Is there anyway I can pick my peppers and tomatoes now and freeze them immediately for later use to make hot sauces and tomato sauces? I am trying to find the most efficient way to process my pepper and tomato harvest.
The pepper stems and seeds would be removed, the tomatoes would be halved and cores removed before freezing in vacuum bags. Once I have enough peppers and tomatoes, I would thaw them and make hot sauce and tomato sauce respectively. Furthermore, I want to smoke my peppers to make chipotles (for chipotle hot sauce), however it is not really efficient to smoke 2 pounds of peppers every couple of days. I would like to smoke all 20+ pounds of peppers all at once. Its just that 20+ pounds of peppers don't ripen all at once.
I have several pepper varieties I use to make hot sauce and I have a couple different paste tomato varieties to make tomato sauce. I do not have enough peppers and tomatoes to pick right now, but over the next 3-4 weeks I will have over 100 pounds of tomatoes and over 20 pounds of peppers to harvest.
I know the peppers and tomatoes will be soft when thawed, I am worried that the tomatoes may taste sour due to the freeze. I am not sure how the peppers will take the smoke flavor when soft. I was considering dehydrating the ripe peppers as I pick them over the next few weeks. But when I want to smoke them, the dehydrated peppers might not take the smoke flavor. If I had to rehydrate the peppers before smoking, the "waterlogged" peppers might not take the smoke flavor.
I understand the flavor will not be the same as making sauce with fresh produce. It just doesn't make sense to make small sauce batches every 3 days for the next 3-4 weeks.
Let me know if you have any suggestions or how I should tackle this feat in a different way that I may not have even considered. There has to be an easier way to accomplish this. If I must freeze the produce, I would greatly prefer to freeze them the same day I harvest versus picking everyday for a week then a big freeze on the weekend. Those peppers I picked on Monday might start to soften by the weekend.
All sauces will be canned and spend 30 minutes in a boiling water bath.