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Can You Freeze Tomatoes?

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By Ross Young

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You can puree tomatoes, blend them, chop them or eat them whole!  Cooked or raw, there is no doubt about it – tomatoes are a great food item that makes a base to so many recipes. But, how can you store them?

Bright red tomatoes piled on top of each taking up the whole photo frame

Can You Freeze Tomatoes?

Yes, you can freeze tomatoes for up to 6 months. You can freeze them uncooked, cooked or even from a tin. To freeze tomatoes, you’ll need to wash them, cut them up and then freeze them on a tray before bagging up.

How To Freeze Tomatoes

When it comes to tomatoes, there are two main ways to go about freezing them. You can freeze them raw or cooked. I’ve covered both approaches below:

How to Freeze Raw Tomatoes

This method will work well for any size, shape or colour of tomatoes from small cherry tomatoes to big beefsteak tomatoes:

  1. Wash and Dry
    Wash your tomatoes before freezing. Leave them to drain once you have washed them.
A woman's hands cleaning red tomatoes using kitchen towel on a wooden chopping board
  1. Remove Stem
    Take off the stem and the surrounding area. You may also want to remove the core and seeds which will often be discarded when making a sauce.
A woman's hand slices red tomatoes to remove the central seeds
  1. Freeze
    Spread the washed tomatoes onto a baking tray, ensuring they’re not touching one another. You’ll have some touching which isn’t the end of the world. Place this tray into the freezer.
Red tomato slices, without the seeds, spread out on a plastic tray
  1. Bag Up
    Remove the tray and fill individual freezer bags up with one portion of tomatoes. Consider how you’ll use the tomato in future and use this as a guide to your portion sizes.
Frozen tomato pieces being placed into a freezer bag
  1. Freeze Again
    Pop the bags straight back into the freezer. 

How to Freeze Cooked Tomatoes

If you want to cook your tomatoes first and make them into a sauce later, you can easily freeze them this way.

Just cook them as you normally would, either alone or as part of your recipe and then when it has cooled transfer the tomatoes to a suitable container and pop them ]into the freezer.

I’ve written about freezing roasted tomatoes before so check this out. Or you can freeze cooked tomatoes as a pasta sauce.

Freezer-Friendly Tomato Recipes

Try out one of these delicious recipes that are perfect for freezing:

Aubergine and Tomato Curry

2.5 from 4 votes

Simple Veggie Bake

4.3 from 4 votes

Sicilian Tomato Sauce

4.5 from 4 votes

How to Freeze Different Forms of Tomato

Of course, the word tomato encompasses a whole range of forms of dishes. I freeze many of these and have covered these below:

Tomato Paste

Freezing tomato paste is a fantastic way to extend its shelf life and ensure you always have some on hand. Start by scooping tablespoon-sized dollops of the paste onto a lined baking sheet, then freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the dollops into an airtight freezer bag or container for storage.

Tomato paste can sometimes darken once frozen, but this is merely an aesthetic change and doesn’t impact its taste or quality.

One common issue with freezing tomato paste is the tendency for the dollops to stick to the baking sheet. This is why I line my baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

To maintain the paste’s concentrated flavour, try to use it within 6 months of freezing. The good news is that when you’re ready to use it, there’s no need to thaw. You can add frozen tomato paste directly into your hot pan.

Whole Tomatoes

When it comes to whole tomatoes, they can be frozen raw or blanched. For raw tomatoes, simply wash them, pat them dry, and place them in a freezer bag.

For blanched tomatoes, you’ll need to first remove the skins by blanching them in boiling water for about 60 seconds, then quickly transferring them to an ice bath. The skins should easily peel off, and the tomatoes can then be frozen.

The biggest problem faced when freezing whole tomatoes is the texture changes. Once thawed, tomatoes become mushy and are therefore not suitable for salads or sandwiches. However, they’re perfect for soups, stews, or sauces.

3 whole tomatoes on a wooden chopping board

Tinned Tomatoes

Tinned tomatoes freeze well, which is useful if you’ve opened a tin but haven’t used them all – as is often the case when cooking for one or two.

