If your tomato crop is larger than you handle, try freezing whole tomatoes. Freezing is a simple way to preserve your tomato harvest for up to 8 months after they’re picked.
Before you put your tomatoes in the freezer, follow these steps:
- Choose firm, ripe tomatoes.
- Wash tomatoes. Get each tomato wet with clean running water, then gently rub the surface before rinsing with running water. Only use clean running water to wash tomatoes. Don’t fill a sink with water and wash tomatoes in it, and do not use soap or detergent to wash tomatoes.
- Dry tomatoes with paper towels.
- Cut away each tomato’s stem scar and surrounding area and discard.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension explains that whole tomatoes can be frozen with or without their skins.
How to freeze tomatoes with skins
- Place tomatoes on cookie sheets. Put in freezer.
- Once frozen, remove tomatoes.
- Place tomatoes in freezer bags or other freezable containers. Leave at least an inch of headspace at the top of bags or containers.
When you’re ready to use your frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer. If you decide that you want to remove the skins, run tomatoes under warm water in the sink and peel the skins off.
How to freeze peeled tomatoes
- After washing, dip raw tomatoes in boiling water for about one minute, or until skins split.
- Peel the skins off and place peeled tomatoes on cookie sheets. Put in freezer.
- Once frozen, remove tomatoes.
- Place tomatoes in freezer bags or other freezable containers. Leave an inch of headspace at the top of bags or containers.
Peeled, frozen tomatoes will be ready to use once they are removed from the freezer and thawed.
Other freezing methods
If you want to freeze tomato slices, follow freezing prep directions, then slice into half-inch slices. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze for two hours, then remove them and put them in freezer bags or airtight containers, according to University of Minnesota Extension.
Homemade tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes and tomato juice can also be frozen.
What can frozen tomatoes be used for?
Tomatoes become mushy once they’re frozen and thawed, so they’re best used in soups, stews and sauces. Don’t use frozen tomatoes for sandwiches or other recipes calling for fresh tomatoes because of their mushy texture.
- Don’t season tomatoes before freezing. Freezing can either strengthen or weaken seasoning, so don’t season until they’re ready to be eaten.
- Use frozen tomatoes within 8 months of freezing.
- To help preserve tomato quality, keep freezer at temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Thank you for this great article
I never knew you could freeze tomatoes. At this point I am fed up with canning, maybe I will freeze the rest. One question though, would these frozen tomatoes be suitable for salsa?
Thanks for a very informative article.
It’s best to use fresh tomatoes in salsa recipes. Once tomatoes are frozen, they become mushy. University of Minnesota Extension has information about safely canning salsa here: http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/tomatoes-salsa/canning-tomato-based-salsa-safely/.