Freezing Tomatoes

Category Vegetables
If you are unsure what to do with a bumper crop of tomatoes, freezing them is an excellent way to preserve them for later in the year. This is a page about freezing tomatoes.


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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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Patti McKenna
April 24, 2006

Most of us know that planting a garden is one of the cheapest ways to provide your family with fresh vegetables. My husband is the chief gardener in our household, and since it is his domain, he gets to decide what to plant. Let me tell you right away that he loves fresh tomatoes. I, on the other hand, hate tomatoes and have not eaten a raw tomato in over thirty years.


Imagine my amazement when he strategically placed 16 tomato plants in our garden! It gets worse, each of those plants thrived and grew over six feet tall! That's a lot of tomatoes! The kitchen is my domain, so it became my task to figure out what to do with his abundant harvest.

Now, I know I said I don't like tomatoes, but I do like spaghetti sauce, chili and soup. I could have canned the tomatoes for use in the sauces; but I hate canning. It's hot, messy and time consuming. We decided to try freezing the tomatoes. Together we peeled them and started dicing and chopping them in a blender. Then we poured the chopped tomatoes and juice into gallon-size freezer bags, labeled them and placed them in the freezer. Freezer bags work well because you can lay them flat and they don't take up very much room in the freezer.

Then we got creative and began personalizing each bag for later use. For chili sauce, we added fresh chopped onions and peppers to the tomatoes before freezing. For spaghetti sauce, we went one step further and added chopped garlic. Vegetable soup sauce became a mixture of tomatoes, onions, and fresh herbs from our little herb garden. Sometimes we added chopped broccoli and other vegetables to the soup base.

We also make a garden salsa using the same methods, but drain the juice from the blended tomatoes. It keeps well, and we always have a fresh and healthy snack or dish to take to pot lucks, family gatherings, etc. Because we can season it to our tastes, we are sure to like it!

Ever since that time, I have never purchased a can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sauce, or spaghetti sauce. There is always a sauce ready to go in the freezer. It also tastes much better than commercial sauces. We just pull it out and simmer, adding any spices or meat necessary. It is a healthy and inexpensive way to have dinner partially prepared!

After a year or two, I even figured out how to effortlessly and inexpensively make vegetable soup. Leftover dinner vegetables are drained and placed in a freezer bag, sometimes even adding leftover roast to the bag. Once the bag is full, I pull it out and grab a bag or two of our frozen tomato mixture, throw them in a pot, add seasonings, and soup's on! This is by far the easiest and cheapest homemade meal I have ever made! Try it and see if you don't agree!

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 3, 2011

I have 30 tomato plants after a 30 year lapse without a garden. Can I freeze my tomatoes in any way? Please give me some helpful hints.

By Becky B.


August 4, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Tomatoes are easy to freeze. You can simply wash them well, cut out any bad spots and the stem/core, and pop them in a freezer bag. When you are ready to use them, once thawed they will squeeze right out of the skins! You can then use them as you would use canned tomatoes.

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September 2, 2011

How do I freeze tomatoes?

By Vander


September 7, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've been cutting mine in half, then putting them on cookie sheets to flash freeze. When frozen, just put them in a plastic freezer bag. This way they don't all stick together and you can take out what you need. These will have to be used for cooking, though, and not in salads as they don't retain their firmness. To thaw, just heat in a little water and the skins slip right off. I just used some in fresh tomato soup last night! Yum!

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August 14, 2011

Which is best method for freezing tomatoes, whole with the skin on or chopped up with skin on? I wondered how the texture would be if they are left whole, and then I try to chop them up upon thawing?

By Beth


August 18, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

When I'm in a hurry, the skins are left on. I've frozen tomatoes for years, and prefer the skins OFF because the skins are tough after freezing. Blanching whole tomatoes for a few minutes in boiling water and plunging them into a sink of cold water removes the skins easily. It's also easier to chop the tomatoes before than when you're in a hurry and thawing them for a delectable dish. After the tomatoes thaw, they're soft in consistency.

