The Easiest Way to Preserve Tomatoes

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Can Tomatoes or Freeze Tomatoes

Got a lot of tomatoes coming in from your garden and wondering how to preserve them?

We had that problem just this past weekend.

We got a LOAD of tomatoes from our CSA and well, a lot of them needed to be processed right away or we were going to lose them to the compost pile.

I will be writing a post in the near future on homemade sun dried tomatoes, but today I am going to share with you the absolute easiest way to preserve tomatoes that I didn’t even know you could do until a few years ago.

Did you see my post on The Easiest Way to Preserve Herbs a few weeks ago?

Well, this technique is just as simple as that.

Did you know thatyou can freeze tomatoes?

I didn’t.  But boy, was I happy this weekend that you can!

Over the past few days we processed almost 80 pounds of tomatoes.  I know, sounds crazy.

I thought that I’d have more time than just 2 days to go through them, but they were a lot “farther along” in the ripening process than we thought initially, so we needed to move fast.

A good number of them ended up in my dehydrator and they have made amazing sun-dried tomatoes.

And then we made at least 5 batches of what I think may be The Best Salsa Ever.

But the dehydrator takes awhile, and there is only so much salsa that we can eat, and so –to keep all those beauties from spoiling and since I don’t know how to can yet (and didn’t have time to learn :-)), I had to lean on freezing, which is the absolute easiest way to preserve tomatoes.

(By the way, for those of you wondering about the cost of preserving produce, I have a nifty cost analysis of food preservation in my post on “Which Saves Most – Dehydrating, Canning, or Freezing?”)

If you have the freezer space and no time, this is the way to go!


Do you like tips like these that make your life simpler?  You can see other time saving nifty storage solutions in my posts on

Now, if anyone lives in the West Michigan area and wants to get together to teach me how to can, I will be eternally grateful!

How about you?  How do you preserve your garden bounty?

{Photo Credit}

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  1. You can also just wash the tomato and put it in a bag to freeze. When you thaw it the skin will come right off. Then just dice and use how you need. It will have plenty of juice too. :)

    • Great tip! I love it! That way you can have whole tomatoes too! The only thing is I think it’s a bit more space efficient to cut and then freeze. So those of us w/ stuffed freezers will need to chop first!

  2. I started freezing tomatoes a couple of years ago, and love the convenience of it. My concern is if we were to lose power, there goes all my goodies. I try and supplement with canning some, but the freezing is a heck of a lot easier!

  3. I usually cook then freeze. Love that I can just chop and freeze. I wonder if I could freeze them in halves instead of chopped. What do you think? I always make spaghetti sauce and freeze it too. We have a plentiful garden at the moment and have been having fresh salsa too. Thank you for the info Hugs!

    • I am sure that you could just freeze them in half. Another reader commented that she freezes them whole and the peels just slide off. We are using only organically grown tomatoes right now and I want to keep the peels, but it’s nice to know for those who don’t want the peels.

  4. What are the size of the small bags? I see the store has an assortment of sizes and I am NOT good at math! :)

    • The bags that I buy from Country Life are 4 x 2 x 8. I will add that to the post – thanks! I think anything close would work great. Too big and they will get unwieldy with tomatoes in them, I think :-).

  5. JoAnna Mobley says:

    Freezing is a much easier method, however, my freezer space is limited…I’m saving it for our grass fed cow. AND…we try to save freezer space just in case we are offered a job transfer and have (get)to move. Tomatoes are by far the easiest thing in the world to can and take very little effort….if my freezer goes out, flips the breaker or what ever, my tomatoes are still safe in my pantry…and if we ever get to move, I can take them with me. Watch a you tube video on canning tomatoes…I usually cold pack mine, then water bath them, but you can hot pack them and not have to water bath for as long.

  6. I dip the tomatoes in boiling water and then plunge them in ice water. The peel will slide right off. I use zip lock bags, but I have to remind myself that they EXPAND when they freeze so it is important not to over fill. A flat bag stacks more efficiently in the freezer, too. I freeze my bags laying on a cookie sheet so they will be more stackable once they are frozen. I’ve found bags of tomatoes in the freezer that were 3 years old, that sill made great soups and chili!

  7. I wash, dry, and freeze the tomatoes whole. Then, when I need them, I put them in a bowl of cold water, pop the skins off, and put them into a sauce pan with chopped onions, fresh herbs from my garden, and cook slowly over low heat. Absolutely the best sauce I’ve ever made!

