How To Freeze Tomatoes
At the peak of tomato season, your tomato vines will likely be producing more tomatoes than you can eat. Freezing tomatoes is the easiest and safest way to preserve the flavor of summer for winter stews, sauces and pasta. No special equipment or knowledge is needed about how to freeze tomatoes, unlike for canning tomatoes. Freezing tomatoes preserves their flavor, but not their texture, so frozen tomatoes are best used for cooking in pasta, sauces, stews and casseroles. Their flavor will be far superior to “fresh” or canned tomatoes from the grocery store.
For the best flavor, use the freshest, ripest tomatoes available. Harvest tomatoes when they are in uniform in color. Tomatoes ripen first at the end opposite of the stem, and the shoulders are the last to ripen. Some heirlooms have green shoulders even when they are fully ripe. Except for some larger types of tomatoes with thicker stems, most tomatoes are ready to harvest when they easily pop off the vine with a twist. When tomatoes are ripe, they are still firm but give just a little when you press gently with a finger on the shoulders and bottom. If in doubt, sample a tomato for flavor and texture.
Glorious Garden Tomatoes!
It Doesn't Get Better Than This!
How to Freeze Tomatoes: How to Prepare Tomatoes
Depending on how you plan to use your frozen tomatoes, slice or chop them to the desired size.
- If you would like to remove seeds, stems, and peels before you freeze them, a tomato press or food press can make quick work of this.)
- If you will use your tomatoes pureed, use your food processor on intermittent so that it will not add excess air and form a froth.
- You can either freeze tomatoes raw, which saves time, or cook them, which preserves the flavor of the tomatoes better and allows them to be stored for longer.
- You can freeze tomatoes whole, or cut or process them into smaller pieces or liquid.
·And you can either peel tomatoes before you freeze them, or freeze them and peel them when you are ready to use them, or not peel them at all. Unpeeled tomatoes are more nutritious, but the skin will be chewy and tough.
- Wait until you are ready to use them before you add seasonings or herbs to your tomatoes, because freezing and will change the flavor.
- Allow an inch of head space in the bag or container so that the tomatoes can expand during freezing without pushing the top off of the container. For freezer bags, allow enough room for the tomatoes to expand.
Freeze Your Tomatoes!
How to Freeze Tomatoes: What You Will Need for Cooking Tomatoes
If you want to cook tomatoes before you freeze them, cook them for 20 minutes on a slow boil. Place pan in a bowl of icy cold water until it is thoroughly cooled. Label containers with tomato type and pack into containers to freeze.
How to Freeze Tomatoes Whole
To freeze tomatoes whole:
- Wash tomatoes individually in running water.
- If you would like to peel tomatoes before freezing, use a slotted spoon to submerge each tomato into boiling hot water for 30 to 60 seconds and then immediately plunge into cold water with ice for a few minutes to thoroughly cool. Slip off the skin.
- Remove the green stem scar (core).
- Arrange tomatoes on a cookie sheet so that they are not touching.
- Freeze tomatoes for about 1 to 3 hours, until solid.
- Label containers with tomato name and date.
- So that the tomatoes will not thaw, quickly pack containers and put them back into the freezer.
- If you wish, you can remove the skins by running frozen tomatoes under hot water for a few seconds and slipping off the skin.
- When you are ready to use them, allow them to thaw in a container.
Store frozen tomatoes in your freezer at 0°F or colder. Tomatoes will keep for 4 to 12 months, depending on the initial quality of the tomatoes and how they were processed.