Preserving the Harvest

Freezing Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes
s veg
Tomatoes and basil, ready to make sauce for mixed veggies.

Save Your Extra Tomatoes for Later!

Who doesn’t love a fresh ripe tomato, right off the vine?! Well, I sure do. Our family has been enjoying Pink Oxheart tomatoes this summer. But I can only eat so many tomatoes in season. I always plant extras so I’ll have some to freeze, can, and make salsa or sauce. This year the tomatoes are ripening really late and I’m not getting enough at a time to can up a batch or make sauce.

Mixed veggies ready for the freezer.
Mixed veggies ready for the freezer.

Make the Most of Your Harvest

Without enough tomatoes on hand to fill up a canner, I’ve been making the most of my harvest by freezing them in small batches. Some are peeled, seeded and chopped into Mixed Frozen Veggies. On hot days, or when I’m too busy to do much processing, I wash the tomatoes, cut out the cores and bad spots, then pop them in a freezer bag to deal with later. It seems I’m not the only one to save my tomatoes this way. Quite a few websites and some of my very own dear readers have suggested this time saving method! I first learned this trick some 10 or so years ago from a neighbor who grew a small tomato patch each year so she could freeze the fruit and make her own sauce in the winter.

s freezing tomatoes
Freezing whole tomatoes to make sauce later.

Easy Tomato Sauce

There is another great way to freeze your tomatoes for later. This is a method I use when the house isn’t terribly hot and I have a little time, but I don’t have enough tomatoes to make sauce or there isn’t time to cook the sauce for hours. I start out by washing and cutting up the tomatoes. Cut out any bad spots and the core, then chop into halves or quarters. Put them in a stainless steel pot and cook until they are soupy and soft. Allow them to cool until they are only lukewarm (put them in fridge if you can). Then run them through your blender to chop up the skins. The finished product will have seeds and bits of skin in it, but I don’t mind this. If you don’t like them, seed and peel the tomatoes when you are chopping them. If you have basil or oregano to add to your sauce, all the better. After blending, allow the sauce to settle for a few hours in your fridge so there won’t be so many air bubbles. Pour into freezer containers and pop into the freezer for the winter. You can add tomato paste to this mix if you’d like a nice thick sauce without having to cook it down. Or you can add tomato powder from dehydrated tomatoes.

How do you process your extra tomatoes to preserve them for the winter?

22 Comments on “Freezing Tomatoes

  1. Hi Laurie,
    Sorry to hear that your production was down, but it’s great that you were still able to share and that you scored on the tomatoes! Your food sounds super yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Lisa,
    Unfortunately, our garden did not do very well this year. The area has become too shady so our produce was much reduced. We were able to use all of our veges and gave some away. I did, however, stop by a local source of fruit/veges and found that they had an over abundance due to a cancellation of a huge festival, due to torrential rain. I bought a case of tomatoes that were gorgeous for practically nothing. I gave a lot to our neighbor and blanched and peeled a bunch Then used my food mill to strain seeds. I had a couple of gigantic Thai Basil plants and made a Thai-inspired tomato soup. It was delicious! The rest of the tomatoes, I stuffed with rice, cheese, spices and topped with panko and butter and baked them. All of the cores, skin and seeds went to the chickens. No waste – all good!!

  3. Love this site!!
    My tomato solution was to have a second range installed in our detached garage to keep heat and humidity outside. When my Roma tomatoes are ready I work over a bucket, remove the core and squeeze the seeds and jelly goo out into the pail through the core hole, then cut them in half. Using 4 high rimmed baking pans, I fill each in a single layer with these tomatoes, toss with olive oil and fresh herbs and some with garlic. Let these roast on both racks at about 225 for 3-4 hours. Puree in batches, fill zip lock bags and freeze flat. Repeat. It’s a to die for sauce base!! Oh, then I feed the pulpy seed goo to my pigs and chickens of course!

  4. I have a Champion Juicer. I purchased a tomato screen for it and run my tomatoes through to remove skins and seeds. Then I make soup, sauce, etc. and bottle. I also grow peppers, cilantro, etc. and make salsa, put in mason jars, then freeze.

  5. I freeze all of my extra tomatoes for winter sauces and chili. I simply rinse and cut out bad spots, place one layer deep on a cookie sheet and place in refrigerator. I leave them overnight in the fridge then the next day place them in the deep freezer. The next day I place them in quart freezer bags.

  6. I bought a stainless steel food mill for about $35 this year and LOVE it!! It separates skins and peels in no time. I sent my left over tomato water/juice from canning through it and cooked it down for ketchup. It’s amazing! The more old fashioned a tool it is the more likely it is to be useful.

  7. When the tomatoes would come too quickly I used to core & quarter them and pop into freezer bags. They were handy for adding to soup & making chili. I also used to whiz tomatoes( skin on) in the blender – you really never noticed the skin in sauce etc. with all the herbs, onion & peppers I also put in. Sure saves time peeling them in a hot kitchen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.