How to Freeze Tomatoes

If you want to learn how to freeze tomatoes for later use, you've come to the right place! We'll show you how to freeze fresh tomatoes so you can enjoy goodies from your garden and the local farmers market all year round. We also have a few tips for how to can tomatoes if you want to lock in their freshness another way.

Tomatoes are in season from June through September. Look for fresh garden tomatoes at farmers markets or pick-your-own farms, or grow your own. When selecting tomatoes for freezing, look for ones that are firm and richly colored. They should be free from blemishes, heavy for their size, and have a fragrant aroma. Tomatoes that are perfectly ripe will give just slightly to palm pressure.

Most varieties of tomatoes can be frozen. However, plum (roma) tomatoes contain the most pulp and will produce the best results.

If you don't plan to freeze the tomatoes immediately, store them at room temperature. Avoid storing fresh tomatoes in the refrigerator, which can make them lose flavor and become mealy.

Tip: Plan on 1 quart of frozen tomatoes per 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes.

How to Blanch Tomatoes

Transfer to an ice bath

Blanching is a heat-and-cool process. It stops or slows natural enzymes in the tomatoes that could cause loss of flavor and color. It also makes easy work of peeling the tomatoes. Here's how to do it:

  • Fill a large 7- to 8-quart pot with 1 gallon water; bring water to boiling. 
  • Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow X on the bottom of each tomato. This encourages the skin to split during blanching so you'll be able to slip off the skin easily with your fingers once the tomatoes have cooled. 
  • Working in 1-pound batches, immerse tomatoes in the boiling water.
  • Cook for 30 to 60 seconds or until the tomato skins split open.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a large bowl of ice water.

Peel and Freeze the Tomatoes

taking skin off of tomatoes

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, use a knife or your fingers to peel the skin off the tomatoes.

Prepare and Freeze the Tomatoes

  • Using a small sharp knife, cut out the stem end from the peeled tomatoes.
  • If desired, halve, slice, or chop tomatoes.
  • Spoon the tomatoes into freezer containers or bags, leaving a 1-inch headspace.
  • Seal and label the container or bag.
  • Freeze for up to 10 months.

How to Can Tomatoes

Putting lid and screw band on jar before canning

If you're running out of room in your freezer, don't panic! You can still save your garden-fresh summer tomatoes for later in the year. Follow the steps above for boiling and peeling tomatoes, then use these tips to can them:

  • Place a wide-mouth funnel in a hot, clean pint or quart canning jar. Ladle whole or halved tomatoes into the jars, along with any juices from preparing the tomatoes. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to each pint jar, or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart jar. The lemon juice will raise the acidity of the tomatoes and ensure safe canning. Add boiling water, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
  • Remove the funnel and wipe the jar rim with a clean, damp paper towel to remove all traces of food (food on the rim prevents a perfect seal). Position the prepared lid and and screw band on the jar and tighten according to the manufacturer's directions. Set each jar into the canner as it's filled (the jars shouldn't touch each other). Cover the canner. Process the tomatoes in a boiling-water canner for 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts. Begin timing when the water returns to boiling.
  • When the jars have cooled, press the center of each lid to check the seal. If the dip in the lid holds, the jar is sealed. If the lid bounces up and down, the jar isn't sealed. Unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 3 days, or you can reprocess the jar within 24 hours. Label the jars with contents and date. Your tomatoes should be safe to eat for up to a year.

Check out more of our tips for canning tomatoes!

Tomato Recipes You Can Make with Frozen Tomatoes

When it's time to break out your frozen tomatoes and start cooking, try these savory soups and sauces to bring a little summer freshness to a hearty weeknight meal. These recipes are especially tasty in the wintertime when you can curl up with a steaming bowl of preserved summertime tomatoes!

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