Freezing tomatoes whole requires very little effort. No blanching or peeling required! After a year in my freezer, my frozen whole tomatoes have great flavor. They are So easy to use. Learn how it’s done!
It’s Harvest time! If you have a load of perfectly ripe tomatoes what do you do with them? I have water bath canned them plain and as salsa. Juiced them. Dried them. And, in the past, blanched, peeled and frozen them.
Meet my newest friend in preserving. My gallon zip lock freezer bags and a large baking tray!
How I Learned to Freeze Tomatoes Whole:
Last year my mom came over and took a look at the MASSES of tomatoes in boxes all over my counters. My food dehydrator was loaded to the top with lovely drying tomatoes, but it was not keeping up with them! I looked her in the eye and said. “More come in from the greenhouse every day!” The dear woman immediately offered me her food dehydrator and a tip!
“Why don’t you freeze them?” She asked. “Well, it’s over 90 in my kitchen and I hate blanching and peeling tomatoes,” I replied. She told me her friend Marge, an excellent longtime gardener and harvest preserver, just froze her tomatoes whole! No blanching. NO peeling! I was stunned….and suspicious. How long will they hold without freezer burn? All year… she said. Hmmm.
I waited the ENTIRE year before I shared this method of freezing whole tomatoes with you. I wanted to be sure I had the method correct (it just seemed too easy) and that it would work. It DID! The flavor is fine. The tomatoes are perfect! I have used these so far in several soup and crock pot recipes. I made German Borscht with them the other day. Fabulous tomato base!
Why have I never known this???? Whoever is keeping the secret just got outed. Thanks, Marge!
Freezing Tomatoes Whole with NO Blanching or Peeling:
This method of freezing whole tomatoes is incredibly simple!
Prepare your perfectly ripe, blemish free whole tomatoes by simply destemming them. Now wash and pat them dry. Ready!
You will need a large freezer space for the baking sheet. If you don’t have a large freezer with space, you could use your refrigerator freezer in a pinch using this method:
- Lay the tomatoes on a piece of level heavy cardboard with space in between.
- When they are completely frozen; Bag them in labeled freezer bags.
If you’re not able to lay the perfectly dried tomatoes flat Just bag them loosely and freeze them that way. Next day suck the air out of the bag as much as possible. This is NOT ideal. The tomatoes may stick together and get misshapen. But the food quality should be fine.
The Preferred Method with a chest, or large freezer:
- Place perfectly ripe, blemish free, de-stemmed, washed and dried tomatoes on a large baking sheet. NOT touching each other. You can core the tomatoes if you desire but it is not necessary.
- Place the baking sheet in your chest freezer flat and level.
- After the tomatoes are frozen hard several hours later; Bag them in heavy duty zip lock freezer bags.
- Push or suck out as much air as possible.
- Label the bags with the current date.
- Store in the freezer for up to one year.
To use the tomatoes, simply pull out as many as you need at a time and thaw them or put them frozen into your soup pot or crock pot. Use frozen whole tomatoes just like canned whole tomatoes in your recipes!
Using your frozen whole tomatoes:
As you see above I just pull them out of the bag and put them whole into soups and stews, Like canned tomatoes.
Here is what happens when you do that:
- The tomatoes go in whole but almost completely cook down to nothing.
- The tomato skins fall off the tomato so you need to fish them out of the pot if that concerns you.
- The whole tomatoes taste EXACTLY like whole canned tomatoes and make an excellent tomato base for soups.
I have not used them in other recipes yet. like casseroles or salads. I’m pretty sure they would act like canned tomatoes. You can let them defrost to room temperature and try them in lots of ways Let me know in the comments section how you use them. I’m so curious!