Enjoy fresh garden tomatoes all year long! Learn the simple, no-canning method for freezing tomatoes in this easy guide.

Canning or freezing tomatoes is a great way to preserve your vegetable garden harvest to enjoy all year round. In this post, I’m sharing how to freeze tomatoes so you can do just that!

This year, my raised garden beds in the potager garden produced SO MANY vegetables that I don’t want them to go to waste.

So I’m looking for simple ways to preserve my vegetable garden‘s harvest.

I could try canning the tomatoes but that’s a bit of a process, so I am freezing tomatoes instead. It’s simple to do and can be done in under an hour.

Now, if you don’t have your own vegetable harvest from the garden, you can just as easily drop by your local farmers market when tomatoes are in season to freeze them for future use.

Wait until you see how easy it is to freeze tomatoes!

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Preserving the Harvest: Freezing Tomatoes for Year-Round Enjoyment

As every avid gardener knows, the joy of reaping a bountiful tomato harvest is matched only by the challenge of finding ways to use them all before they start to go bad.

Year after year, we find ourselves faced with the amazing predicament of having more tomatoes than we can possibly eat. But fear not!

Freezing tomatoes is a fantastic solution that allows us to savor the flavors of summer even in the depths of winter. In today’s post, we’ll explore how to freeze tomatoes without the need to can them so you can enjoy the bounty of your gardens all year round.

harvesting roma tomatoes

The Bountiful Harvest

Whether you cultivate a small balcony garden or tend to an expansive backyard plot, there’s one thing that seems inevitable: an abundance of ripe, juicy tomatoes.

It’s easy to get carried away with planting, only to be overwhelmed when those vibrant red fruits start piling up on the kitchen counter. And then go bad right before your very eyes.

Freezing these tomatoes is super easy to do and can help us enjoy their goodness throughout the year.

Why Freeze Tomatoes?

Freezing tomatoes is a simple and efficient way to preserve their freshness and flavor. The process locks in their taste and nutritional value, allowing you to harness the essence of summer even when the cold winds are blowing. Here’s why freezing is a great option:

  • Preservation of Nutrients: Freezing is one of the best methods for preserving the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in tomatoes.
  • Versatility in Cooking: Frozen tomatoes can be used in a wide range of dishes, from soups and sauces to stews and casseroles. They add a burst of flavor and a dash of summer to your winter meals.
  • Reduced Food Waste: Instead of watching your hard-earned harvest go to waste, freezing tomatoes ensures that not a single one is lost.
fresh garden tomatoes in a harvest basket on a table in the potager

How to Freeze Tomatoes: The Lazy Gardener’s Guide to Avoid Canning

This year, I grew several varieties of tomatoes. From romas and cherries to beefsteaks and patio tomatoes, the harvest was huge this year.

And they are all ready to be harvested but not enough people in my family to eat them all.

I would love to spend a day canning them but don’t have the time to dedicate it this year. So freezing them is the next best thing!

It is ridiculously easy to do and the best part? You’ll be able to enjoy fresh tomatoes from your garden any time of year!

Here’s how to do it!

Supplies Needed for Freezing Tomatoes

Minimal supplies are needed to freeze tomatoes. And you probably have most of it on hand already in your kitchen and vegetable garden.

freezing tomatoes

Instructions for Freezing Tomatoes

  • Select fresh ripe tomatoes.
  • Then wash and dry the tomatoes.
  • Bring a stockpot of water to a boil.
  • Cut out the stem tops. And if there is a bottom, cut that off too.
  • Carefully drop the tomatoes in boiling water with a slotted spoon.
  • DO NOT COOK! Keep the tomatoes in for about 30-60 seconds tops.
  • Remove from boiling water with a slotted spoon.
  • Allow tomatoes to cool.
  • Peel the skin off.
  • Rough chop tomatoes.
  • Place in a freezer-friendly storage container.
  • If needed, add some of the tomato juices so there isn’t a lot of air in the container. This will help prevent freezer burn. Leave about an inch or so to the top of the container to allow for expansion. Do not overfill.
  • Label the container with the date and variety.
  • Freeze until you are ready to use them.
cherry tomatoes on the vine that ares starting to ripen

Freezing Tomatoes FAQs

As you embark on your journey to freeze and preserve the vibrant flavors of your tomato harvest, it’s natural to have questions about the process.

