From the moment we plant the very first tomato seeds (when it is still snowing), we look forward to harvesting the ripe tomatoes, biting in, and savoring the taste … Yummy!
Sometimes there are more tomatoes than we can eat or have time to preserve. Not to worry! The easiest way ever to preserve tomatoes is by freezing them whole. Here is how to freeze tomatoes and use frozen tomatoes.
We grow many tomatoes, so we can enjoy them right from the vine, in salads, and meals. We also preserve tomatoes in yummy recipes to enjoy all winter long.
Tomato varieties to freeze
To my knowledge, all tomatoes can be frozen. Many growers throw tomatoes as they ripen into the freezer to have enough to start the canner.
We usually don’t do that. I prefer canning little by little as they ripen, through to the one thing a day principle. However, it is a great option if that is what you like to do. The frozen tomatoes will be a bit more watery but still great for canning.
We freeze tomatoes to use in recipes all through the winter. There is no reason to can them. In fact, I find the frozen tomatoes taste fresher in a soup or sauce than canned. And even if they do taste the same to you, it is a lot less work.
When freezing for use in a recipe, I find that it does matter what variety you freeze.
My favorite tomato variety is bulls heart. They are very meaty and have hardly any seeds. So when we freeze them, they still have a lot to offer in a recipe. In the picture above I added a cup for size comparison. The yellow tomato in the picture is Old German, even though it is the same size, it is not as firm. It can be frozen anyway, and I do, but it will not be as good as bulls heart.
Choose tomatoes with thick flesh and few seeds.
I also hear that cherry tomatoes freeze well for roasting later. I personally have not done that. If we haven’t eaten them all right from the wine, I like pickled cherry tomatoes.
How to freeze tomatoes
Give the ripe tomatoes a quick rinse and place them into a freezer bag or container. Now they are ready to go into the deep freezer. Not sure why, but whole tomatoes do not have to be blanched, they keep great without. I keep the tomato intact and whole. If the stem is stubborn, I just leave it on and remove it later before use.
Freezing whole tomatoes is the easiest method to preserve tomatoes.
And as we mentioned above, you can also freeze tomatoes just the same way for canning. It takes a lot of tomatoes to fill a canner. Gathering them in the freezer till you have enough is an option.
How to use frozen tomatoes
Take as many tomatoes as you plan to use right away for the recipe out of the freezer bag or container.
Do not let them thaw first or it will be a mushy mess!
Rinse each tomato with warm running water, the skin will come right off. Now let them thaw a bit so it is easier to core cored and cut as desired.
Frozen tomatoes will be more watery than fresh tomatoes, and they are not suited for fresh eating but are great for soups and tomato sauces.
Here we are using frozen vegetables and tomatoes for a summer vegetable curry in the winter.
And here we are making a lentil soup, the frozen tomatoes really add color.
Frozen tomatoes will maintain their beautiful color but not the texture.
A fresh tomato soup or sauce in the middle of winter is just so delicious!
We invite you to subscribe to Northern Homestead and follow us on Facebook or Pinterest for the latest updates.
Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai says
Awesome tip! Thanks so much. We don;t have nearly as many tomatoes this year as last, but I hate having to through any away. I will definitely be freezing some. 🙂
Life With Lorelai
You welcome Lorelai, hope you have some to freeze after all.
Renew Your Space says
Great advice – those are gorgeous tomatoes 🙂
Thank you Renee!
Kristen from The Road to Domestication says
This is fantastic, thank you! I always forget to freeze things… 🙁
Probably because it does not freeze around you either ;). You can actually grow things year round, we have to freeze, because it freezes – you get it 🙂
Christina @ Juggling Real Food and Real Life says
Excellent tip! I have not gotten into canning, but freezing is easy enough for me to do. I love pulling out summer vegetables in the middle of the winter. It gives me hope that summer will indeed return. LOL! Thanks for linking up and sharing this with our Let’s Get Real readers. See you Friday!
Thanks Christina! Yes, winters can be (and they are) just so long! To have homegrown goodies is a blessing for sure, and freezing is so simple. See you soon!
Missy Homemaker says
I’ve been freezing tomatoes for years, but never knew about not letting them thaw first and I didn’t know about running them under water to get the skins off. Thank you so much for the tips.
Your welcome Missy! Hope to see you again!
Our tomatoes kicked the bucket early this year (too much rain I think). I am sad I didn’t get any for the freezer or enough salsa….
Sorry to hear. We had lots of rain this year too, but it does not effect my tomatoes, since they are in the greenhouse.
Lisa Lynn (@lisalombardo5) says
I’m doing this with my little odds and ends of tomatoes as they ripen on the counter 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! I hope you’ll stop by again this week and check out the Autumn Giveaway!
I froze some tomatoes last year, but didn’t know the trick about holding them under warm running water! I hope we have lots of tomatoes this year so I can try freezing them again.
Glad you learned something new. Wishing you lots of tomatoes!
Rachel @ Grow a Good Life says
I often freeze tomatoes because there are usually just too many to deal with all at once. I love the tip on skinning by running the frozen fruit under water. Brilliant! I have chosen this post as my featured post for this week’s Green Thumb Thursday. Thank so much for sharing.
Oh thank you! Glad you liked it and are featuring it! Green Thumb Thursday is great!
I had no idea you could do that with tomatoes. I always end up throwing some spoiled ones out! Thanks – will be doing this from now!
Yes, it is so easy and great for cooked meals. Glad I could help.
You can do this with tomatillos also. i have an experiment going with zucchini. Some blanched, some not blanched. Since freezing destroys the cell walls, why do i have to do that by boiling first?
Been freezing ‘maters for years now, and it’s okay. Have made salsa and tomato juice in deep winter, but i prefer to make my salsa about now. (Northern jCalif)
One thing i did differently this year is for that salsa. We started a pot the normal way – which for us means heating tomatoes and using a Roma. This was boiling down nicely, but i decided to add to it. i took a page from a chef who has been staying here and instead of cutting and scooping every tomato’s juice and seeds out, i rolled them in my hands for a little bit, cut them in half, squeezed almost all the seeds out with the extra juice. Then i put them through the Roma twice – the second time really got a lot of pulp out of the skins. There was SO much less to cook off before the sauce was thickened..
Dirk ZHANG says
Good morning from Philadelphia. I grew Juliet hybrid tomatoes in the past few years for both fresh snacking and whole-tomato freezing. Do you have any experience in dehydrating/drying tomatoes? If you do, what varieties are the best for drying? I have a dehydrator and wanted to put it into use. I’ve heard that paste tomatoes are good for drying. I am thinking to order the following seeds from Baker Creek: Principe Borghese Tomato, A Grappoli D’Inverno Tomato, and/or Martino’s Roma Tomato. Thanks.
Yes, paste tomatoes are good for drying, or any tomato that is more meaty than juicy. We do not grow any paste tomatoes, I just prefer to have a great tomato overall for multiple use. Bulls heart would be one of them.