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Freezing Tomatoes Whole the Simple Way

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!

How To Freeze Whole Tomatoes The Easy Way

Our tomatoes are ripening daily and giving us amazing garden fresh flavor and nutrients. My counters are filling up with bowls of these gorgeous vine ripened tomatoes.

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.

Today I will share how to freeze whole tomatoes the EASY way.

At the end of this post you will find the links to some of our contributors posts on the Fall garden theme. Be sure to click on them all and have a good morning garden read. What could be better than that?

UPDATE: After several years of using this simple method of preserving tomatoes I am still a fan. It’s so easy to get them in the freezer and I LOVE just dumping them out of the ziplock freezer bags frozen solid and adding them to soups and other recipes.

Dave keeps the garden in pretty good shape most of the year so his Fall Garden chores are rather simple anymore.  We wind the garden down after our summer harvest.

Since our summers are trending warm, dry and sunny, the Tomatoes are very happy. And since Dave (our tomato gardener) planted Borage in with the tomato vines… HOLY COW. Borage is a Bee’s Dream plant. Borage draws them in and keeps them working on our tomatoes too. Nasturtiums are also good bee magnets for tomato plants.

Honey bees, mason bees and even bumble bees are ALL over those tomato flowers making us TONS of beautiful juicy flavorful tomatoes that will produce fruit clear to the first frost.

Garden Tomatoes On A Trellis

Dave’s tomato plants grow in his greenhouse and the vegetable garden. In our milder winters the greenhouse will keep us in tomatoes to Thanksgiving. Tomatoes grow well in both locations in our temperate climate. When we get full sun. That is iffy some years.

Tomato preserving is my department. Salsa, dried tomatoes, Tomato sauce and soups are all great ways to use them up.

But sometimes there are just too many of these gorgeous fruits. That’s where the ziplock bag and indelible ink pen come in. NOTE: If you have a vacuum packer use that. Just follow the tomato freezing preparation guide in our recipe card. 

I like the ease of throwing my tomatoes in a Ziplock bag and sucking out the air. Also they are easy to reseal if I just want a few tomatoes out of the freezer. I reseal the bag with minimal air in it and put it back in the freezer. Easy Peasy.

Tomato Harvet 2015

Our lovely, greenhouse tomatoes July 2015

How I Learned to Freeze Tomatoes Whole: The Story:

Several years ago, on a lovely Fall day, 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. 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.Homegrown Organic Tomatoes

“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.

Freezing Tomatoes Whole

From Fresh to the freezer in about five minutes. You just need the freezer space.

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 my frozen tomatoes in several soup and crock pot recipes. I made German Borscht with them the other day. What a fabulous tomato base.

Why have I never known this???? Whoever is keeping the secret just got outed. Thanks, Marge!

Freezing Tomatoes Whole

Freezing tomatoes Whole is SO easy.

Freezing Tomatoes Whole-NO Blanching or Peeling:

I put all the instructions in the printable recipe card for you at the bottom of this post.

Note: The variety of tomato you freeze matters.

  • Slicing and beefsteak tomatoes are full of juice and break down when defrosted. This makes them great for recipes needing stewed tomatoes. Use these for soups stews and casseroles. They will not hold their shape very well once defrosted and you can’t slice them. They tend to disintegrate.
  • Roma and other paste type tomatoes freeze well and will hold their shape. They can be sliced once defrosted. These tomatoes can be used for cold pasta salads and other dishes that require more tomato substance.
    Sliced Frozen Tomatoes

    These are frozen tomatoes with the skins off. When frozen they slice just fine.

One more thing…

If you are completely swamped with garden tomatoes and your season is done. You can freeze tomatoes at any stage of ripeness. I have frozen them green.

I mix the green ones into my soups and sauces with the ripe ones and the y work out fine. If you have green tomato recipes try this and see if it works for you. 

Finally you can cheat this method. You can freeze tomatoes with the stems on straight of the garden unwashed. IF you are not planning to use them straight out of the bag once defrosted.

I have done this. As you run the warm water over the frozen tomatoes stem and peel them. They are perfect and ready to use in your recipe.

Skins Slip Off Frozen Tomatoes

skins slip right off a frozen tomato if run under warm water.

Using your frozen whole tomatoes:

As you see in the printable recipe method, 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 tomato skins fall off the tomato when they cook down. So you need to fish the skins out of the pot if that concerns you.
  • OR run the whole frozen tomatoes under warm water before adding them to your recipe. The skins will slip off and peel off easily. 
  • The whole tomatoes taste EXACTLY like whole canned tomatoes and make an excellent tomato base for soups or crockpot recipes like this Chicken Stuffed Pepper Soup recipe  below.Freezing Tomatoes Whole

Let me know in the comments section how you use them.  I’m so curious!