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August 25, 2011

Can stewed tomatoes be frozen?

By Geri B


August 26, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Yes, you can freeze the stewed tomatoes. But make sure you keep them in air tight container, and also if you defrost them once, don't freeze it again.

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January 27, 2017

I have some fresh tomatoes, I want to freeze them. Some I will have for later on sandwiches or to dice in salads. How do I do this without them getting soft?


January 27, 20170 found this helpful

If you freeze tomatoes, you can use them in soups and stews. You cannot use them as you would fresh.

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January 27, 20170 found this helpful

tomatoes do not freeze well due to the high water content; they crystallize in the freezer and then fall apart and go soft.

The best way to preserve tomatoes for salad is to dehydrate them. This can be done in a dehydrator, on for 20 minutes in the oven at 120 or so degrees, or in the sun

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January 28, 20170 found this helpful

Frozen tomatoes cannot be sliced for sandwiches or salads when thawed. They are excellent additions to sauces, soups and stews.

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January 30, 20170 found this helpful

i on ly freeze f or use in ssauces eetc.. when fresh, i wash them , peel, cut up and freeze after boiling for a few min

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January 30, 20170 found this helpful

How do you store them once dehydrated?

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October 24, 2011

How do you freeze tomatoes and turnips?

By Jewel T. from Danville, VA


October 25, 20110 found this helpful

When ever my mother had a few extra tomatoes she would wash them, remove the stem and toss them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Then when she wanted a couple for something she was cooking, she would remove however many she needed. Rinse them under warm water and the skin would rub off, then put them in whatever she was cooking and as she stirred them into the pan, she would break them up.

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October 26, 20110 found this helpful

For the turnips, dice and water blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Be sure to give them an immediate ice water bath after the blanching to stop the cooking process. Drain, pat and remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible to reduce freezer burn.

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I was given a box of red tomatoes and I don't want them to go bad. I would like to put them through a blender and then freeze them. Do I have to blanch them first?


April 25, 20160 found this helpful

Blanching tomatoes before freezing removes the skins which can ruin sauces, etc. A very easy online search for "why blanch tomatoes before freezing" produced many good replies to your question. You can try a search yourself and the always helpful "how stuff works" site below:

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September 3, 2013

I want to make a fresh salsa, but need to freeze the ingredients as I get them. Once I have everything mixed together can I re-freeze everything in portion bags? I have a vacuum sealer that I plan on using for both processes. Ingredients will be fresh frozen tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro. The tomatoes and peppers are the only two items I will need to re-freeze once everything has been put together. Please help! I don't want soggy ingredients.

By Dona


September 28, 20130 found this helpful

I used to freeze my tomatoes (all colours & varieties) but when thawed and stewed they tasted different to fresh stewed tomatoes - not very nice.
I find that I prefer to fry them, I will try freezing some fried tomatos.
I tried frying green tomatoes but the taste and texture was so awful that I fed them to my chickens (they are less fussy than me).
I like fried RIPE tomatoes on toast.
I bought some heirloom seeds from the USA and all germinated. Unfortunately the outside ones got blight in the last few days.

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August 28, 2012

Could you please tell me if it is possible to freeze the yellow cherry tomatoes, and what do you do?

By Sue

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August 14, 2011

This year, for the first time, I planted some some mountain gold tomatoes. Can I freeze these and if so how?

By Janice M

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To use up tomatoes, cook them gently, cool, and then freeze for winter stews, etc. Personally, I live on home grown tomatoes, zucchinis, onions, and mushrooms braised together as a side dish or topped with breadcrumbs and baked to have with a roast. In our family it's always cooked on Christmas day as another vegetable with the traditional roast.

Source: Paternal grandmother who many years ago taught me to cook (like 60).

By Jean from Maffra, Victoria, Australia

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February 18, 2016

At the end of the season don't waste those unripe tomatoes. Freeze them for future use. This is a page about freezing green tomatoes.

Green Tomatoes

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