How to Freeze Tomatoes–No Blanching & No Peeling

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Got a lot of tomatoes coming in from your garden and wondering how to keep them from spoiling? I’ve got you covered in this post about How to Freeze Tomatoes–with everything you need to know.

Home grown tomatoes are delicious–there’s nothing like them. But when you have too many of them at once, you it can become a problem. Freezing tomatoes is a surprisingly super easy way to preserve your tomato harvest for months on end.

pinterest image for post about how to freeze tomatoes

One summer I got a boatload of really ripe tomatoes (at least 20 pounds) from our CSA and well, a lot of them needed to be processed quickly or we were going to lose them to the compost pile. I’m not one to waste food, but I’m also super busy, so I needed to figure something out, and fast.

Canning is a great way to store up tomatoes, but it’s time consuming and heats up the kitchen–and would you believe I’ve never done it on my own?)

That week, we ate some (make that lots) of tomatoes raw, made homemade sun-dried tomatoes, and some of my easy marinara sauce and also what I consider to be the best salsa, but there were still MORE tomatoes left. So I figured out how to freeze tomatoes and now I’m sharing the how to with you.

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Ways to Freeze Tomatoes

There are quite a few posts that focus only on how to freeze tomatoes whole.

While that’s a great idea, you might not have room in your freezer to do that, so here are some other ways to freeze your tomato harvest.

  • You can freeze them whole, sliced, chopped, diced, crushed or even blended
  • You can freeze them with or without the skins

What Kind of Tomato Is Best for Freezing?

While you technically can freeze any kind of tomato, certain types work better than others.

Beefsteak and other slicing tomatoes have a higher water content, so they won’t freeze and thaw as well. You can do it, but the outcome won’t be as good.

Roma and Cherry Tomatoes (yes, you can freeze cherry tomatoes), on the other hand, are the best types to freeze–they even will slice fairly well after thawing and while they won’t have the same exact texture as fresh tomatoes, they can technically be used in cold salads or even on sandwiches.

Whatever tomato type you choose, make sure that your tomatoes are ripe for best results.

What Equipment Do You Need to Freeze Tomatoes

This is what you’ll need in order to freeze tomatoes.

  • Quarter or larger size freezer bagsfreezer containers, or mason jars (if you really want to avoid plastic). I also like bags such as this kind. I like sealing them with Twixit Clips–my go-to clips for everything in my house!!).
  • A baking sheet or other firm surface (if flash freezing first)
  • Cutting board or food processor (if freezing blended tomatoes)
  • Vacuum Sealer or Straw (aka poor man’s vacuum sealer) (optional but recommended)
  • Ice Cube Trays (optional, but a great option for making frozen tomato cubes)

How To Wash Tomatoes

To wash tomatoes, simply run them under cool running water and rub the surface. Then, use a paper towel to dry them completely. Using a gentle and safe produce wash is a good idea as well.

Important Note: It’s not recommended to wash tomatoes by placing them in a sink full of water. The cut area near the stem can absorb contaminated water. For this same reason, you don’t want to use any type of non natural cleaner for washing since that might enter the stem area as well.

How to Wash Pesticides Off Tomatoes

Washing your fruits and vegetables under running water is a good first step, but to get them really clean and remove pesticides, it’s great to do more than that if not using organic tomatoes.

  • Add baking soda to water in a ratio of 1 tablespoon of soda to every two cups of water.
  • Soak the tomatoes in the solution for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse well and dry. 

Baking soda has been proven to remove pesticides from apples (source) and so it’s thought that it should work for most or all produce.

Can You Freeze Tomatoes Without Blanching Them?

Yes, you definitely can freeze tomatoes without blanching. In fact, you don’t even need to core them.

The point of blanching tomatoes is to remove the skins. However, as you’ll see in the next section, thawing frozen tomatoes under water makes the skin slip right off, so blanching is unnecessary.

Do You Need to Peel Tomatoes Before Freezing Them?

I personally leave tomato skins whether I’m cooking or freezing them, since there’s so much nutrition in them. However, some people like to peel tomatoes before cooking with them since the peel has a different texture than the rest of the tomato and sometimes can be a tad bitter.

If you’d prefer to peel your tomatoes, here are the easiest ways that I like to do it.

  • Easiest Way: The easiest way, however, to remove tomato peels is this–freeze tomatoes whole and then simply run them under cold water when you take them out of the freezer–the skin will come right off.
  • Remove Peels by “fishing them out.” When using frozen tomatoes in a dish, the peels will come off in the dish you put them soon after you add them. Provided the frozen pieces aren’t that large, you can simply fish out the pieces of peel from the dish either before or after cooking.

Note that if you want to freeze sliced, cubed, or diced tomatoes without the peels, you will need to blanch first.

How to Freeze Tomatoes

You can freeze tomatoes several ways–whole, sliced, chopped, diced, and even processed or completely blended.

It’s true–believe it or not, you can freeze tomatoes whole. It’s the easiest way to do it–no chopping or slicing needed, but whole tomatoes will take up the most room in the freezer.

Simply do whatever method works best based on your time and space available.