    I wish I lived nearby – canned 3 dozen jars of tomatoes, sauce, and salsa last year. I’d love to teach you.

  8. Good to know for next year! This year I just made a bunch of soup, salads, and sandwiches. :-)

  9. Hi there! I just did a post on tomatoes too! I like your idea though. Take care!

  10. This is awesome, thanks! I’m posting on freezing green beans tomorrow :). I really want to can some tomatoes but have yet to get my hands on a large quantity. I’ve lost some beautiful CSA tomatoes in the last weeks so I’m excited to try this out soon. Thanks again. – Jess (at) OlyMomma

  11. No I did not realize that you could freeze tomatoes. Thank you for sharing this tip with us all. I appreciate it.

    I am visiting today from WFMW. It is nice to “meet” you. I hope you have a great week.

    Blessings,
    LaVonne @ Long Wait For Isabella

  12. hmmm. That seems way too easy! :) I am getting a batch today. I think I will try that! Thanks again fir the great tip Adrienne!

  13. Yes, I’ve definitely frozen tomatoes. I freeze them whole if I don’t have time to deal with them and then in the coolness of winter I cook my pizza sauce :)
    I would however, advise to make sure the plastic bags you use are BPA free because tomatoes, being acidic, will really absorb the phthalates. If you’re not sure, do a search.

  14. Thank you very much. Your tip is really simple to follow and all the other comments are very helpful, too. I’m glad I found your site. Next time we have lots of tomatoes at home, I’ll follow your easy steps in preserving them.

  15. Your tomato storage idea is a good one – and it’s timely! My tomatoes are just starting to ripen, and I’ve already used this method to preserve them for my first big batch. I hope to make some sauce out of them later. Yum! Thanks for the idea!

  16. I froze my first tomatoes last year. It was nice having some “fresh” to use in the winter when making chili and soup. I need to get started doing it again this year!

  17. Cherished Handmade Treasures says:

    I do a lot of freezing food. Have never seen the clips you use though. Great idea! New follower from the Whimsical Wednesday hop. Happy Wednesday!

    Sandy
    Cherished Handmade Treasures

  18. Wow! I wish we had tomatoes like that in our garden. I think it’s just too hot in Tucson for them. Out nights don’t cool off enough. (that’s our guess) Thanks for Sharing at Cast Party Wednesday.
    See you next week!

  19. I have made sun dried tomatoes in the oven, but I’ve never frozen or canned tomatoes. I just used 5 lbs. of tomatoes to make pasta sauce. I’ll keep freezing in mind the time I get too many. I prefer to freeze in bags that lay flat because they thaw faster. Thanks for linking up.

  20. Wow, great tip! I’m new to preserving food and was wondering what to do with my tomatoes since I don’t really have enough to try canning them yet. Good to know I can just pop them in the freezer!

  21. Very interesting and informative article, i just love tomatoes!
    Found your blog from Do Sweat the Small Stuff. Have a nice day ahead! :)

  22. I love tomatoes! This is so easy and a good way to save your tomatoes!

  23. Great tips for tomatoes. :) Thank you for sharing.

    Lately I’ve had a lot of bell pepper and basil in my garden. I recently posted about harvesting basil, making pesto and freezing it in small batches to use later. This is the link, in case you’d like to check it out: http://jewelry4change.blogspot.com/2011/08/basil-tips-and-great-pesto-recipe.html

    Love your blog!

    • Thanks for the compliment! I will check it out. I did a post on preserving herbs. My son has a lot of nut allergies,, so honestly I have never even eaten pesto, but perhaps I can substitute!

  24. E.J. Apostrophe says:

    Hi Adrienne,

    Wouldn’t tomatoes lost their texture and taste if they are in a frozen state? An inquiring mind would like to know.

    • From what I understand (and we will certainly know for sure soon :-)), they will keep their taste, but would be best used in a sauce or cooked dish. I for sure won’t be making salsa with the frozen ones!

    • Followed the link from Pickle Me Too.

      Yes, frozen tomatoes will lose their texture. I have been coring and freezing mine whole for several years now. Then, as noted above, thaw in cold water, slip out of the skin and add to soups, sauces and chilis. The tomatoes will dissolve in the pot but leave lots of flavor. It’s almost like instant tomato sauce right out of the freezer.

      I’ve frozen several varieties of tomato but the best are the Roma or paste varieties that have thicker walls and few seeds. Those can be simmered down and reduced for a more tomato paste texture and use during the winter.

