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How to Freeze Tomatoes (It’s so Easy!)

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In the middle of the summer harvest, the last thing I want to do is drag out all of my canning supplies to put up tomatoes. The heat and work seems overwhelming. Last year I decided I wanted to have tomatoes to use for spaghetti sauce, but I did not want the work of peeling, canning, and sterilizing jars. I just didn’t have the time… you can call me a lazy gardner, and you would probably be right. That’s when I decided to learn how to freeze tomatoes. I’d heard about it before, but hadn’t tried it myself. Man, oh man, did it change my world!

chopped tomatoes on a wooden cutting board

 Why freeze tomatoes?

Besides the obvious benefit of being so much faster than canning, I love that freezing tomatoes takes up less space and my pantry. And I love the flavor of frozen tomatoes better than canned. This may be personal preference, but once those frozen tomatoes are cooked down into sauce, they are absolutely delicious. affiliate link policy

 The best tomato varieties to freeze

I would avoid freezing any slicing varieties or grape tomatoes. Grape tomatoes seem like they would be difficult to use. Instead, I would focus on varieties that work well for canning. Romas, San Marzanos, or any medium-sized tomato varieties will work best for freezing. And I actually like juicier tomatoes for this as well. They have wonderful flavor that will be a delightful addition to your winter sauces, soups, and stews. 

 How to use frozen tomatoes

I typically only use frozen tomatoes for two things: spaghetti sauce and stewed tomatoes. Those two things maybe kind of similar, but for my tomato sauce, I use my traditional recipe and simply add cook time to compensate for the extra moisture that will come out of those frozen tomatoes. You can also use a favorite spaghetti sauce recipe, but just add another hour of cook time to let the moisture come out of your sauce. What I find is that the flavor the fresh (but frozen) tomatoes provide is unparalleled. I am certainly not Italian, nor am I an expert on spaghetti sauce, but the recipe my family has been using for the last 30 years did come from an Italian, so I feel like there is some validity there. (The classic cookbook is Sophie Kay’s Italian Cooking, and it’s unfortunately out of print.) 

If you choose to dice your tomatoes into smaller pieces, then I don’t see why you couldn’t use them in other winter soups and stews. Just know the tomatoes will lose some of their texture, so it won’t be the same as using fresh. 

Now, onto the instructions!

What you’ll need:

Fresh tomatoes

Gallon-sized freezer bags

Sharpie

Sharp knife

 How to freeze tomatoes

  1.  Begin by washing your fresh tomatoes. These can come from your own garden or if you have a local farm that sells boxes of tomatoes in the summer then this is an easy way to put up a lot of tomatoes in a short span of time.Quartered tomatoes on a wooden cutting board
  2.  Quarter your tomatoes and cut out the cores.  Label gallon-sized freezer bags with the date and contents.
  3.  When your tomatoes are cut,  scoop them into the prepared freezer bags. cut tomatoes in a ziploc freezer bag
  4.  Place bags in the freezer and flatten them for easier storage.
  5.  A gallon-size bag of tomatoes is perfect for a family-sized portion of spaghetti sauce. Enjoy! Cut tomatoes in a gallon freezer bag

 

If nothing else, I hope that you will give freezing tomatoes a try. It has definitely been one of the biggest time-savers I have implemented in preserving my summer harvests. If you’re looking for more information about how to preserve the summer harvest, check out these other articles:

How to Freeze Zucchini

How to Freeze Okra

Freeze Fresh Green Beans

How to Freeze Blueberries

 

 

How to Freeze Tomatoes (It's so Easy!)

chopped tomatoes on a wooden cutting board

Knowing how to freeze tomatoes will help you preserve your summer tomato harvest without having to drag out the canner and jars! It's quick and easy!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Materials

  • Fresh Tomatoes
  • Gallon Freezer Bags
  • Sharp Knife
  • Sharpie

Instructions

  1. Wash tomatoes and cut into quarters.
  2. Scoop up quartered tomatoes and place in labeled ziploc bags.
  3. Seal bags and place flattened in freeze to conserve space.
  4. Use frozen tomatoes as needed.

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I'd love to hear from you

Donna

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

I froze several tomatoes (whole) last fall & it was wonderful having that fresh tomato taste all winter long. Thank you so much for reminding me to freeze some this fall.

Judi

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

Talk about Lazy! (And so visually satisfying during winter.) All I do is wash and dry whole, unblemished tomatoes, place them in FoodSaver freezer bags, freeze FIRST to keep juices from being drawn into the FoodSaver and then vacuum seal the whole, red original-looking tomatoes. They are a pleasure to look at in their just-picked glory! Defrost at room temp. The skins fall off and their cells will have released tomato water thru a colander, leaving more concentrated, ready-to cook, peeled and limp tomatoes - suitable for any recipe. EZ-Peezy and so nice to watch in their original glory-until use.

Courtney

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

Haha, thank you for the tip, Judi! I'd never thought about freezing them whole!

Donna

Tuesday 6th of October 2020

I can't hear what you are saying in your vids, you are too far away from the mic. Please start wearing the mic on your shirt/etc. I would love to hear your voice & information.

Courtney

Wednesday 7th of October 2020

Thanks so much for the feedback, Donna! I'll be sure to adjust that in the future.

Susan

Tuesday 20th of August 2019

Do you need to remove the skins before freezing? Thanks for your blog - lots of great garden ideas and tips!

Courtney

Wednesday 21st of August 2019

Hi Susan, I don't peel them, but you certainly could if you don't like the skins in your recipes. I hope this helps, and thank you so much for your encouraging words!

Elinor Hildner

Tuesday 20th of August 2019

When I have canned all the juice my pantry will hold that is when I freeze what is left. I peel and quarter and put on a rimmed cookie sheet and pop into the freezer for a couple of hours. Then I bag them in plastic bags and return to freezer. The reason they taste so much better in soups,casseroles and any recipe that calls for cooked tomatoes is that freezing turns the acid to sugar. It is natural, no extra "pinch" of sugar to a tomato recipe. If you ever have tasted a sweetness in a potato, it's because it was stored at too cold temperatures.Freezing causes sugars to form. With tomatoes it is a good thing!

Courtney

Tuesday 20th of August 2019

Hi Elinor! Yes, I do usually put fruits and veggies on a tray in the freezer first, but I get super lazy with tomatoes. Since I primarily use an entire bag for spaghetti sauce, I skip the tray freezing step. But if I knew I'd use it in other soups and stews, I'd definitely go your route with freezing before bagging. I didn't know about the acid turning to sugar! How fascinating!

I'd love to hear from you

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