Preview: Freezing tomatoes is the simplest way to preserve them. This tutorial will show you how easy it is to freeze your extra tomatoes.
If you are growing a garden, you most likely are growing tomatoes. Research shows that of people who garden, upwards of 90% grow tomatoes. So what if you have them growing out your ears? Preserve them. And the easiest way to preserve them is to freeze them.
Freezing tomatoes is so simple, you’ll never let another tomato rot on the counter again. This method can also be helpful if you get a great deal on tomatoes at the farmer’s market.
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You only need 3 things to preserve tomatoes-a freezer, freezer bags (and spring for FREEZER bags, not storage bags) and … tomatoes!
Freezing Tomatoes Without Breaking a Sweat
This may be the hardest tutorial you’ve ever read. (Heavy sarcasm intended!) First, wash those tomatoes. Either dry them or let them dry on their own. Once dry, pop them into freezer bags. Place in the freezer. Done.
Done! That’s all there is to freezing tomatoes!
See how easy that was? No peeling, no chopping. No hauling out a heavy canner.
The great thing about this method is that even if you only have an extra tomato or two every few days, you can still accumulate quite a stash without too much trouble. You can continue to add tomatoes to the bag every time you have an extra one.
You don’t have to wait until you have enough to haul out the canner or the dehydrator. This is a perfect method for those of you who have just started gardening or are growing a few tomato plants in containers.
And I freeze all different kinds together. I usually grow Romas, cherries, and beefsteak tomatoes and I throw whatever is available into a freezer bag. (See picture above. All of these went into the same bag.) Of course, you are welcome to keep the varieties separate if you so choose.
Since the skins are still on the tomatoes, they don’t stick together in one big blob. You can pull out just what you need when you need them.
Removing Air From the Freezer Bag
I also wanted to share this hack I learned about how to remove excess air from freezer bags. I was talking to a friend recently and she didn’t know this trick so I wanted to share. Once you have your freezer bag filled with tomatoes, grab a straw. Paper, plastic, or silicone straws work best but you can make do with a metal one if that’s all you have.
Seal the bag almost all the way to the end. Slip the straw in the end and suck the remaining air out. Quickly remove the straw and seal the rest of the bag closed. This works similar to a vacuum sealer (though not quite as well). But it does help remove more air from the bag of tomatoes.
You can also use this hack on any kind of produce or other items you are freezing. The one thing I would NOT use it on is raw meat. The risk of accidentally ingesting a bit of raw meat and it making me sick is a risk I just don’t want to take.
How to Use Frozen Tomatoes
When you are ready to use those tomatoes all you need to do is thaw them in the refrigerator. Once thawed, the skins will slip right off. Easy, peasy. Then you can chop them however you need them for each recipe.
Now, frozen tomatoes can’t be eaten like fresh tomatoes, but neither can most preserved vegetables. I will tell you though that they are excellent in soup and they are great in salsa if you drain them just a bit. We use them in recipes all winter long!
Freeze Tomatoes NOW To Can Later
You can also freeze your tomatoes during the summer and can them during the winter if you choose. I know lots of friends that do this so they don’t have to heat their kitchen up during the summer. This is such a time saver when all that produce is rolling in and you don’t have time to preserve it all immediately.
So even if you just have a couple of tomato plants, you shouldn’t let any go to waste. A couple of minutes is all it takes to preserve those extra tomatoes. And this winter, when the stores are full of bland, flavorless red blobs, you’ll be glad you took the time to freeze your homegrown goodness.
Do you preserve any of your homegrown produce? What is your favorite method to store your harvest?
- This easy freezer salsa is another great use for those homegrown tomatoes if you want to preserve salsa that is ready to serve.
- Would you like to learn more ways to preserve your garden goodness? These are the best preserving books I’ve found for beginners.
- If you need to determine what types of tomatoes to grow for next year, learn how to decide the best tomatoes to grow for your backyard garden.