  25. Great info! Thanks for sharing. I love keeping my heirloom tomatoes for as long as possible!

  26. Oh yes, very easy. I just learned from a friend that freezing whole tomatoes on a sheet pan is the easiest way to skin a tomato… maybe I’ll try to combine the two techniques next time I have a lot of tomatoes to use up.

    Oh, and I can’t live without Tiwxit Clips…. I use them for absolutely everything too. I love, love, love them.
    :)
    ButterYum

  27. Great post! I can mine, but freezing sounds very handy! Canning is not that hard. Dice, peel and a light cooking…add a little lemon juice, a little salt…you’re good to process them and store them.

    • Sounds so simple, but I am always nervous about the contamination issues. Guess I just need to plunge in and do it. Maybe w/ apple sauce this fall when I can get seconds on apples and not worry so much about ruining it :-)!

  28. I really miss having my own garden and canning things each year…. living in the city just isn’t the same!!

    Hop’in by from ‘Thoughtful Thursday Blog Hop’. I’m following your blog now, wont you please come and follow me back?? ~KM

    Krafty Max Originals

  29. Yes, I did know that tomatoes could be frozen. And I have, but thing is they lose a lot of texture and taste in the process. At least I think so. Only good for sauces after frozen, and a lot of spices added in the cooking.

    My First Food Trip Friday [I'm not sure if I'm doing this all correctly tho...live and learn.]

    Have a glorious weekend.

  30. I’ve never had luck with freezing tomatoes, they lose their taste and texture too much for my liking. I’ve always can mine and have the sauces ready to go :)

    Thank you for sharing Adrienne :)

  31. Thanks for the tip! Our garden has just started to take off – odd since summer is ending but whatever – better late than never I guess!…I do need a way to preserve our tomatoes. I will totally try this.

  32. NEVER knew you could freeze tomatoes! Hallelujah!!!

  33. We are actually freezing our bags of tomatoes now too. We just wash them and cut out any bad spots, then put them in freezer bags and that’s it. We do it so that in a couple of months, we can spend a few days and make our year’s worth of spaghetti sauce. It takes a few days, and we just don’t have the time right now. But later, we can take the bags out, thaw them and make the sauce. Easy Peasy.
    I just cannot believe it’s time to start thinking about canning already…..Yikes!!!
    Happy preserving!!!

  34. Freeze ‘em!! It’s so easy, why didn’t I think of that?!? But I’m glad you did and that I came across your post :) Will be freezing our supply now.
    visiting from Friday Potluck

  35. Hi Adrienne,
    Your method for the tomatoes looks great and very easy. We still have some wonderful tomatoes to preserve this year. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come back soon!
    Miz Helen

    • Hi Helen!
      Thanks for stopping by again. Hope your tomatoes work out. I hope to share how to make sun-dried tomatoes soon. It’s a guest post, however, so I am not sure when it will go live :-).

  36. wow, i never tried preserving tomatoes or anything yet, this one sounds so easy. by the way, great post as always. and oh, how many days it can be frozen? thanks! visiting from FTF, hope you can visit me back! have a great week. :)

    • From what I have read, you can store them frozen for up to one year. However, I have always kept things in my deep freeze longer than that with no problem. See you next week hopefully!

  37. Adrienne, it seems like the first post I always click on in a blog hop is yours! Your posts obviously really interest me! I wish I had more tomatoes to preserve. I will remember this for the future! Thanks!

  38. I have to check out those bags! I do some of our tomatoes this way every year, and love that I don’t have to spend time in the kitchen during the hottest part of the year!

  39. Thanks so much for sharing this very instructive post at FAT TUESDAY! I love the tip about where to get the BPA free bags!

    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/08/fat-tuesday-august-30-2011/

  40. Hi! I’m featuring your recipe on It’s a Keeper Thursday this week! I’d love if you stopped by and grabbed a button.

    And, feel free to link up another great recipe this week too!

    Cheers!
    Christina @ It’s a Keeper
    Follow me on Facebook and Twitter

  41. I love your site! I really had not even thought of freezing tomatoes…can’t wait to give this a try!

    • Thanks Erika! Hope to see you around! From what I’ve read now (on the web and in the comments), the texture might not be great, but that’s OK w/ me if I’m cooking them!

  42. Great idea to freeze, I freeze mine as well when I am getting so many I don’t know what to do with, I just freeze them whole, they are easy to peel and cut after they freeze as well. I love tomatoes in the freezer.

  43. If you have an Ikea nearby, the storage bag clips are 2.99 for a set of thirty. They are called Bevara clips. Unfortunately, they are not sold on line, only in the store.

