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How to Freeze Ripe Tomatoes

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Freeze tomatoes whole or cut.
Freeze tomatoes whole or cut.

Freeze the bounty of tomatoes you don’t eat fresh this summer for use in cooking next winter.

Freeze tomatoes whole or cut into wedges.

Wash and dry tomatoes for freezing and cut out any bad spots or bruises. Place whole or sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet and put the sheet into the freezer. Once the tomatoes are frozen slide them off the sheet into plastic freezer bags.

The skins will likely crack during freezing which will make the tomatoes easier to peel when they are thawed for cooking. If the skins don’t crack in freezing, just run cold water over each tomato and the skin will fall away.

Frozen tomatoes will keep up to four months.

More tomato freezing tips:

• Freeze tomatoes that have fully ripened and freeze them as freshly picked as possible.

• Prepare for freezing only the amount of tomatoes your freezer can freeze within 24 hours.

• Use freezer bags for freezing tomatoes; place the bags in cardboard freezer cartons for easy stacking. If you freeze tomatoes in rigid plastic containers make sure the lids are tight fitting; it is important to exclude as much air as possible. To force air out of plastic bags submerge all but the bag opening in water then seal.

• Label the bags or containers with the tomato variety and the harvest and freezing date.

• To yield 1 pint of tomatoes for cooking next winter you will need 1¼ to 2¼ pounds of tomatoes. (Three medium globe tomatoes, about eight plum tomatoes, and about thirty cherry tomatoes make a pound. A pound of tomatoes, peeled and seeded, will yield about one cup of pulp for cooking.)

• You can also freeze tomatoes as sauce, paste, or purées. (Cook or steam tomatoes till soft in a little water; mash the tomatoes and press through wire strainer, or whirl in a blender; add sugar and or lemon juice to taste; heat to boiling; chill and pack.)

Tips on How to Grow Tomatoes.


Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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