Tomatoes are both delicious and versatile. You can add them to a salad or a sandwich, blend them into juice, puree them to make a pasta sauce or to put in a stew, or make soup out of them.
However, what if you grow them and have too many to eat before they spoil? Is there a way of storing them for the long term? Yes, you can freeze tomatoes, and in this article, we will tell you how to freeze tomatoes and how to defrost them.
How To Freeze Tomatoes
You can freeze tomatoes both cooked and uncooked, as well as tinned tomatoes.
How To Freeze Uncooked Tomatoes
You can freeze any type of tomato, be it small cherry tomatoes or large beefsteak tomatoes. This is the way to do it.
1. Wash and dry the tomatoes.
You don’t want to freeze your tomatoes if they are dirty. Ensure that they are completely dry. If you put them in the freezer while they are still wet, ice crystals will form and the tomatoes will become mushy when thawed. Remove the stem from the tomatoes.
2. Flash-freeze the tomatoes.
Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, making sure that they aren’t touching each other. This will ensure that the tomatoes don’t stick together when they are bagged up. Put the baking tray in the freezer until the tomatoes are frozen solid.
3. Put the tomatoes in freezer bags.
Divide the tomatoes into meal-size portions and put them into separate freezer bags. It is a good idea to do this so that you only defrost as many tomatoes as you need. Squeeze out the air from the freezer bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur as this will ruin the taste and texture of the tomatoes. Put labels on the bags with the date so that you know when you put them in the freezer.
4. Put the bags in the freezer.
How To Freeze Cooked Tomatoes
1. Cook the tomatoes.
2. Cool down the tomatoes.
You don’t want to put the tomatoes in the freezer while they are still warm as they will bring up the temperature and other food may start to defrost and perhaps even spoil.
3. Put the cooked tomatoes in an airtight container.
You can divide the tomatoes into meal-size portions and put them into separate containers so that you only defrost as much as you need. This saves you from having to throw any away. Put labels on all the containers with the date.
How To Freeze Tinned Tomatoes
There’s no need to open a tin of tomatoes to freeze because they have a very long shelf life. However, if you have opened a tin, you can freeze what you don’t need for the time being. This is the way to do it.
1. Put the tomatoes in an airtight container or freezer bag.
If you are using a freezer bag, squeeze out the air to prevent freezer burn.
Tips For Freezing Tomatoes
- Don’t bother freezing unique and expensive tomatoes. You will probably want to eat them fresh in a salad and if you freeze them, they will lose some of their texture.
- If you freeze uncooked tomatoes, you will find that they will become mushy when defrosted. They are best not eaten as they are but are better cooked into a sauce, stew, or soup.
- It is better to freeze your tomatoes cooked. This will save time when you come to defrost your tomatoes. Why not make tomato pasta sauce so that you have very little work to do when you need a quick midweek meal?
- If using freezer bags, squeeze out all the air to prevent freezer burn.
- If freezing whole tomatoes, freeze them in a rigid airtight container so that they don’t get squashed.
For How Long Can You Freeze Tomatoes?
Tomatoes can be frozen for a long time before they start to spoil. You can keep them in the freezer for up to six months. It’s a great idea to make tomato sauce in bulk and freeze it in meal-size portions. Then you’ll have easy meals when you’ve had a hard day at work.
How Do You Defrost Tomatoes?
There are different ways of defrosting tomatoes. You can take them out of the freezer the day before you want to use them and put them in the fridge. They will then be ready to use when you get in from work.
If you have frozen tomato sauce, you can defrost it in the microwave and then use it in your recipe. You can even just put the frozen sauce into the pan and heat it on your stovetop. It will, of course, take longer to heat up than if you defrosted it in the fridge.
If you want to use whole tomatoes from frozen, run them under a warm tap for a couple of minutes.
Can You Refreeze Tomatoes?
We don’t recommend that you refreeze tomatoes. The texture does change when you freeze tomatoes and if you do this twice, you could end up with a soggy mess. This is why you should freeze tomatoes in meal-size portions so that you defrost only as many as you need. There is, however, an exception to this rule. If you defrost your tomatoes and then make them into a sauce, you can freeze the sauce. In the same way, if you make a dish with the tomatoes, such as pasta bake, you can freeze this.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Tomatoes?
If you freeze tomatoes to make a sauce or to use them in a dish (See also Can You Freeze Tomato Puree?), tomatoes freeze well. Keeping bags of tomatoes in the freezer to use in cooking is a great idea. It will save you time in the long run. However, if you want to use them in a salad or sandwich, it isn’t a good idea as tomatoes go a bit mushy when defrosted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing tomatoes but in case you have any questions about freezing tomatoes or tomatoes in general, we have answered a few questions here.
You can get all sorts of colors of tomatoes, not just red, such as yellow or even black. You can freeze yellow tomatoes and in fact, you can freeze any color or size.
If you have ripe tomatoes, they will keep for about two weeks in the fridge. Obviously, if the tomatoes have started to go soft, they won’t last as long.
Yes, you can freeze tomato puree. As you probably won’t need too much for a recipe, the best way to freeze it is in the slots of an ice cube tray. Don’t fill the slots right up to the top as the puree can expand. Freeze them solid and then transfer the cubes into a freezer bag. You can then take out as many or as few cubes as you need for your dish or sauce. You don’t even need to defrost the cubes.
Yes, you can freeze tomato juice. If you plan to just use a little of the juice at a time, freeze the juice in an ice cube tray. If, however, you need to use a large quantity at a time, use freezer bags or an airtight container. If you use a freezer bag, make sure that you use a thick one otherwise the bag could leak, and you will end up with a mess in your freezer.
Most vegetable soups freeze well, and tomato soup is no exception. After you have made the soup, allow it to cool and then divide it into meal-size portions so that you defrost only as much as you need. It is better to use airtight containers as freezer bags may burst.