Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Preserving Tomatoes: Freezing

Every summer I can an obscene amount of crushed tomatoes.  I make deals with farmers for the tomatoes that are too ugly to sell, harvest flats of them from my plants and keep some out from my CSA share.  As tomato season progresses I begin to panic, fearing that I will never preserve enough to last until the following summer.  Until one day I look at the jars lined up in the basement and I decide I can stop.  Then, as long as I have made enough salsa, and tomato orange marmalade, I freeze the rest.  In addition I freeze any smaller tomatoes throughout the season, because I learned the hard way, canning small tomatoes is time consuming, overly fiddly, and frustrating.

I know many folks who prefer the ease of freezing tomatoes and preserve all of their harvest without canning.  For the bulk of my tomatoes I prefer to spend more time on them in the summer months so I can use them more easily in the winter.  With a quart of crushed tomatoes I can make pasta sauce, soup, or chili easily enough that I think of them as convenience food.  In addition, if the power goes out, or my freezer dies, I won't lose my entire tomato stash.

However frozen tomatoes do have a purpose that goes beyond preserving the tomatoes I can't or don't want to can.  I will admit their primary use is running out of tomatoes too early insurance.  However they are also perfect for recipes that call for just a few tomatoes.  Many times I use part of a quart of tomatoes assuring myself that I will find a use for them in the next few days.  However many times the jar gets lost in the back of my fridge until it resurfaces in scary new colors.  Instead of using a partial quart I take a few tomatoes out of the freezer, rub the skins under running water to remove the skins, cut out the core and proceed with my recipe.  For a small number of tomatoes you can even do this without getting frostbite.

Frozen Tomatoes
I hope it doesn't insult any ones intelligence to write this in recipe format.  I just know some folks skip the blog chatter and scroll down to the recipe.

Tomatoes, local vine ripened flavorful ones
Zip top bags or Pyrex dishes with lids or plastic storage containers

Place the tomatoes in the bags or containers and close.  Place in the freezer.  To use just remove the tomatoes from the storage container or bag, reseal, and return the remaining tomatoes to the fridge.  Rub the tomato under running water while rubbing the skin.  The skin will rub right off.  Cut the core out with a knife.


  1. Robin, thank you for the reminder. I forgot about freezing tomatoes.

    I froze tomatoes two years ago and was happy with that method. Nice to be able to pull a small bag of tomatoes out of the freezer for a quick sauce.


  2. I am doing a school project on your amazing experiments.