How to Freeze Tomatoes ~ or Preserving made Easy

This post may just be a thinly veiled excuse for posting more tomato photos. So be it.

tomatoes on counter

But I do actually have something of value to share with you all, my super easy way to preserve tomatoes.

harvesting tomatoes

Over the past week and a half 35 lbs (easily) of organic garden and farm share tomatoes have landed themselves on my kitchen counter. This, inspite of my battle with early blight. Tomatoes have been appearing in almost every supper - pasta with roasted tomatoes, green bean tomato curry, beans and tomatoes, roasted tomato soup etc.. but even so there is no way to eat our way through this bounty. So into the freezer they go.

large tomatoes to freeze

How to Freeze Tomatoes

  1. Choose large, ripe and disease-free specimens.
  2. Wash tomatoes and break off stems if possible. If you want you can cut out the stem and remove the woodiest part of the tomato but you don't want to get too messy, keep it clean.
  3. Lay tomatoes in a single layer in the freezer. On top of other bags of frozen food will do just fine.
  4. Freeze until solid or until you remember them.
  5. Transfer to ziploc bags and keep stored in freezer.
  6. Alternately you can leave them in the freezer this way for a couple months loose as long as they don't get too freezer "burned".

frozen tomatoes

To use frozen tomatoes remove from freezer and let thaw in a bowl. Alternately, run hot water over them to remove the skin, if desired (we don't). Once they are thawed a little you can cut them up, this is actually easier to do if they are still a bit frozen, and add them to your soups & stews.

We use tomatoes this way all winter long (I buy boxes of fresh Maine greenhouse grown and freeze mid-winter also) instead of canned tomatoes due to the BPA issue. I can't say for sure how long they will last in your freezer but definitely a couple months.

This method of food preservation is so easy I can't believe more people don't do it. I first learned this trick a couple years ago from... I don't remember. At first I was doubtful. Stick 'em straight in the freezer? No blanching, no fuss, no mess? Sounded too good to be true.


I'm going to be carrying this mental photo into the cool (garden tomato-less) months ahead

How do you preserve your tomatoes?

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  • Debbie Jamieson

    Debbie Jamieson on Sept. 13, 2010, 7:19 p.m.

    We've been doing the exacty same thing with much of our tomato bounty. We've also made ketchup (post coming soon) and salsa and eating them like crazy on toasted tomato sandwiches. I've made a huge batch of sause to freeze...and will make more. I love tomato season...and love how easy it is to pop them into the freezer until we have time/enough to use them. xo

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  • Shannon

    Shannon on Sept. 13, 2010, 9:27 p.m.

    I love freezing produce - it is just so much easier than any other option. But with only the freezer above our refrigerator and the inability to rationalize a larger freezer due to the sustainability question, I am canning all of our tomatoes. I need to can about 41 more quarts to sustain us for the year. I'm half done at least. Such a process, though.

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  • Ashlee

    Ashlee on Sept. 13, 2010, 9:41 p.m.

    So far, I haven't had a problem using what we have. We are in the Pacific Northwest and tomatoes are hard to come by this year! I have made SouleMama's carrot-tomato soup (YUM) and plan on making marinara sauce if my romas ever ripen. I think I'll try this freezing method, though, if I can get enough to put by! Thanks for sharing this!!

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  • Spring

    Spring on Sept. 14, 2010, 2:12 a.m.

    So glad to know this works for you, as I am NOT a canner, but would love to preserve and use my tomatoes (and more I could buy!), and get away from cans.

    And, love any excuse to have your produce photos on the blog... I could cover my kitchen in them! :)

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  • Cindy

    Cindy on Sept. 14, 2010, 3:07 a.m.

    My cousin always did this. And another lady said that she even thawed them and used them on salads... the texture is different, but she said they still taste better than the anemic ones you buy in the winter.

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  • Francesca

    Francesca on Sept. 14, 2010, 5:10 a.m.

    This is something totally new to me! But my freezer is too small, and I know that my kids wouldn't be happy if I stopped making ice cream so that we could freeze tomatoes:)

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  • Tracey

    Tracey on Sept. 14, 2010, 10:45 a.m.

    Oooh, thanks for the tip! As I type, I have a huge bowl of tomatoes on my counter. This is after making gallons of tomato soup & tomato sauce, including tomatoes in every dinner dish, etc. Into the freezer they go! :)

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  • Heather

    Heather on Sept. 14, 2010, 2:39 p.m.

    I never ever thought about freezing tomatoes, what a great idea. I am heading to the farm to pick produce in about an hour, so this could not come at a better time.

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  • Naomi

    Naomi on Sept. 14, 2010, 3:08 p.m.

    Thanks to your tip, I've already frozen some tomatoes that way. Plus, I just got down canning six quarts of spaghetti sauce, which we go through a lot of. So rewarding to be feeding your family food that you grew! (or know where it came from anyway)

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  • Kika

    Kika on Sept. 15, 2010, 3:19 p.m.

    What do you think is the best way to ripen garden tomatoes before 'processing'? I have a bunch of very green tomatoes on my counter.

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    • renee

      renee on Sept. 18, 2010, 1:30 p.m.

      Kika, I talked to a local friend of mine who teaches cooking and food preservation classes to ask her opinion as I don't have a lot of experience in this. She had 2 recommendations:

      putting them in a paper bag (this I have heard of before)

      layering them in boxes with newspaper in between like this: put one layer of tomatoes down, stems to the bottom, put a layer of newspaper on, add another layer of tomatoes. I think with really green tomatoes you could do this a couple times.

      This second method is used my a friend's neighbor who says this works well and ripens them fairly evenly, though it does take some time.

      Hope that helps.

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  • nicola@which name?

    nicola@which name? on Sept. 17, 2010, 4:18 a.m.

    We do this too! So easy! Some years (depending on energy level and abundance), we make a cooked salsa that we water bath can. I also make pasta sauce which we can or freeze. My friend says her favorite fresh tomato sauce is to roast them whole, then crush them with her mortar and pestle, seasoning to taste.

    Nicola

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  • cynthia

    cynthia on June 6, 2013, 12:40 a.m.

    Wow , I had no idea you could freeze tomatoeslike this. I willdefinnitly try this as tomatoes are one thing I get an abundance from with my plants. I did here several years ago from a friend that you could freeze grapefruit the same way and i have done that .When thawed you would never have known they had been frozen.

     

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