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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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By guest (Guest Post)
August 10, 20060 found this helpful
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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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