Can You Freeze Tomatoes?

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Tomatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables. They can be eaten raw, cooked, canned, juiced, or even frozen for later use. Freezing tomatoes is a great way to preserve fresh tomatoes when they are in season so you can enjoy their delicious flavor all year round.

Why Freeze Tomatoes?

There are several benefits to freezing tomatoes:

Preserve Fresh Flavor

Freezing allows you to capture the fresh, peak flavor of in-season tomatoes. Tomatoes available out of season often lack that just-picked taste and quality. Freezing ripe tomatoes gives you access to farm-fresh flavor any time of year.

Extend Their Shelf Life

Fresh tomatoes only last a week or two before they start to spoil. By freezing tomatoes, you can store them for up to one year while maintaining their flavor, texture, and nutrients. Freezing stops the ripening process in its tracks.

Save Money

Buying fresh tomatoes in the off-season can get very expensive, while in-season tomatoes are abundant and cheaper. Freezing tomatoes allows you to buy bulk when prices are low and preserves them for when tomato prices skyrocket out of season.

Enjoy Their Convenience

Having a stash of frozen tomatoes means you can skip last-minute runs to the grocery store. Frozen tomatoes are ready to throw straight into soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles whenever you need them.

What Types of Tomatoes Can Be Frozen?

Nearly all varieties of tomatoes can be frozen successfully.

Here are some of the best types of tomatoes for freezing:

  • Roma or paste tomatoes: Their meaty, firm flesh freezes very well. They work great for sauces and salsas.
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes: Their small size allows them to freeze uniformly and quickly. Great for topping pizzas or throwing into salads.
  • Beefsteak tomatoes: Their juicy flesh freezes well too. Use frozen slices on sandwiches or in lasagne.
  • Standard round tomatoes: versatile and commonly available, these medium-sized tomatoes freeze nicely.
  • Heirloom tomatoes: Their unique flavors can be preserved through freezing.
  • Green tomatoes: Even unripe green tomatoes can be frozen to enjoy fried green tomatoes any time!

Tomatoes that are overripe or rotten should be avoided. For best results, select firm, ripe tomatoes without bruises or soft spots.

How to Freeze Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes is easy, but there are some tips and tricks to follow:

Wash and Dry

Always start by washing tomatoes under cool, running water. Gently rub away any dirt or debris. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Any excess moisture can cause the tomatoes to freeze into a solid block.

Remove Core, Skins, and Seeds (Optional)

Some people prefer to remove the core from round tomatoes and peel off the skins before freezing. This is optional but does create a smoother, easier to use product.

To peel, score an X in the bottom of each tomato and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. The skins will pull off easily.

You can also scoop out and discard the seeds, which some people find unpleasantly icy when frozen. Again, this step is not compulsory but does result in a finer texture.

Slice or Dice

Cut tomatoes into the desired shapes and sizes for their intended uses. Round tomatoes can be sliced or chopped into cubes. Grape or cherry tomatoes can be frozen whole.

Lay Flat on Trays

Arrange tomato pieces in a single layer on rimmed baking sheets or trays. Avoid overcrowding. Freeze overnight or for at least 12 hours.

Transfer to Freezer Bags or Containers

Once completely frozen, transfer the tomatoes into labeled freezer bags, airtight containers, or jars with 1/2-inch headspace. Squeeze out excess air and seal. Return to the freezer immediately.

Optional – Blanch or Add Lemon Juice/Citric Acid

To help retain color and flavor, you can blanch halved or sliced tomatoes for 30 seconds, then chill them in ice water. Alternatively, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per quart of tomatoes.

Optional – Add Herbs and Spices

Consider mixing in some fresh herbs, garlic, or spices like Italian seasoning before freezing. This infuses extra flavor into the tomatoes.

Frozen Tomato Storage Tips

Follow these guidelines for how to store frozen tomatoes properly:

  • Keep tomatoes frozen at 0°F or colder. A freezer chest is ideal.
  • If storing in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator, use within 3–4 months for best quality.
  • Place bags or containers towards the back of the freezer, where the temperature stays most constant.
  • Avoid letting frozen tomatoes thaw and then re-freeze. This causes a big loss of texture and flavor.
  • Always label packages with the date and tomato variety. Use the oldest ones first.
  • If tomatoes accidentally begin to thaw, use them immediately in cooking. Do not refreeze.

How to Use Frozen Tomatoes

Frozen tomatoes can be used in place of fresh tomatoes in many recipes, including:

  • Soups, stews, and chilis—just throw them in frozen!
  • Sauces and salsas: allow them to thaw first for easier blending.
  • Casseroles and bakes like lasagna—no need to thaw, just add straight to the dish.
  • Sandwiches and wraps: thaw slices first.
  • Topping for salads and pizzas: thaw cherry tomatoes slightly first.
  • Omelets, scrambled eggs, and quiches—stir in frozen diced tomatoes.
  • Smoothies: drop in a few frozen whole cherry tomatoes.

Frozen tomatoes are best used for cooking rather than eating raw. Always thaw tomatoes overnight in the fridge or quickly under cool running water before using them in salads, bruschetta, etc.

Common Questions about Freezing Tomatoes

How long do frozen tomatoes last?

In a chest freezer at 0°F, frozen tomatoes will keep for 10–12 months. In a refrigerator or freezer, they stay good for 3–4 months. Blanching tomatoes before freezing extends their shelf life.

Do you have to blanch tomatoes before freezing?

It is not mandatory, but blanching does help tomatoes retain more flavor, texture, color, and nutrients during freezing.

Can tomatoes be frozen raw?

Yes, it is absolutely fine to freeze tomatoes without cooking them first. Simply wash, dry, slice or dice, spread out on trays, freeze, then transfer to bags or containers.

Can you freeze tomato paste, sauce, or canned tomatoes?

Pre-made tomato products like canned crushed tomatoes, puree, or paste generally contain added ingredients and have been heat-processed for shelf stability, so they do not require additional freezing. But you can freeze leftover homemade sauce or salsa.

What is the best way to thaw frozen tomatoes?

The best method is to place frozen tomatoes in the refrigerator overnight. Microwaving causes texture to suffer. If short on time, place tomato pieces in a colander and run under cool water to quickly thaw.

Can I freeze tomato juice or tomato soup?

Yes, tomato juice and soup freeze well for 3–6 months. Leave room for expansion, and do not dilute tomato juice before freezing. Defrost and stir the tomato soup before reheating.

Can you freeze and save tomato paste?

Absolutely! Leftover homemade tomato paste freezes beautifully for 4-6 months. Just portion it out in ice cube trays, freezer bags, or containers with 1-inch headspace before freezing. Thaw the needed amounts in the fridge overnight.

Freezing tomatoes is an easy, budget-friendly way to enjoy fresh-tasting tomatoes all year. Follow these tips to properly freeze different types of tomatoes and incorporate them into your favorite recipes anytime with excellent results.


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