I’ve compiled answers to some of the most common inquiries that gardeners and home cooks have when it comes to freezing tomatoes.

Whether you’re wondering about blanching, thawing, storage, or the suitability of different tomato varieties, these answers will help you make the most of your frozen tomato stash.

So let’s dive into these essential insights and tips to ensure your frozen tomatoes remain delicious and versatile throughout the year.

ripening tomatoes on the plant

What Is the Best Way to Freeze Fresh Tomatoes?

While you can freeze tomatoes whole, they actually work better if you cut them in half.

There are a few ways to freeze tomatoes.

  • Blanch and place in an airtight, food-safe container for freezing.
  • Slice tomatoes in half, put on a baking sheet, pop in the freezer for 2 hours then place in freezer-safe bags for long-term freezing.
  • Slice tomatoes in half, place in a rigid freezer-safe container, and flash freeze.

Since I typically use my frozen tomatoes for Sunday sauce, salsa for loaded nachos, bruschetta, and creamy balsamic tomato soup, I prefer blanching them.

The consistency is easier to work with after freezing and tastes SO FRESH in dishes during the off-season.

True, the blanching process is a bit more laborious than the other two methods, but to me, it creates a better consistency for use later.

tomatoes and jalapenos in a basket

Can You Blanch Tomatoes and Freeze Them?

As we just stated yes.

Blanching tomatoes means they are dropped in a pot of boiling water for a short period of time and then dropped into ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

Can You Freeze Tomatoes Without Cooking Them First?

Yes, you can. As stated above, simply slice them in half then follow either method for freezing.

The flavor is pretty delish and its super easy to use in dishes after freezing.

Is It Best to Blanch Tomatoes Before Freezing?

To me, this is a personal preference. I suggest you try the various methods of freezing tomatoes and see which one you prefer.

Close up of The Best Bruschetta Tomatoes Recipe on a white serving platter that is plated on crusty bread
The Best Bruschetta Tomatoes Recipe

Is it Better to Freeze Tomatoes Whole or Chopped?

Both freezing whole tomatoes and freezing chopped tomatoes have their benefits, and the choice ultimately depends on how you plan to use them in the future. Here are the advantages of each method:

Freezing Whole Tomatoes

Advantages:

  • Easier Prep: Freezing whole tomatoes requires minimal preparation. You only need to wash and core them before freezing.
  • Versatile: Whole frozen tomatoes can be used in a variety of dishes. They are great for soups, stews, sauces, and can even be roasted or grilled once thawed.
  • Retain Texture: Freezing whole tomatoes helps maintain their natural shape and texture. They may be more suitable if you prefer firmer tomatoes in your recipes.

Considerations:

  • Thawing Time: Whole tomatoes may take longer to thaw compared to chopped tomatoes, especially if they are larger in size.
  • Peeling: If you plan to use the tomatoes for recipes that require peeled tomatoes, you’ll need to remove the skin after thawing.
holding a beefsteak tomato in the vegetable garden

Freezing Chopped Tomatoes

Advantages:

  • Faster Thawing: Chopped tomatoes have more surface area exposed to air, so they generally thaw faster than whole tomatoes.
  • Pre-Portioned: By chopping the tomatoes before freezing, you can portion them into smaller quantities. This makes it easier to take out only the amount you need for your recipes.
  • Convenient for Certain Dishes: Chopped tomatoes are particularly convenient for recipes that call for diced or crushed tomatoes, such as sauces, salsas, and pasta dishes.

Considerations:

  • Texture Changes: Chopped tomatoes may become softer after freezing and thawing, which could be beneficial in recipes where a saucy consistency is desired but might not work as well in dishes where you want distinct tomato pieces.
ripe tomatoes on the plant in the vegetable garden

The Bottom Line

Both whole and chopped tomatoes can be successfully frozen and used in various dishes. If you want versatility and minimal prep, freezing whole tomatoes might be the way to go.

On the other hand, if you prefer faster thawing and easy portioning, chopping the tomatoes before freezing could be more convenient.

Consider how you plan to use the tomatoes in your recipes and choose the method that aligns best with your cooking style and preferences.

Ultimately, whether they are whole or chopped, frozen tomatoes are a fantastic way to savor the flavors of summer all year round.

cherry tomatoes on the vine

How to Thaw Frozen Tomatoes

To use tomatoes that were frozen, simply remove them from the freezer and allow them to thaw. And then immediately use them in a recipe of your choosing.