Simply transfer the leftover tinned tomatoes into airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and freeze.

The main issue with freezing tinned tomatoes is the potential for freezer burn if not properly stored. Ensuring you use airtight containers or freezer bags, and removing as much air as possible can help prevent this.

How Long Can You Freeze Tomatoes?

Whole, unblanched tomatoes can stay in the freezer for roughly 6 months. However, if you’ve blanched, cored, and peeled your tomatoes before freezing, they can last up to a year!

The key to maintaining their quality is proper packaging. Double-bagging or using heavy-duty freezer bags can reduce the risk of freezer burn.

Chopped or diced tomatoes follow the same rule of thumb as whole tomatoes. They can last up to a year in the freezer if properly stored.

Remember, these timescales are about preserving the best quality of the tomatoes, not food safety. They won’t ‘go bad’ or spoil as fresh food does at normal temperatures.

However, the texture and flavour will degrade over time, so it’s best to use your frozen tomatoes within these periods.

How Long Do Tomatoes Last in the Fridge?

Perfectly ripened tomatoes will last for around 2 weeks in the fridge. Obviously, softer tomatoes will last less time.

How Do You Defrost Tomatoes?

Defrosting frozen tomatoes is quite simple and can be done in a few ways, depending on how quickly you need to use them and in what dish. Here are some methods I use:

Fridge Thawing

This is the safest and most hands-off method. Simply move your frozen tomatoes from the freezer to the fridge and let them thaw gradually.

This usually takes about 24 hours, so you’ll need to plan ahead. This method keeps the tomatoes at a safe temperature, so you don’t have to worry about bacterial growth.

Cold Water Thawing

For a quicker thaw, you can place your bag of frozen tomatoes in a bowl or sink of cold water. This will thaw the tomatoes in a few hours.

Remember to change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold, and make sure the tomatoes are in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent water from seeping in.

Microwave Thawing

If you need to use your tomatoes immediately, you can use the defrost function on your microwave. Be cautious with this method, as it can start to cook the tomatoes if you’re not careful.

Use short intervals and keep checking the tomatoes to prevent this.

Directly in Cooking

In many cases, there’s no need to defrost tomatoes at all. You can put the tomatoes directly into the pot if you’re using them in soups, stews, sauces, or casseroles.

The heat will thaw and cook them at the same time. This is an excellent method for preserving their flavour and preventing them from becoming overly mushy.

Remember that once thawed, tomatoes should be used immediately and not refrozen. If you’ve thawed more tomatoes than you need, consider incorporating the leftovers into another dish within a couple of days.

Can You Refreeze Tomatoes?

Refreezing tomatoes is not something that comes recommended. You’ll already ruin the texture of your tomatoes by freezing them once. If you refreeze them, you’ll only ruin the texture further.

Instead, try to defrost the amount you need at a time.

The only exception here is if you freeze tomatoes, defrost them and then cook them into a sauce you then want to freeze. This form of refreezing is perfectly fine.

Do Tomatoes Freeze Well?

If you want to freeze tomatoes to use them as you would fresh tomatoes in salads and as garnishes, unfortunately, they do not work well for this use.

The texture change is substantial in comparison to fresh tomatoes, and they go quite mushy. So don’t expect to be able to make a salad out of your frozen tomatoes.

However, if you want to have a stock of tomatoes for sauces in the freeze, this is perfect.  Mushy tomatoes are the perfect option to use in recipes like this.

They are easy to use and cook with, and you can always have a bag available in the freezer.

Does Freezing Tomatoes Ruin Them?

Freezing doesn’t ruin tomatoes, but it does significantly change their texture, making them softer and somewhat mushy when thawed. However, their flavour remains mostly unaffected, making them excellent for use in cooked dishes like sauces, stews, and soups.

Sources

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3 thoughts on “Can You Freeze Tomatoes?”

  1. Hi, I have cooked quite a few tomatoes then put them in the blender then froze them in 400gm portions. If I use them in a curry, spaghetti bologna or chili, can I freeze the extra portions?

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