A Guide To Freezing Tomatoes


Freezing is a popular and extremely effective method to preserve the richness of summer-grown vegetables and fruits. Tomatoes turn pretty fast, it be wonderful to preserve them by freezing. They are soft and mushy making many people wonder, can you freeze tomatoes?

Tomatoes can be frozen and kept in the freezer for up to six months. Tomatoes can be frozen uncooked or blanched before freezing. Frozen tomatoes are best for stews, soups or sauces once thawed because they don’t retain their original texture.

In this article, I will detail how you preserve tomatoes, step by step, for both techniques.In addition, I’ll inform you if freezing them affects their nutrient contents. Let’s get started!

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How To Freeze Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes is a simple, quick job requiring very little preparation. You can use two techniques for freezing, therefore let’s take a look at each one in greater detail 1.

How To Freeze Tomatoes Without Blanching

Direct freezing without blanching 2 is the more preferred method if you are planning to use the frozen tomatoes within the next 4 to 6 weeks. It requires less preparation, and using the tomatoes within a month after freezing will help get a richer flavor out of them. How to freeze tomatoes without blanching?

To freeze tomatoes without blanching follow these steps:

  1. Cut off the branches of the tomatoes as well as the rough, white stem scars lying below the stem.
  2. If dicing the tomatoes, cut them into the desired size.
  3. If planning to freeze many tomatoes, dicing them will help create more storage space.
  4. Place the tomatoes (diced or whole) on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for 4-6 hours.
  5. Once frozen, transfer them to airtight containers or zip lock bags squeezing out the excess air. 
  6. Place them in the freezer for up to six months.

It’s important to mention, once more, direct freezing works best if you are planning to use the tomatoes within a month or two. Beyond this timeline, they will start to lose their tangy flavor.

How To Blanch And Freeze Tomatoes 

Blanching is a slightly more complex process and one that preserves a tomato’s flavor and nutrients for a more extended period of time. Blanching involves steaming or boiling before freezing.

Therefore, if you’re planning to use tomatoes for cooking over the next six months, blanching would be more effective than direct freezing. What is the best way to blanch tomatoes?

The best way to blanch and freeze tomatoes:

  1. Remove the stems and cut out the stem scars lying below the surface.
  2. Flip each tomato over and make two small slits at the bottom forming an ‘X.’ 
  3. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  4. Place the tomatoes into boiling water for 2 minutes or until the skin splits.
  5. Transfer the tomatoes to the bowl of ice water.
  6. Once the tomatoes have cooled down and can be handled, peel off the skin starting at the X.
  7. Place the peeled tomatoes into an airtight container and remove as much excess air as possible.
  8. Write the date on the container and place into the freezer for up to six months.
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How To Freeze Tomatoes For Spaghetti Sauce

Freezing tomatoes for making sauce in the future is similar to the blanching method above with one extra step after peeling.

How to freeze tomatoes for tomato sauce:

  1. Remove the stems and cut out the stem scars lying below the surface.
  2. Flip each tomato over and make two small slits at the bottom forming an ‘X.’
  3. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  4. Place the tomatoes into boiling water for 2 minutes or until the skin splits.
  5. Transfer the tomatoes to the bowl of ice water.
  6. Once the tomatoes have cooled down and can be handled, peel off the skin starting at the X.
  7. Crush the peeled tomatoes by hand.
  8. Place the crushed tomatoes into an airtight container and remove as much excess air as possible.
  9. Leave at least an inch or two of space between the surface of the tomatoes and the container’s lid as the tomatoes tend to expand while freezing.
  10. Write the date on the container and place into the freezer for up to six months.

How To Freeze Cherry Tomatoes

  1. Remove the stems and cut out any stem scars lying below the surface.
  2. Place the cherry tomatoes on a cookie sheet spaced apart and not touching each other.
  3. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for one hour or until they are frozen.
  4. Once frozen, transfer them to airtight containers or zip lock bags squeezing out the excess air.
  5. Place them in the freezer for up to six months.

Freezing tomatoes is much quicker than regular tomatoes because they freeze quicker. The best way to defrost frozen cherry tomatoes is removing them from the freezer and placing them in the refrigerator until thawed.

If time is of the essence, place the frozen cherry tomatoes in a bowl on the counter until thawed. Defrosted cherry tomatoes lose their shape and crispness. Therefore, they are not as good for salads but are great for soups, stews or other similar recipes.

How To Freeze Tomato Juice

If you’ve already prepared tomato juice 3 and want to freeze the remainder for future use, follow these steps on how to freeze tomato juice:

  1. Pour prepared tomato juice into an airtight freezer plastic container.
  2. Leave empty space at the top of the container. 1/2 inch for one pint, 1 inch for one quart.
  3. Seal the container and date it.
  4. Place into the freezer for up to six months.

