How to Freeze Tomatoes
I have a confession to make: I’m not canning anything this year. After a couple summers of getting really into it, I really just needed a break! However, I do have more than enough produce from my garden right about this time and I knew I’d need to preserve it in some way or it’d just go to waste. So this year? I decided to do some freezing!
Today I want to share the method I’ve been using to freeze my garden tomatoes this year. This might be worth considering if:
- You have a small garden and/or just a few tomato plants
- You find your tomatoes are ripening in small batches at a time
- You don’t own canning equipment and/or lack the time and/or interest to learn how to can
- Like me, you just want a break from canning!
The good news is freezing tomatoes doesn’t require any fancy equipment nor does it involve you setting aside an entire day (unless you really have a ton of tomatoes, I suppose). So let me take you through this method from start to finish.
Step one: harvest your tomatoes. I like to freeze mine as soon as I’ve picked them in order to ensure the freshest possible produce. Of course, you could also freeze tomatoes you’ve purchased from the store or picked up from the farmer’s market as well. I had this nice bowlful ready to go this morning.
Next, give your tomatoes a good washing and remove the tops. I just slice mine off.
The next step is removing the tomato skins. Bring a pot of water to a good boil. While the pot is coming up to a boil, prepare a large bowl of ice cold water and set it on the counter. Once the pot is at a boil, plop a few tomatoes in at a time and just until you notice the skins beginning to peel back. This should take roughly 30 seconds, but could take even less time depending on the temperature of your water and the size of your tomatoes.
Scoop the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon and place them in a large bowl of ice cold water. This will do two things: 1) halt the cooking process and 2) make the tomatoes easier to handle! If you’ve done this correctly, the skins should now just peel off effortlessly (as pictured above).
Continue the process until you have completed peeling all of your tomatoes. At this point, you can freeze your tomatoes whole, but most of the recipes I use called for diced tomatoes.
So I diced my tomatoes and put roughly 1 ½ cups per Ziploc freezer bag because that is roughly the amount you’d get out of one can of tomatoes (see what I’m getting at here?).
As you can see, that one bowlful yielded me three baggies’ worth of tomatoes. Over the weekend, I harvested enough to produce four more bags. The beauty about freezing tomatoes is that it really does not take much time at all, so you can process in small batches like this as your tomatoes ripen. I would say the batch today took me under 30 minutes from start (harvesting) to finish (putting in the freezer). It’s definitely a nice break over canning!
To use them, I plan on defrosting and using in any recipe that calls for diced tomatoes – chilis, soups, casseroles, etc. How long can you freeze tomatoes? The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends 8-12 months for vegetables (frozen at 0°). I will personally try to use them up within the next few months for the best flavor.
For more information, including food safety, you may wish to visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s page on freezing tomatoes. They have some additional ways you can safely freeze tomatoes listed.
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Do you ever freeze tomatoes or other garden vegetables?