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How To Freeze Tomatoes

>26 July 2012
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how to freeze tomatoes whole

Don’t you just wish you could get all of your tomatoes in at once? At least, the majority of them?

I know I do. That way I could make all of my sauces to can all at once.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Those ripe tomatoes come in a little here and a little there, at their leisure. And you can’t just collect them as they ripen and set them aside until you have enough to can, not unless you have a ton coming in at once. Inevitably, they’ll go bad.

Well, there’s an easy solution for this common problem… freeze them!

Here’s how to freeze tomatoes… simply clean them, core them, and remove any bad spots. Then fill a gallon freezer bag with the prepared tomatoes, as you get them in. When you have a couple of bags full, you’re ready to thaw them and cook them into your desired sauce.

That’s what I do, anyways.

I haven’t tried this for salsas… I don’t think the consistency would be right. But for tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, etc. It works perfectly. And I love the convenience of being able to process them in my own time.

How do you use your frozen tomatoes?

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56 Comments »

  • SJ Smith said:

    Thankyou for the idea. I wasn’t sure what to do with my tomatoes.

    Next year though, you might try planting some Determinate type of tomatoes for canning, and then some Indeterminate types for seasonal eating every day. Determinates are the types many commercial growers use. They produce all at once and only grow so high. Then you can rip them from the garden and use the space for something else… a Fall Garden perhaps. Indeterminates are the vining types that just keep producing, so long as the weather is compatible, giving you a few at a time. Most of the common home garden varieties are indeterminates. Most good seed catalogs will list the two types separately.

  • jessica said:

    Thanks for the post! I just picked three plastic grocery bags of romas from my and my friend’s garden and do not have the time to can them just yet due to my work schedule. This has relieved much stress!

  • Susan C. said:

    This is a great way to keep those tomatoes. I froze some last year and still have them in the freezer. I use them for sauces and chili. If you freeze them on a cookie sheet first they don’t stick together and then when you take them out of the freezer run them under warm water and the skins slip right off. You can also core them at that time too since they are hard.

  • ann said:

    I freeze them whole. It makes them so much easier to peel, once they thaw a little, and eliminates blanching to peel them. Sometimes, I even cut them in half when still a little frozen and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. It makes for a thicker sauce without having to cook as long.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    So glad I could help, Jessica!! :)

  • Erin Jan said:

    My mother in law made some salsa with my last years frozen tomatoes and it turned out great. I didn’t notice any difference in texture, but it was a liquid salsa and not a chunky one.

  • Carrie @ LPOHH said:

    My sister and I were just discussing this over the weekend while we were peeling peaches. We were wondering if peaches peeled as easily as tomatoes after they’ve been frozen. Ever tried freezing peaches with the skins on?

  • LindaG said:

    This is great. Thank you!

  • Debbie said:

    I blanch mine in semi-boiling water for just a few seconds, then dump them in an ice bath. The skins slide right off, I core them and bag them…….then no skin to have to deal with. I do it with Romas, Celebrity, Heirloom, you name it! Works great!

  • Kim said:

    I have an abundance of the small variety of tomatoes and I have been roasting them for canning and freezing. I simply wash them, cut them in half and place them in a “Pam sprayed” pan in the oven for 2 hours on 300 degrees. I place the cut side up. I run them through a food processor and add any seasonings we like and can them in jars.
    For pasta sauce I place blended tomatoes in a pot and add squash, ripe olives, onions, garlic and other seasonings; cook until added veggies are tender and place in quart jars. Place in hot water bath and seal. It’s yummy and very convenient!

  • Sheila M said:

    We make the tomato sauce and freeze in ice cream pails. Then as you want to make the various items, you can sauce ready to go (after thawing of course). This also means you can have “fresh” made items – spaggetti sauce is an example – nothing tastes as good as the fresh stuff… I have also cheated when I have run out of homemade sauce – you can buy the commercial cans of tomato sauce – Not quite as good as the home grown stuff, but when you add your own seasoning etc – the next best thing – and still cheaper than buying it.

  • Marilyn said:

    I don’t like the skins in whatever I make so I take those ripe tomatoes and drop them in boiling water for about 1 minute or until I see the skins split, scoop them out into a strainer and cool for a minute the the skins just slide right off, I core them, give them one squish, with my hand, into a baggie and freeze. Add to the baggie as I go along until full.

  • Tat Chase said:

    My solution to the problem has for many (40 or more) years been to wash the whole tomatoes, dry them, freeze them on a cookie sheet and then bag them. When I’m making a soup or a stew I just pop the whole tomatoes in and it works great. As for peeling and coring them – the skins pop in the heat of the dish you’re making and you can just pick them out. I don’t worry about the cores.
    If I have enough fruit at one time I do make my sauces and can them, but the whole tomato solution works for me when there aren’t enough to process at one time.

  • Joan Sholl Frncis said:

    Great idea; makes perfect sense. Thank you. I shared on my Fb page.

  • Marsha Cooper said:

    Until a couple of years ago I had no idea you could just cut the tomatoes and freeze them without having to do anything else with them. Sure made me feel like a dummy.
    They don’t go to waste here now!
    I’m already freezing them to use the rest of the year in stews, goulash and chili. Works great!

