Freezing Tomatoes From
Your Home Garden
Easy tips for freezing tomatoes at home.
Preserve extra tomatoes from
your vegetable garden by freezing them whole, chopped, diced or made
into sauce or salsa.
Many tomato plants in the garden will produce such an
abundance of fruit, that you will likely have plenty of fresh
sun-ripened tomatoes to tuck away for the winter months!
If you have room in the garden for two or more tomato
vines, you can be assured of plenty of extra tomatoes during normal
If you would like to have a supply of ripe, frozen raw
tomatoes or a stock of frozen precooked tomatoes for use in cooking,
select fruits that are fully ripe yet firm.
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How to Freeze Tomatoes
Preparing Tomatoes for Freezing
- Dip tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds, then into cold water.
- Strip off skins.
- Cut out stem ends and cores.
- Pack whole, if being frozen raw.
- Cut into halves or quarters for either the raw or the cooked pack.
- For precooked tomatoes, cook quartered tomatoes, covered, over medium heat just until soft.
- Then cool rapidly and pack.
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Tips for Freezing Tomatoes
- Scalding or blanching time for preparing tomatoes for freezing, is a few seconds only, to loosen skins for peeling.
- When packing, allow 1 inch headspace.
- Pack raw tomatoes down firmly to eliminate air pockets.
- One bushel or 55 pounds of tomatoes yields 30 to 40 pints.
Freezing Whole Tomatoes
- For whole tomatoes, cut out stems and wrap whole in plastic wrap or small freezer bags.
- Freeze raw.
- For use after freezing, hold under hot water for a few seconds to loosen skin.
- Peel and add to cooked dishes.
Freezing Stewed Tomatoes
- For stewed tomatoes, blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute to loosen skins; peel and core.
- Cut into chunks and simmer 10 to 20 minutes. Cook just until heated through.
Pre-Freezing Tomatoes Before Packaging
- If you prefer, freezing tomatoes can be done by spreading the vegetables in a single layer on cookie sheets.
- Leave space around each tomato.
- Set the sheets into a freezer that keeps a zero temperature.
- Freeze the produce solid for about 1 to 3 hours.
- When the vegetables are frozen solid, remove them from the freezer.
- Working quickly, transfer the tomatoes to freezer containers and seal.
- Label them by name and date and return the vegetables to the freezer.
- When ready to use, steam, saute, or cook in a little boiling water.
Freezer Storage Life
Freezing tomatoes have an expected storage life of at 8 months is freezer temperature is maintained at zero degrees or lower.
Ten months to a year is a reasonable time period during which you
can expect quality to remain high, so long as the freezer temperature
Some freezers are equipped with special quick-freezing sections
or extra cold surfaces, if your freezer has one of these, be certain to
Frozen Tomato Uses
Some gardeners are not too keen on the idea of freezing tomatoes intended for use in salads.
Of course, the texture of thawed tomatoes is changed but their flavor is intact.
For example, in dishes that you normally use fresh tomatoes such
as chicken cacciatore or spaghetti amatriciana, freeze a supply of
especially meaty kinds like Italian plum tomatoes.
To prepare them, just dip them for a few seconds into boiling water, skin them, cut out the cores, and pack.
If you wish, cut each tomato in half and squeeze out most of the seeds.
Luckily, there are not many seeds in the recommended Italian type mentioned above.
Since tomatoes are used most often in sauces, it is a good idea to have the vegetable frozen on hand.
We offer the following basic tomato puree to prepare for the freezer suitable for using in any kind of sauce you desire to make.
Makes about 1 quart.
Basic Tomato Puree Recipe
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup minced onion
2 ½ pounds chopped ripe tomatoes with their skins
3 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon sugar
- In a cast iron pot, sauté the onions in hot butter and oil.
- Do not allow them to brown.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, and sugar.
- Bring to the bubbling point, stirring frequently.
- Cover with a lid set askew to permit steam to escape.
- Reduce the heat.
- Simmer gently, stir to prevent sticking.
- Cook 20 to 30 minutes, until softened.
- Avoid overcooking.
- Sieve into a clean bowl.
- Cool quickly and freeze the tomato puree in whatever size containers best suit your needs.
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Freezing Tomatoes to Vegetable Gardening
Freezing Tomatoes to Freezing Vegetables