend Dave at Meh.]
My father-in-law enjoys gardening. In fact, every year, his garden's output ticks up little by little, and now, he grows more than he could ever use himself, and so he gives much of it away to friends and family. That means, when we visit in the summer, we get sent home with three or four boxes of whatever's ready for picking.
Well, this year, our visits didn't coincide with tomato season. Which is a bummer, because we love to make fresh tomato sauce. We asked if he wouldn't mind freezing some for us so we could make sauce and soup all winter. He said he had a lot, so how much did we want? We said, however much he could give us, we'd take!
Welp, here's a picture of the inside of our big basement freezer right now:
And that's one shelf. There are many, many more all packed with vacuum-sealed, frozen tomatoes.
Also, some peppers:
Now, will these tomatoes and peppers thaw into perfectly plump peak-of-the-season versions of themselves? Absolutely not. But again, they're gonna go into tomato sauce or tomato soup or salsa. We're grinding them up is what I'm saying. So who cares what they look like!
And that tomato sauce? We'll use it to make some lasagna, and we'll cut the leftovers into slices, vacuum seal them individually, and freeze them. Or we'll have it with spaghetti and meatballs, the excess of which we'll also vacuum seal and freeze. And that aforementioned salsa? It'll be perfect with the carnitas or beef barbacoa that we'll make big batches of, portion out, vacuum seal, and freeze.
Look, having a stocked freezer just makes life easier, because when it's 4pm and you're like, "Wait, what's for dinner tonight?" the answer isn't "Takeout" or "Oh, crap, I'll rush to the store and get something simple to make." It's, "I'll grab something delicious and ready-to-go from the freezer."
And if you want to stock a freezer, you're gonna want a good vacuum sealer. Like this one.