    If you don’t mind, would you link this post up with my Frugal Friday post that I just put up? Any of your other posts would be great to link up as well.

    I found your blog through a friend on facebook sharing this post.

  • Cindy C. said:

    I’ve done this whole for many years. Re: the peaches. Why not try it with one and see what happens?

  • Lesa said:

    Wow many thanks this is a great idea!!

  • Wende said:

    Can you ‘can’ tomatoes after they’ve been frozen ?

  • Sue said:

    I tried this last year for the first time. I didn’t have time to make a lot of sauce and didn’t want to lose the tomatoes. It worked great. I did freeze them whole an put them in freezer bags in the quantity I thought would work for one pot of sauce. I made sauce this spring from some of them and the sauce tasted so fresh. I am glad I did it and will probably do this again this year as I have a lot of green tomatoes and know they will not all ripen at once.

  • Sally said:

    My neighbor gave me lots of tomatos last year, days before going on vacation. I didn’t know what to do with them. so I blanched, skinned and squeezed the seeds out and froze them. When I told people I had frozen them, they all said the same thing ” Are you sure you can freeze them?”. They are in freezer bags but in a big lump, so I haven’t used any, as of yet! Glad to see that you can use frozen tomatos. Thanks for the post!

  • Jeanie said:

    I have done this for years. I just freeze them whole. I put them in my food mill after I’m done cooking them so the skin and seeds come out. freeze peppers and onions also. Then I have everything I need for sauce.

  • Leila B said:

    I blanch them in boiling water for a minute or 2, drop them in ice water to slide the skins off, quarter them, then freeze. I cut some in about 2″ cubes before freezing then use them to make chili in a crock pot. They cook up for thick chili plus chunks of fresh tasting tomato remain. I like Marilyn’s idea of just squishing them with her hand rather than chopping. Sounds like a great time saver!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Wende, absolutely :)

  • Lanna said:

    I’ve totally been doing that as my raspberries come on. I’ve only been getting 1-2 quarts a day so not enough for a batch a day (well, and I’m going to do seedless, it’s not worth pulling out the Squeezo for a quart of fruit). Now my freezer’s overrun with raspberries that I need to do something with this weekend. :)

  • April Throgmorton said:

    You can also slice green tomatoes and freeze them, then when you want fried tomatoes, take them straight out of the freezer and drop them into your oil to cook. My husband loves the fact he can have fried tomatoes even in winter. I pre-dip mine in a dry batter mix before placing on a paper lined cookie sheet to freeze. After frozen remove from paper and cookie sheet and place in freezer bags. That way you can remove just a few at a time to cook.

  • Meg said:

    I do this with strawberries, blueberries and red raspberries. I blend them before putting them in the freezer. Then, when they are all ready, I make triple-berry jam for Christmas gifts. YUM!

  • Becky said:

    What a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pam B said:

    I did this last year, but I didn’t even cut spots out or core them – just tossed them into a bag & froze ‘em whole. I made salsa out of them about 4 months later and they were just fine! They do come out VERY watery when you defrost them, so they are best for sauces and things.

  • pat said:

    I just couldn’t help myself, but I have found a EASY way to freeze tomatoes also.
    I just toss them whole in a bread bag or ziplock bag.. make sure they are free of dirt etc. DO NOT CUT
    I then during the winter or when I have time…put them in water…the skins come right off! before completely thawed i cut them and toss into processor or pot to make homemade salsa, juice, or whatever hits my fancy . I have done this for years and LOVE it this way

  • Libby said:

    I frequently freeze tomatoes for winter use that way. I usually just put them in the Vitamix to blend them well, then freeze in gallon bags laid flat and stacked. What a time saver!All the wild fruits, ( and domestic) can be fresh frozen for processing when the air is crisp and the extra heat is welcome in the kitchen.Just make sure to rinse/wash them well first.I sometimes add basil,onion and garlic to the tomatoes to get a head start on the sauce if I’ve got extra.You can use it straight from the freezer for soups.

  • Liz said:

    When the weather changes and its time to pick the tomatoes ripe or not. I
    pick them green and wrap them in newspaper and put them in a box. The sides cannot touch. When I need a tomato I go get one and its ripe in a day. I keep checking my box every couple of days so I don’t lose any. I usually have tomatoes for at least a couple more months. Hope this helps someone else.

  • Jules said:

    I am working so many crazy hours and here in IL we are in a severe drought… I harvest what little tomato crop we can grow without aid of any well water watering. I wanted to ask if you have ever tried any of the the vacuum sealer systems to freeze tomatoes in? I do not care about skins, I can always remove them later. Just wondering, in the interest of time management and hopefully lack of freezer burn, are vacuum bage woth the investment?

  • Peggy Miller said:

    Thank you for sharing your canning ideas, I sure will be using the freezing of the tomatoes. Keep the ideas coming .

  • John said:

    How about an article about making tomato wine with your surplus tomatoes?