Can I refreeze thawed tomatoes?

It’s recommended not to refreeze thawed tomatoes, as this can further affect their overall quality. So it’s best to use the thawed tomatoes in your recipes as intended. Do not refreeze them.

How to Use Frozen Tomatoes

The frozen tomatoes you’ve diligently preserved can be used in countless recipes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Tomato Sauces: Thawed tomatoes can be blended into flavorful pasta sauces, pizza sauces, or even homemade ketchup.
  • Soups and Stews: Add frozen tomatoes directly to soups, stews, and chili for a rich and vibrant base.
  • Curries and Casseroles: Elevate the taste of curries and casseroles with the bright tanginess of frozen tomatoes.
  • Salsas and Dips: Whip up delightful salsas, dips, and spreads using thawed tomatoes for a burst of freshness.

Frozen tomatoes are best used in sauces, salsas, soups, and stews as they can get a little mushy after thawing.

The flavor is still there, but the consistency is a bit softer than prior to freezing them which is why it is best if used in recipes like the above.

Close up of best creamy balsamic tomato soup recipe
The Best Creamy Balsamic Tomato Soup

Thawing and Storage

To use your frozen tomatoes, simply transfer the desired amount from the freezer to the refrigerator. Let them thaw slowly, allowing the flavor and texture to be retained.

Once thawed, they might release some liquid, so be sure to account for this in your recipes.

Frozen tomatoes can be stored in the freezer for about 8 to 12 months. While they will remain safe to eat beyond this timeframe, the quality might diminish over time.

Isn’t that so easy? It takes about an hour or so from start to finish. But it is totally worth it to enjoy fresh tomatoes from the garden year-round.

As a dedicated gardener, your tomato harvest doesn’t have to go to waste if you don’t get to eat it all in the moment. Freezing tomatoes is a savvy way to enjoy their deliciousness all year long.

From sauces to soups, their vibrant flavor will transport you back to summer, no matter the season.

Happy Gardening!

holding cherry tomatoes in the vegetable garden

More About Freezing Tomatoes

Have you ever frozen tomatoes before? I would love to know more in the comments below.

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close up of easy salad with cucumber, tomato, onion recipe
Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad Recipe

My Favorite Fresh Tomatoes Recipes

One of the best parts about growing tomatoes is harvesting and using them in the kitchen.

Wait until you try some of my favorite tomato-based recipes!

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dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

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Small Space Gardening: The All-You-Need Guide to Growing Showstopping Dahlias in Pots

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Stacy Ling

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For years, I’ve been drying flowers for DIY wreaths and arrangements. I especially love to dry hydrangeas using this easy method. And even dried flowers to make this DIY hydrangea wreath.

tomatoes and how to freeze tomatoes
tomatoes, freezing tomatoes
Roma Tomatoes
freezing tomatoes
freezing tomatoes
freezing tomatoes
freezing tomatoes
freezing tomatoes
freezing tomatoes

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15 Comments

  1. Stacy, I wish had an excess of tomatoes to freeze! I’ve pinned for next year and keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. I haven’t had a good crop of tomatoes for two years. But I ended up freezing mine that year too. So much easier than canning!

    1. I couldn’t agree more! This year we had a great year – but my plants are pretty much done now. Going to clean out the beds in the next week or so!xo

  3. Stacy, my tomato crop was pathetic this year, but I purchased 60 pounds of tomatoes from a local grower. I ended up making sauce and canning all of it but I have made sauce and put it in ziploc bags and froze them. Never thought about freezing them fresh. Does the flavor diminish at all with freezing? Let me know as I will try that next year.

    1. Gardening sure has its ups and downs! I don’t think it diminishes but you do need to make sure there’s enough liquid in it so it doesn’t get freezer burn.xo

  4. Pingback: Dirt Road Adventures - Fall Vibes - The Ponds Farmhouse
  5. Stacy, I can honestly say I don’t believe I’ve ever frozen fresh whole (or half) tomatoes! I will need to try that. Typically I will roast them and then freeze them. But each year I spend one entire day making sauce and canning it for the rest of the year. Even though I grow alot of my own tomatoes, they are all gone by mid-June. So in August, I get 60 pounds from a local farmer and make sauce. There is nothing better than fresh sauce in the middle of winter. It’s a bit of work, but an enjoyable and productive day. Hope to do it with friends this year! Thanks for sharing