It’s mid-August, and the tomatoes are arriving in quantities previously unimaginable. Freezing tomatoes is super easy. Once frozen, tomatoes do not hold their shape and are somewhat mushy which makes them perfect for use in soups, chili, sauces, or added in to a stir fry or anything else you’d like a little tomato flavor in! Your winter self will be so pleased that you’ve done this! If you have freezer that isn’t full already, you can preserve our tomatoes in no time with this tip from friend of the farm, Liz Carter.
Liz Carter is a newsletter subscriber in Portland, Oregon who sent us her family’s favorite way to preserve the crop during a good season. Just put dead-ripe tomatoes on freezer shelves and let them freeze good and solid, then wrap in freezer paper and/or store in freezer bags. When they thaw they soften, so the skins can be removed easily; then simmer for sauces and soups just as you would fresh tomatoes. It’s so great to smell the scent of vine-ripe tomatoes in the winter, when the garden is long gone. Thanks Liz!
We’ve listed many variations for freezing tomatoes depending on which end result you’d like: roasted, puréed, with or without skins and seeds. They all work great. Follow the straight freeze method below for basic preparation and freezing instructions.
The straight freeze method
- Wash tomatoes.
- Core tomatoes.
- Cut to desired size for use.
- Place chopped tomatoes in freezer zip-top bag.
- Seal and remove excess air from bag. (You can just squeeze out the air or suck it out with a straw.)
- Label and date.
More tomato, less water Tomatoes are watery, especially heirlooms and slicer tomatoes. If you’d like a less watery version to freeze, halve the tomatoes and squeeze each one to remove most of the water before you place them in the freezer bag. Remove air, and freeze.
Puree Simply purée them whole and place the purée in a freezer bag. Remove air, and freeze.
Thick purée Squeeze out the water before you purée, then place in the freezer bag, remove air, and freeze.
Roasted tomatoes Roasting adds depth to their flavor and cooks out some of the water inside. To do this, halve the tomatoes and roast on a cookie sheet, face up or face down, for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. If your freezer is large enough you can freeze the tomatoes on the cookie sheet so that they are frozen separately. Place the frozen tomatoes in a freezer bag, remove air, and freeze.
Removing skins Some people are sensitive to tomato skins and seeds. Removing them is easy. See our tip for removing tomato skins.
Removing seeds from whole, halved, or diced tomatoes Squeeze each tomato before you slice and dice. This removes most, but not all of the seeds.
Removing seeds from purée The easiest way to remove all of the seeds (and skins) is to first process the tomatoes using a Foley Food Mill. You can do this with uncooked cut tomatoes, or you can roast them first.