 The Best Container For Freezing Tomatoes

The best containers for freezing tomatoes are plastic freezer containers or plastic freezer bags. Do not freeze tomatoes in glass jars because the tomatoes may expand and crack the glass. Check current prices on Amazon for Plastic Food Storage Containers.

Always leave some headspace, room at the top of the plastic container. Leave 1/2 inch for one pint and 1 inch for one quart 4.

When using a plastic freezer bag, the best way to remove the excess air from the bag is using a vacuum sealer. If you don’t have one, squeeze as much air out as possible and close the top almost all the way. Insert a straw and suck out the remaining air and then fully seal the top.

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Does Freezing Tomatoes Ruin Them?

Freezing is an effective and straightforward method of preserving tomatoes and allows you to store them for the future. This storage method will enable you to use them in your favorite recipes even months from now.

Freezing tomatoes does not ruin them they do not retain their regular firmness, shape, or texture after being frozen for a few weeks. Additionally, the flavor and aroma of frozen tomatoes are not as rich or exuberant as the taste and fragrance of fresh produce.

As such, frozen tomatoes can only be used in a handful of preparations, like recipes using cooked tomatoes. Otherwise, they might make a gooey salad or a sloppy sandwich, as freezing results in the loss of firmness.

You can still use frozen tomatoes in a variety of ‘saucy’ dishes. Soups, stews, broths and chilies are the perfect recipes to try out, as frozen tomatoes still retain the thickness and saucy flavor. Few things can compare to the comfort of having a warm tomato soup or stew during the cold winter months.

Frozen tomatoes are also great for making pasta sauce as they contain much more of the natural flavor than canned tomatoes or readymade sauces.

Does Freezing Tomatoes Affect Nutrients?

Nutritional value after freezing is often debated. One of those reasons is how the tomatoes are frozen which alters the results differently. Does freezing tomatoes reduce nutritional value?

Freezing tomatoes reduces some nutrients when frozen for more than a year. If the tomatoes are blanched prior to freezing, the blanching results in the loss of water-soluble and oxygen-labile nutrients like vitamin C and B vitamins.

Studies 5 comparing the antioxidant activity and nutrient density between frozen produce and fresh produce found only a tiny difference between the two 6.

On the other hand, when vegetables are blanched, the nutrient loss is greater. The loss varies from 10-80% depending on the vegetable and how long it’s blanched for. The average length of nutrient loss from freezing is approximately 50%.

In fact, while frozen tomatoes may be less rich in nutrients as fresh ones, they retain nutrients far longer than tomatoes stored out in the open. In addition, without freezing or some other preservation method, you can barely store tomatoes for longer than a few days. 

Of course, you won’t find a method of preservation retaining the density of nutrients present in freshly harvested tomatoes. A slight drop in nutritional value and antioxidant activity is a small price to pay to be able to use tomatoes throughout the year.

Check out the blanching pot used in this blanching video. If interested, you can purchase them on Amazon here, Blanching Pots.

FAQs

Can tomatoes be seasoned before freezing? Tomatoes should be unseasoned before freezing. Freezing can change the strength of the seasonings. Therefore, the frozen tomatoes should be seasoned after thawing.

Can I blend tomatoes and freeze them? Different types of tomatoes can be blended before freezing them. Although do not blend peeled and unpeeled tomatoes prior to freezing.

Should tomatoes be frozen with the stems? Tomatoes should not be frozen with the stems attached. The stems should be removed prior to freezing because thawed tomatoes are mushy and soft making it more difficult to cut the stems off.

Wrapping Up The Frozen Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes is a highly effective way to preserve and utilize that saucy, tangy flavor in all of your cooking.

However, keep in mind freezing slightly affects the nutritional value of tomatoes. The best way to combat the drop in nutrients is not to blanch the tomatoes before freezing them.

Unless you’re growing an indoor plant or living in tropical climates, tomatoes are available for only a particular portion of the year. Therefore, learning to freeze produce will give you the option of enjoying the goodness of tomatoes for months to come.

Read Next – More Food Storage Articles!

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A Guide To Storing Pickles

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Storing Olive Oil 101

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. University of California: Tomatoes: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy[]
  2. University of Nebraska-Lincoln: How to Freeze Tomatoes[]
  3. National center for Home Food Preservation: Freezing Tomatoes[]
  4. University Of Minnesota Extension: Three ways to freeze fresh raw tomatoes[]
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effects of hot air and freeze drying methods on antioxidant activity, colour and some nutritional characteristics of strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L) fruit[]
  6. Wiley Online Library: Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Part 1. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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