Preserving tomatoes by freezing
Canning, Freezing & More Preserving, Recipes

Preserving Tomatoes by Freezing

Last week’s massive harvest of the rogue tomato plants didn’t just yield green tomatoes; I also harvested a hefty basket of ripe, juicy, orangey-red cherry tomatoes ready for eatin’.

Cherry tomato harvest

Problem was… I couldn’t eat them all right away. I turned some of them into roasted tomato soup and sliced the others fresh into salads. I still had 3 pounds of tomatoes left that I didn’t want to go to waste, and only a day to do something with them before my trip.

Since cherry tomatoes are so small, it’s impractical to can them since peeling the skins would surely make you cross-eyed, and once the peels are gone, there’s not much tomato left anyway.

That’s why my favorite method of preserving cherry tomatoes is freezing them whole. It’s quick, it’s convenient, and it doesn’t require blanching or peeling. Freezing whole tomatoes also locks in all those good-for-you nutrients found in the skins.

Simply wash and dry your cherry tomatoes, lay them out on a cookie sheet, and pop in the freezer for a few hours until the tomatoes are firmly frozen. By doing so, your tomatoes won’t freeze together into one big clump. Sure, you might have to whack them around a bit if they’ve been frozen for a long time, but you won’t need to thaw out the entire bag just to break apart a few.

Wash and dry tomatoes

Freeze tomatoes on a cookie sheet for a few hours

When the tomatoes have hardened into little marbles, transfer them into freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags, and return to the freezer. You can then thaw out as many tomatoes as you need to use in soups, sautes or sauces.

Fill freezer-safe containers with tomatoes

Fill freezer zip-top bags with tomatoes

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  • Barbara Winters

    Rinse your tomatoes in water with a bit of vinegar. And then another rinse with water. That kills any bacteria on them. Works great for strawberries too. Strawberries will last a week just in the fridge if rinsed in vinegar. Wash with plain water after the vinegar rinse. No vinegar taste.

  • Suzie

    I throw the frozen tomatoes directly into soups, stews, chili &pepper steak.

  • Winnie Marquardt

    Could you then can them when you have enough from the garden? I love making salsa, but it seems like only a few are ready at a time…This may help me with the waiting, freeze as I go…thoughts?

    • Frozen tomatoes will become very mushy once they’re thawed. If you like to make smooth salsas (in a blender, for example), then it would work.

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  • Russ

    I wondered what to do with my last 10 lbs of ripe tomatoes. I had already canned 2 doz qts of stewed tomatoes. Two weeks before Dec & still had ripe tomatoes in Maine. It snowed today. My green toms have been inside turning red & they were ready to process.

    • Homegrown tomatoes this time of year, lucky you!

  • TheSillyGardeners

    How long do the frozen tomatoes keep for in the freezer?

    • I’ve always used up all my frozen tomatoes within one year. I suppose it depends on whether yours get freezer burn or not.

  • doccat5

    You can easily freeze ant type of tomato. We buy bulk ” damaged” tomatoes from the farmer’s market, wash them, cut out any bad spots and freeze. I make homemade, scratch, tomato sauce during the winter with them. We use a food saver to vacuum pack te
    Hem. I just drop the bag in hot water to begin thawing, once they start to soften, clip a corner of the bag and squeeze it into my cooking pot. The pulp goes in, while most of skins and seed stay in the bag. That part goes for worm feed, as we also do vermicomposting.

    • I wish I had a bigger freezer! (Or at least a second one…)

  • Janice

    Can you treat Roma tomatoes the same way as cherry tomatoes?

    • I don’t see why not; they’ll just take longer to completely freeze through.

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