    • Donna, Are you sure that they are the same quality? These are made by Linden and have a lifetime guarantee. I don’t have an Ikea nearby, but I have gotten some clips replaced so that guarantee has been great! Thanks!

  44. Hi stoppin by from the blog hop. Im now following you via FB and Networked Blogs.. Please follow me back at http://jessycaspage.blogspot.com/
    Have a great rest of the week!

  45. Wow! Great post! We are tomato lovers and I have pinned this post for regular use. Thank you so much for linking your post up at Savvy HomeMade Monday!

  46. I do this too! Forget all of those instructions about boiling, peeling, yada yada yada! I also add fresh basil and oregano to some of the bags for use in my pasta sauces during the winter months.

  47. Deborah Jennings says:

    You can also use those dehydrated tomatoes and make tomato powder. After they cool from the dehydrator, put them in a food processor or a good blender and chop up real fine into a powder. Store in an air-tight container. You can then use the powder for tomato sauce, paste, juice or soup.

    I made some from our tomatoes this summer. =) But the garden burned up before it finished it’s season. =( No water from above here in Texas!

    • I’ve thought about making tomato powder and I’ve seen recipes where you include it in homemade pasta to make tomato pasta. Yum! Thanks for the reminder!

  48. Just processed some of my tomatoes this last week. Am liking this idea for sure! I’d love to have you link this up to Titus 2 Tuesday this week on Cornerstone Confessions. Hope to see you there!

    Kathy

  49. i’m so jealous you have tomatoes right now!!! with the weather we’ve been getting on vancouver island, it’s unlikely we’ll get any this year! mrawh!

    Small side note: Tomorrow (wed) is the very first posting for our Fresh Foods Link Up! Come share your CSA collections, farmer’s market treasures, home grown/raised hauls, and/or any seasonal recipes or DIY projects or tutorials! We’ve got a way for bloggers AND blog readers to participate!

    • I don’t have them yet….just reposting a good post :-). But they are starting to grow. I would love to visit you – what a beautiful area I am sure!

  50. ladyhawthorne says:

    When you have the time later on you can take your frozen tomatoes and can them in jars.

  51. Oh I wish we had too many tomatoes and I could do this with them! We all love fresh tomatoes – and when we grow them they barely make it out of the garden and into the kitchen!! :)

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

  52. A friend just told me about this method. I was unable to can tomatoes last summer, and it doesn’t look like I will have any more time this year. Garden tomatoes taste soooo much better than store bought tomatoes! I will be freezing this year.

  53. Thanks for the idea! This will come in very handy when our tomatoes begin to ripen. I think we’re going t have more than we’ll know what to do with for a while. This way I can just chuck ‘em in the freezer and then make sauce and salsa at my convenience. :)

  54. Hi Adrienne,
    This is a great way to preserve tomatoes. Hope you are having a great holiday week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  55. What a wonderful way to enjoy delicious tomatoes all year round! Thank you for sharing this great preserving idea!

  56. I have been freezing tomatoes for 30 years. I wash them take the stems off and plop them in bags. When I make soup or anything that cooks for awhile I just throw them in and the skin comes to the top or we just eat it. I freeze as many as my freezer will allow then dry or can the rest. Drying is good stuffed in a jar with a little olive oil ad garlic…..yum to take out and put in pasta or on top of pizza.

  57. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great week end and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  58. rebecca says:

    thanks we had frozen whole tomatoes before and other than sticking the whole tomato in soup or stew it didn’t work out well..as my garden produces tomatoes I will have to try this ‘tomato sauce/diced tomato way as well as canning them.

  59. I have made some wonderful fermented salsas that will keep a long time in the fridge or root cellar—no canning needed plus free probiotics plus increased digestibility/nutrition!!!

  60. Another way that is super easy is to slow oven roast the tomatoes with olive oil, and garlic. Let cool and then freeze in two cup or four cup quantities. Tastes richer, and all they really need then is to be warmed up. I use the peels because they have nutrition and fiber.

  61. Won’t freezing the tomatoes spoil the vitamins in them? Just curious? I would think canning is a better process if not more time consuming.

  62. I made 5 gallons of salsa, we love it and I made enough to last us all winter!

  63. Hi,
    I love this idea of freezing tomatoes, sounds really easy and just what I need! Once you defrost them, how can you use them? Sorry for asking a silly question but I’ve never done this or made any type of sauces before.
    Thanks!