How to Freeze Tomatoes in 5 Easy steps
We all know about canning tomatoes. However, few of us know that you can freeze them too. This is great news, because like most modern women, I know about canning things, but I am a far cry from actually canning them myself.
Right now, freezing is my favorite. It takes little skill and knowledge, no fuss, and just a bit of freezer space.
Here’s how I freeze tomatoes in 5 easy steps.
The easy, no-skills-required way to preserve tomatoes
- Whole Tomatoes
Wash the tomatoes thoroughly. I place them in my drainer, spray them with a half vinegar and water solution, then rinse with the hose attachment on my sink.
Cut out stems and any bad parts. I normally freeze tomatoes when I'm given a boatload of "seconds" (bruised or damaged produce, usually found at a farm stand). As a result, some bad spots need to be cut out. Remember to cut out the stem part too (see photo below).
Place on a baking sheet. Line tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet that you can easily lay flat in your freezer (see top photo).
Freeze the tomatoes for at least 4 hours or overnight. Depending on their size, it might take longer to freeze them completely. Sometimes I leave them overnight simply because I don't want to deal with it yet.
Label and freeze for up to 6 months. Gallon-size freezer bags work great here. I label mine with "Tomatoes" (bet you didn't see that coming) and the month and year I froze them. This helps avoid any confusion about what that frost-covered bag of baseballs might be and how long it's been in there.
What to do with Frozen Tomatoes:
- Since these are frozen whole, I like to use them in dishes I'm going to puree. Easier that way. This might be easy crockpot tomato sauce or Crockpot Dump Tomato Soup (recipe to come).
- If you need chopped tomatoes, there are two ways to do it. First, you can chop the tomatoes before freezing instead of leaving them whole. This works, but they don't keep well in the freezer as long. Not a problem if you plan to use them in a couple weeks. However if you're trying to preserve the summer's harvest like a millenial hipster, leave them whole.
- If you need your tomatoes chopped (like for soup), let them thaw on the counter for at least 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife and cutting board to carefully chop them. Then I use them in dishes like Chili, Egyptian Lentil Soup, or Pakistani Kima - all simple, nutritious, flavorful one-pot meals.
How great is freezing? While I plan to hone my canning skills in the future, I’m thankful for this easy, no-skills-required preserving method.