Freezing Tomatoes

Selecting High-Quality Tomatoes:

Tomatoes will not be solid once thawed, but they do freeze well for use as sauces, juice, pastes or purées. Select firm, ripe tomatoes with deep red color. When purchasing tomatoes, try to select fruits that are mature, but not fully ripe. You'll get the longest storage time if you finished ripening it at home. Look for varieties labeled "vine-ripened." Unlike some varieties, you can be sure these have been picked only after reaching maturity (tomatoes are often picked while still green because they are more resistant to crushing during transport). Tomatoes should feel smooth, firm and heavy for their size. Avoid tomatoes that show excessive cracking or bruising.


Preparing for Freezing:

Wash and dip in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Core and peel. Tomatoes can also be frozen whole or in pieces with skin still intact.

Best Freezing Method(s):

Raw Tomatoes

Freeze whole or in pieces. Pack into suitable containers, leaving l-inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.

Tomato Juice

Cut washed and cored tomatoes into quarters or eighths. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Press through a sieve. If desired, season with 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of juice. Pour into suitable containers leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal, label and freeze.

Stewed Tomatoes

Remove stem ends, peel and quarter ripe tomatoes. Cover and cook until tender (10 to 20 minutes depending on size). Place pan containing tomatoes in cold water to cool. Pack into suitable containers leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal, label and freeze.

Suitable Packaging:

Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing tomatoes includes freezer grade-plastic bags, rigid plastic containers and glass containers.

Maximum Storage Time:

10 to 12 months at 0ºF.


Thaw tomato products in the refrigerator, stove top or defrost them in the microwave according to your manufacturer's recommendations.

Tips & Shortcuts:

If you need a tomato to ripen fast, store it in a paper bag or a covered bowl with an apple. Apples give off an ethylene gas that will speed up the ripening process. One bad tomato can quickly spoil the others. Discard tomatoes showing signs of mold before it spreads to other fruits.

Refrigerating Tomatoes:

Tomatoes keep best when not stored in the refrigerator. Store them at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, until ripe enough for eating. Cooked tomatoes can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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August 10, 20060 found this helpful
Top Comment

I just core them and put them in a bag in the freezer. To remove the skins just run them under warm water after you remove them from the freezer and gently rub and the skins come right off.

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February 20, 20090 found this helpful
Top Comment

I just take them from the garden and throw them whole in a bag removing as much of the air as possible. When I use them I plunge them frozen in boiling hot water and the skin comes off instantly.

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November 15, 20130 found this helpful

With a glut, I freeze tomatoes whole - the skins easily come off when thawed. The only trouble is that, for me, the taste is not the same as fresh or canned - I prefer to juice them and drink it with or without vodka.

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0 found this helpful
May 11, 2006 Flag

My husband and I have a garden this year. We always have too many tomatoes to eat before they spoil. I don't really have the money to can them, but how would I go about freezing them to use in recipes throughout the year?


Danielle from LaFayette, GA


Freezing Tomatoes

I froze my excess tomatoes in two ways this year. First I gently tossed some squash, zucchini and eggplant in oil then added tomatoes and cooked until soft and froze this in side dish size quantities. It defrosts quite mushy but very delicious and it can be cooked until less mushy. The rest I skinned and cooked until the consistency of cooking sauce and froze that. I use that as a pizza topping or to make spaghetti or lasagna. I do not season these until ready to use. (05/08/2006)

By alinci

Freezing Tomatoes

Wash, then put them into boiling water, (I use a metal dishpan with boiling water on the stove.), I don't like freezing them with their skins on. I put them in the hot boiled water, then the skin will peal off in a few minutes. Then fish them out, and put in bowl to cool. From here, I either cut them up, and freeze them for soups later. Or, freeze them whole. Or, you can run them through a grinder and juice them up before freezing them. Use the best zip lock freezer bags. Because it can be messy. But, the results through out the rest of the year using them in your soups, meatloafs, chili, spaghetti sauce, so many possibilities. Good luck. (05/08/2006)

By Glinda

Blanching and Removing the Skins

I freeze my tomatoes by blanching and removing the skins then I chunk them up and put in freezer bags with some diced green peppers and diced onions...They are ready then to drop into a pot and make whatever kind of sauce you want....I have been doing this for years especially when I had 3 teenage sons at home..... (05/08/2006)

By dameemag

Freezing Tomatoes

We frequently have the same problem. It is easy to solve if you have freezer room. Wash and dry the tomatoes, put them into a plastic bag, (I use plastic grocery bags), and put them into freezer. That's all! These can be used in stews, tomato sauces, (spaghetti, etc), soups, chili. Just put into hot ingredients, break up tomato as it cooks. I am a 'by the seat of your pants' cook, so I can't give measurements. If you have cooked for six months, you will know how much to use. If you do want to pre-thaw before adding to cooking pot, place into a dish so any juice lost in thawing can be captured and used. Have fun, and enjoy your garden all winter. (05/09/2006)

Related Content(article continues below)

By Camilla

2 ideas

By Diana

Freeze Whole

I wash them and dry them then put in zip lock bags and freeze whole. When using in soups, stews and pasta sauce as soon as they hit the hot broth I remove them to take of the skin easily. Works great. Use all winter long. (05/11/2006)

By Connie

Removing Skins

I pour boiling water over them to help remove the skins. Then dice and put in quart micro safe container. Microwave on hi for 5 mins. freeze in quart zip lock bags. Lay in freezer to save room. They are ready to put in soups or stews or casseroles. I find that the 5 minute micro time keeps them from separating when frozen. (05/11/2006)

By WIsgal

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