  • Sandra said:

    I cook the tomatoes whole or chopped in half, with a little sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and cider vinegar. When tender I pass through a seive with the aid of a ladle. Then I freeze the thick liquid into freezer bags for making into pasta sauce, tomato and meat sauce, soups etc. throughout the year. Scrumptious!

  • Mitzi Hoover said:

    I have froze them and made salsa with them…it turned really good….just add a little cornstarch and it will thicken as you cook it before canning.

  • mary said:

    i freeze tomatoes all the time! i remove the seeds and skins as well… it works great for salsa! the liquid thaws out before the rest and can be poured off to make a thicker finished product!

  • kelly said:

    My daughter absolutely LOVES ketchep. Glad to know there is a way for me to grow and freeze tomato’s to make homemade for her. Not only will it be cheaper but so much healthier for her. Thank-you so much for this info!

  • Candi said:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the information. This was my first year with a *real* garden and I have been picking all my little cherry and roma tomatos but not getting enough to can or eating them fast enough. I was thrilled to bag up 3 gallons worth this morning after reading this post! Here is my little girl after helping me pick tomatos last night: Ellie

  • Jineen said:

    @Carrie @ LPOHH: yes! I have frozen whole peaches and the skin slides right off when you run the peach under warm water! I never knew you could do this till this summer – my freezer is now full of luscious summer peaches that I plan to enjoy this winter!!

  • GES said:

    I toss clean coreless tomatoes into the blender and blend peelings and all for sauce. Freeze in plastic bags. Kept well and tasted great.

  • Kate Hagan said:

    This year I have tons of cherry tomatoes. I’ve made several trays of oven-dried…just wash, cut in half, sliced side up, sea salt, olive oil on the cookie sheet, some herbs on top also…bake 250 for several hours until dried. I don’t think they would stay out, but I freeze them on the sheet and then ziplock them. You can also do larger tomatoes, quartered. Do on a cool day as the oven is on. I also wash, chop, and freeze in small baggies for chili, stews, sauces.

  • Amy (Get Busy Gardening) said:

    I froze a bunch last fall simply because I didn’t have time to do anything else with them. I forgot they were out there in the freezer! LOL, thanks for the reminder. I think I’ll freeze more this year too. It’s a great idea to use them for ketchup and sauces, I have to get more into cooking this winter!

    Amy

  • tammy said:

    I freeze them as well..and when ready to make sauce I put everything in the crockpot cook it all day and when I get home sauce is ready to can!

  • MaryAlice said:

    I rinse and freeze my romas intact. I just rinse and put into freezer bags, then pop into freezer. As I am ready to use some, just take out the amount you need, rinse & slip skin off. These are easy to cut up, or just put in the crock pot or pot on the stove and use your blender stick to make sauce, soup, etc.

  • Kristen Durboraw said:

    I just recently tried putting some Roma and sauce-type tomatos in my SMOKER. Wow! Makes for a nice brownish-red smoky tomato paste or sauce base when reconstituted later and blended.

  • Liz said:

    Thanks for all the hints. Wondered how to freeze tomatos, Have heard about it but havn’t tried it yet.

  • Tessa W said:

    Perfect timing for me to read this post. I am new to gardening and was wondering if my tomatoes were supposed to ripen at different times and thinking I would just have to use them as they did. I’m very happy to find out that I can freeze any extras to use later.

    -Tessa

  • Tyler said:

    I read in Eugenia Bone’s book Well Preserved to put things in the fridge first before you freeze. Something about a more even freeze when it’s cooled first. Thanks for the post!

  • Pat in Arkansas said:

    I have used tomatoes, frozen this way, for salsa and pepper relish
    Works fine

  • Brenda said:

    I always wash and blanche for 2 minutes before freezing. Then they are in the freezer for the winter. But I love this as a short term fix!

  • The Well-Rounded Mama said:

    I roast most of my tomatoes with a bunch of other veggies, then use a blender and whirr it into spaghetti sauce. Very good.

    One caution for a few of your readers. Tomatoes are subject to botulism if the correct acidity is not observed, and you can’t tell by looking if it’s spoiled or not. The Canning Queens suggest following only carefully researched recipes for tomato sauces so that they can be canned safely. Otherwise, they suggest freezing your sauces.

    This is what they told me about mine. I add too many other veggies, which lowers the acidity and makes it difficult to be secure about its safety. So they suggested I just freeze my sauce instead of can it. Works great for us.

    I do freeze any extra tomatoes not used for sauce.

  • Cynthia Doerr said:

    My mom did this for years, but, she would first blanch them, then peel and core them…then she would place them in freezer bags. She would also double bagged them as our freezer had a tendency for burn veggies.

  • Miss Kat said:

    I heard of this method from my sis and it definitely works! Just run them under warm water and the skins fall right off! I love simple and easy. I make chili with mine and it is great! thanks for sharing!

  • Virg said:

    My tomatoes have been frozen for over a year. Are they still good safe to use?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Virg,

    They’ve lost some nutritional value, but as long as they’ve stayed frozen they should be safe to eat. I’ve thawed and eaten tomatoes over a year old, with never a problem.

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