This method of freezing whole tomatoes is incredibly simple.

Here is the printable recipe card for you.

Freezing Tomatoes Whole
Yield: 12 whole tomatoes / Gallon bag

Freezing Tomatoes Whole the Simple Way

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

This is the EASIEST method for freezing whole fresh tomatoes. They hold well in the freezer up to 6 months if properly prepared with no freezer burn.

Ingredients

  • 12 tomatoes/ gallon bag OR As many surplus tomatoes as your freezer will store

Instructions

For small freezer spaces:

  1. Prepare your perfectly ripe, blemish free whole tomatoes by simply destemming, washing and patting them dry.Washing Tomato
  2. 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.
  3. Lay the tomatoes on a piece of level heavy cardboard with space in between.
  4. When they are completely frozen; Bag them in labeled freezer bags.
  5. 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 freezing Method with a chest, or large freezer.

  1. 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.Tomatoes On A Baking Sheet Not Touching
  2. Place the baking sheet in your chest freezer flat and level.
  3. After the tomatoes are frozen hard several hours later; Bag them in heavy duty zip lock freezer bags.Tomatoes In A Labeled Freezer Bag.
  4. Push or suck out as much air as possible. Use a paper straw if necessary)
  5. Label the bags with the current date.
  6. Store in the freezer for up to one year.
  7. 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.


DEFROSTING:

  1. Take the frozen tomatoes out of the freezer bag as you need them. (Reseal the bag with minimal air and stick it back in the freezer.)
  2. Put the frozen tomatoes either directly into your soups and stews or other whole tomato recipes skins on.
  3. OR put the frozen tomatoes under running warm water. The skins will release and split. Slip off the skins and use as you wish. (see video)Running Frozen Tomatoes Under Warm Water

Notes

This method of freezing tomatoes DOES take a lot of room in your freezer. I find it worth it but you will need a roomy chest or upright freezer with a large capacity for large amounts of tomatoes.

Note: The variety of tomato you freeze matters.

  • Slicing and beefsteak tomatoes are full of juice and break down when defrosted. This makes them great for recipes needing stewed tomatoes. Use these for soups stews and casseroles. They will not hold their shape very well once defrosted and you can't slice them. They tend to disintegrate.
  • Roma and other paste type tomatoes freeze well and will hold their shape. They can be sliced once defrosted. These tomatoes can be used for cold pasta salads and other dishes that require more tomato substance.

One more thing...

If you are completely swamped with garden tomatoes and your season is done. You can freeze tomatoes at any stage of ripeness. I have frozen them green. I mix the green ones into my soups and sauces with the ripe ones and they work out fine. If you have green tomato recipes try this and see if it works for you. 

Finally you can cheat this method. You can freeze tomatoes with the stems on straight out of the garden unwashed. IF you are not planning to use them straight out of the bag once defrosted. I have done this. As you run the warm water over the frozen tomatoes, stem and peel them. They are perfect and ready to use in your recipe.

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Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 62Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 17mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 4gSugar 9gProtein 3g

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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!

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Jennifer Bernardo

Tuesday 12th of October 2021

Hello, I found 3 ziplock bags full of my fresh garden tomatoes at the back of the freezer from last years crop, do you think these are still safe to use?

Kayti Lavergne

Tuesday 12th of October 2021

Hi Jennifer, Yep I do. I have used tomatoes several times that are over a year old. If they are not freezer burned they will taste fine and will be safe to eat.

Jan

Monday 30th of August 2021

We use this method and it works very well. If you have small tomatoes where it’s tedious to peel them, purée them after cooking with an immersion blender and the skins will be undetectable.

Diane

Monday 30th of August 2021

Hi Jan, Thanks for the great tip on getting rid of those pesky peels on small tomatoes. We appreciate you sharing your experience!

Kenny

Tuesday 6th of April 2021

My Mom always scored, blanched, and froze tomatoes in cheap plastic twist top bags. She did this with green beans, okra, squash, etc. My friends always told her that they didn’t really like vegetables unless she made them. She also used lots of bacon. Texas, you know.

Marie

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

I like your "do what you've got to do attitude." One day I would love to get so organized and disciplined that I don't need to do "crazy " things like freezing tomatoes without washing them, but, until then...it's nice to know it is possible. ;)

Diane

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

Hi Marie, I'm right there with you. Gardening and putting the harvest up is challenging. There are times...

Prissy

Sunday 4th of October 2020

This is pretty sweet, thanks for sharing. I've got a ton of ripe Roma tomatoes and of course my husband has our open concept home torn up replacing with (very lovely!) hardwood maple. So this works perfectly !

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