No matter which way you choose to freeze plain (unprocessed) tomatoes, the directions are mostly the same.

frozen sliced tomatoes on cutting board

How to Freeze Whole, Sliced, Chopped or Diced Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes this way can be done with minimal equipment and you can

  • Start with ripe tomatoes, as blemish-free as possible.
  • Remove the stem and any bad spots.
  • Wash the tomatoes and dry completely.
  • If not freezing whole tomatoes, slice, chop, or dice the tomatoes into uniform sizes.
  • Place the whole tomatoes (or slices or pieces) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  • Place in the freezer to flash freeze until mostly frozen–about 2-4 hours, depending on the size.
  • Remove from freezer and store in a freezer container, freezer bag, or jar, making sure to leave at least 1 inch of air space if using a jar.
  • If using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible using a vacuum sealer or a “straw vacuum sealer’ (see recipe card for details).

Note: There are some that claim that flash freezing before storing causes freezer burn, but that isn’t accurate. It’s the final packing of the frozen food and the type of freezer that results makes the difference.

frozen chopped tomatoes on cutting board

How to Freeze Processed (Crushed or Blended) Tomatoes

For this method, instead of flash freezing, you process the tomatoes and put them in usable-sized containers, like ice cube trays or small freezer bags. I also love this method for freezing tomatoes since there’s no slicing or chopping involved. Simply blend and freeze.

  • Start with ripe tomatoes, as blemish-free as possible.
  • Remove the stem and any bad spots.
  • Wash the tomatoes and dry completely.
  • Process the tomatoes in a food processor or blender to make either crushed tomatoes or a whole “tomato juice”
  • Either pour the crushed tomatoes or juice into ice cube trays or place a recipe-convenient amount into containers, again remembering to leave at least 1 inch of air space above the tomatoes. Note that 3 1/2 cups is equivalent to a 28 oz. can of tomatoes.
  • If using ice cube trays, after freezing, place the cubes into a freezer bag, removing the excess air with either a vacuum sealer or the straw vacuum sealer method.

What Is the Straw Vacuum Sealer Method?

Don’t have a vacuum sealer? Never fear!

All you need is a freezer bag and a straw to create pretty good vacuum freezer storage on the cheap.

You simply:

  • Fill your freezer bag with your frozen tomatoes
  • Flatten the bag on the counter.
  • Insert a straw halfway into the bag.
  • Zip the bag shut as much as possible while forcing as much air out of the bag as possible.
  • Suck the remaining air out of the bag until the bag shrinks around the tomatoes.
  • Quickly remove the straw from the bag and seal the bag.

Voila! You’ve sealed your tomatoes without adding to your kitchen gadget collection.

How Long Are Frozen Tomatoes Good For?

How long any food keeps well in the freezer depends on what type of freezer and the method used for freezing.  A deep freeze is better than an upright but airtight freezing is imperative for better long term storage.

In general, frozen tomatoes should last for 6-12 months, but will last at least 2-3 years in airtight storage.

How to Thaw Frozen Tomatoes

To defrost frozen tomatoes, either allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge, at room temperature for about an hour, or under warm water.

One of the best things about frozen tomatoes is how easy they are to peel! Once they’re defrosted, the skins should slip right off.

How to Use Frozen Tomatoes

As mentioned above, how you use frozen tomatoes will depend on the type you freeze. Frozen and thawed cherry and Roma tomatoes can be sliced and used pretty much like fresh tomatoes.

Larger tomatoes should be used in recipes that call for stewed or diced tomatoes like spaghetti sauce, soups and stews, etc.

You’ll LOVE how frozen tomatoes taste basically identical to canned tomatoes–and no need to worry about what cans are made out of!

Here are some recipes that would work great for any kind of frozen tomato:

More Ways to Preserve Produce

Preserving your harvest abundance is a great way to have nutritious food year round. Here are some great ways to do that!

tomatoes

How to Freeze Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes is a great way to preserve your garden bounty for your enjoyment all year round!
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients

  • 12 medium tomatoes (approximately for 1 gallon-sized freezer bag)

Instructions

  • Wash and dry the tomatoes.
  • Remove the stem and core (if desired).
  • Cut tomatoes into fourths (or smaller), slice, or chop (if desired).
  • Place on a baking sheet (or other firm surface), skin side down (if applicable).
  • Freeze for at least one hour.
  • Place tomatoes in freezer bags in a single layer, taking care not to overstuff the bags. (See notes for other container options.)
  • Remove air using a vacuum sealer or the straw method.
  • STRAW VACUUM SEALER METHOD: After filling your freezer bag with your frozen tomatoes, flatten the bag on the counter. insert a straw halfway into the bag. Zip the bag shut as much as possible while forcing as much air out of the bag as possible. Suck the remaining air out of the bag until the bag shrinks around the tomatoes. Quickly remove the straw from the bag and seal the bag.
  • Store the bags flat on top of each other in the freezer.

Notes

Sliced, chopped, and diced tomatoes will take up a lot less room in your freezer than whole tomatoes will. However, you can also blend your tomatoes and then freeze them in ice cube trays, storing them in freezer bags after they are frozen.
Container Options: You can use other containers to store the tomatoes once frozen, but the bags are the easiest for compact storage and also for ease of removing excess air to prevent freezer burn.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Note: This post was republished in October of 2021 with new images and a whole lot of new information. Following is one of the original images for reference.

The Easiest Way to Preserve Tomatoes

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131 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!!

    1. How do you make the fermented salsas? I’d be interested, I’ve made yogurt and fresh sauerkraut, but never heard of till now of fermented salsa.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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

  9. 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. 🙂

  10. 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.

  11. 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
    https://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

  12. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. Thanks for the invite! And nice to meet you! I’m paring down my link up list a little but I visited this week!

  13. 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!

    1. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

    1. 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!

  17. 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.