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Preserving the Harvest with Easy Freezer Tomatoes

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How to Prepare Freezer Tomatoes in 5 Easy Steps…

Confession: I’m a lazy food preserver. And, that’s true even if I do find myself putting up a lot of food harvests from spring to autumn. Sure, I can a few jars of spicy, pickled beans. And I usually put up several jars of jam each year. Too, I may ferment a few cucumbers or salsa.

No blanching & no peeling! Wedges Ready to Freeze

Frozen tomato wedges preserved the easy way!

But when it comes to everything else perishable, I either dehydrate them or put them by in our deep freeze. That’s because these are really simple methods for making the most of abundant harvests. And freezer tomatoes are one of the easiest chores I do. (But it wasn’t always the easiest preserving I’d do.)

Because I like my preserving to be easy, I evolved my freezer tomato process. And you can too!

Read on for how to preserve freezer tomatoes in five easy steps!

Freezing garden-fresh tomatoes isn’t new to me.

I can remember the bags and bags of tomatoes my mom sunk into our deep freeze on the farm. And, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come ’round to doing the same in our household. Yes, I know, there are off-gassing issues with plastics in the freezer. And, yes, I know that plastic itself is evil.  And, yes, I know I could can the tomatoes. But, for now, I’m a self-confessed, well-fed, freezer of locally grown, seasonally picked, organic tomatoes.

Growing up, I’d help mom wash, core & inspect the tomatoes for blemishes…

Then, we’d twist-tie plastic bags and cram them into the deep freeze. In fact, we rarely peeled them — let alone chop them —  before they made their way into the giant freezer on the back porch.

We didn’t have a lot of money. So, even if zipper plastic bags existed, we really couldn’t afford them. Instead, we made due with bags that may not have really been ideal for freezing. Still, we made it work. But, it wasn’t ideal. That’s because the method of bagging up whole tomatoes into big bags with lots of air space really wasn’t very efficient. It isn’t a good use of storage space. And, the air degrades the food.

Trim, Blanch, Peel, Chop, Freeze, Clean Up Mess, Repeat

Trim, Blanch, Peel, Chop, Freeze, Clean Up, Ugh!

So, when I started freezing tomatoes from own adult garden, I changed things up.

That’s because when I was a kid, I hated eating winter soup with lots of curled up tomato skins. So, as an adult I decided the skins had to go. And, that meant a lot more work. That’s because to get rid of the peels, I had to do a bunch more messy steps. So here’s the way I used to freeze tomatoes:

  • First, I’d clean, inspect & core the tomatoes.
  • Then, I’d cut an “x” on the bottom. (That was so they’d peel easily, after I’d blanched them in boiling water.)
  • After they were blanched, I’d flash-chill  them in ice water. (That’s to stop the cooking.)

Already that was a lot of work! But, I wasn’t done yet!

  • Next I still had to peel & chop those tomatoes.
  • And I had to fill up zipper bags to freeze them.
  • But, because they went into the bag while they were soft, they’d turn to mush in one big goopy clump.

So over time I decided to change things up. And now I have a method for freezing tomatoes for long storage that’s easier. Plus the frozen tomatoes stay in chunks instead of a big bag of goop.

Here’s how to prepare freezer tomatoes in 5 easy steps:

  • First, line a metal baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Second, clean, inspect & core tomatoes.
  • Third, cut tomatoes into wedges. And lay the wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Fourth, place baking sheet with tomatoes into the freezer.
  • Fifth, once the freezer tomatoes are frozen solid, peel them off the parchment & place them in a labelled zipper freezer bag.  And return the bag to the freezer to preserve your tomatoes easily!

So, not only is this a super simple way to freeze tomatoes. But also the tomatoes don’t turn into a solid, frozen mush pile in the bag! And that means you can easily grab 2 or 3 wedges as you need them. Then the rest can stay in the freezer until you need them.

Best of all, it’s really easy to do! And when you cook your frozen tomatoes later, those peels either melt into the recipe. Or, they float to the top and are easy to skim off.

Just frozen, garden-fresh tomatoes ready to vacuum seal

Frozen tomatoes frozen into individual chunks.

Curious about learning to grow, harvest & preserve more?

Then join our online Academy where we’ll teach you to grow your own food, harvest it at its peak and preserve it to enjoy!

Want to make freezer tomatoes from your cherry tomato harvest?

It’s super easy to put up loads of cherry tomato harvests in the freezer. In fact, it’s even easier than the baking sheet freezer method we just outlined for transforming slicers into freezer tomatoes.

8 comments on “Preserving the Harvest with Easy Freezer Tomatoes

  1. Garden Mentors on

    Roger, How long frozen tomatoes will last can vary. In my own experience, which may differ from yours, I try to use them within 12 months of freezing them. If any of the seals are less vacuumed than others, I use those first and shortly after sealing. You might check the USDA site for their recommendations; they offer complete canning guides. There is also the National Center for Home Food Preservation, which offers this advice: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html

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