When most people think about how to preserve tomatoes, images of spending hours in the kitchen, sweating over a hot pot of boiling water, during the dog days of summer appear. However, this year, it is time to take a new look on how to save those tomatoes before they go bad. In fact, preserving tomatoes is actually one of the easiest things that you will ever do!

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Tomatoes ready to be preserved.

It seems like we wait all of June and most of July to watch the transformation of that one green tomato to turn red. And before we know it, in just a few weeks, we are inundated with baskets of ripe tomatoes that we don’t know what to do with. Yes, the first batch of salsa was easy, and a few days later the pasta sauce was made. But all of a sudden, life happens. There is school shopping to be done, picnics to attend, and of course work that prevents you from keeping up with those ripening tomatoes. Before you know it, one garden picking day can result in several baskets of tomatoes. 

Although we typically can tomatoes in various sauces and as diced tomatoes, this year is different. We are freezing most produce from the garden out of sheer necessity, but we are finding that sometimes it is so much easier, and less time-consuming than the canning process.  Of course, this all depends on how much freezer space that you have available. 

If you are overwhelmed with the amount of tomatoes that you have or if you want to preserve tomatoes for use in sauces and soups over the winter, freezing is the key.  No, you will not have that firm texture of a fresh picked tomato, but most tomatoes are used as a base for something else anyway. 

So here are a few ways you can preserve tomatoes using the freezer:

Preserve Tomatoes Using The Freezer

FREEZE TOMATOES WHOLE  – (skin and all) It doesn’t get any easier than this!  You can actually pick tomatoes, wash them off and freeze them whole. Just put them in an air tight container and use them as you need them throughout the year. 

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Yes, you can freeze whole tomatoes!

FREEZE TOMATOES WITHOUT THE SKIN  – yes, you could blanch them in boiling water for a minute and dip them in a cold ice water bath to remove the skin, but there is an easier way!  Cut the stem end off of the tomato and place tomatoes on a baking sheet and place in the freezer.  After they freeze (1-3 hours) run them under cold water and the skins will fall off!  No more scalding water splashing on your skin.  Freeze in an air tight container.

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Peeling a frozen tomato without boiling water!

FREEZE TOMATO HALVES, QUARTERS, OR DICED TOMATOES: follow the same process as above for removing the skins, cut as desired and freeze in an air tight container in sections most likely to be used in your recipes.  

We love to dice our tomatoes and store them in both 32 ounce and 15 ounce packages.

FREEZE PUREED TOMATOES – Remove stem and any bad areas from the tomato and place large chunks in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times to desired consistency and place puree in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 10-12 hours or until reduced and thickened to desired consistency.  

Freeze puree in desired quantities.  **We usually add the puree to our slow cooker in the evening and let it cook overnight. We then freeze it after it cools when we get home from work. 

If you need more ideas on how to use up all those tomatoes, check out the article: Our Best Tomato Recipes 

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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21 thoughts on “How To Easily Preserve Tomatoes – No Canning Required!

  • September 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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    While I do plan on freezing some of them, but during the season, I’ve been picking every day (or two) and when my fridge box is full, I take the rest to a place called House of Bread (www.houseofbread.org) that prepares “a hot, nutritious, lunchtime meal to anyone in need 365 days a year” Or you can donate to a local food pantry.

  • August 27, 2016 at 11:13 am
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    I cut my tomatoes in half, lay them cut side up on a baking tray, add some garlic cloves and a couple of cut in half peppers. Sprinkle on some basil or rosemary and slow roast at 250 for a few hours. Blend and freeze or can. Great sauce for all occasions: pizza, spaghetti sauce, soup or what ever you need tomatoe sauce for.

  • August 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm
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    hours – it is cooking in a crock pot.

  • August 19, 2016 at 6:25 pm
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    Holy smokes, this is good info!!!

  • August 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm
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    In the slow cooker it would be 10-12 hours

  • August 17, 2016 at 3:23 pm
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    This is against everything I was taught about freezing tomatoes–that you must blanch/then cold water to stop the growth enzme or the tomatoes will be tough.

    • August 17, 2016 at 7:55 pm
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      Blanching for tomatoes isn’t necessary like for other produce. Usually the blanching for tomatoes is done for easy peeling of the skin.

      • August 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm
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        Would try it, but I have 4 small freezers and they are taken!! I can or dehydrate tomatoes and if the occasion ever presents itself, I will freeze the easy way next time.

  • August 17, 2016 at 12:27 pm
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    how would vacuum sealing fir into all of this?

    • August 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm
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      We vacuum seal after we flash freeze them to prevent compressing

  • August 16, 2016 at 5:31 pm
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    Do you have to cook the puree???

    • August 16, 2016 at 8:36 pm
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      You don’t have to cook it to freeze it but it will be much thinner than if you cooked it

  • August 16, 2016 at 5:27 pm
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    Do you have to cook the puree?

  • August 16, 2016 at 11:25 am
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    Can I freeze the tomatoes and make juice from the frozen ones later?

    • August 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm
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      Absolutely!

  • August 16, 2016 at 11:22 am
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    Can they be frozen then canned?

    • August 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm
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      Yes, you can freeze them and then process them to be canned later.

  • August 16, 2016 at 10:58 am
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    Dehydrated tomatoes need no power to be kept. By drying them they can be stored in jars on a shelf. Nothing lost if your power goes down. Lighter and smaller than any other storage method.

    • August 24, 2016 at 2:46 pm
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      Hi. I am interested in dehydrating things and don’t know much about dehydrators. Which brands do you think are good. I don’t need the best as I don’t have a big garden, but I don’t want a cheap-o junk one either. Would you mind suggesting some? Thanks!

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