Preserving Tomatoes: Freezing

By National Gardening Association Editors

Whether it's practical for you to freeze tomatoes or tomato sauce depends on the size of your freezer and what else you need to store in it. Because tomatoes can so well, you may want to save your freezer space for other things.

Why Freeze?

Freezing sauce is handy, especially if you have just a pint or two left over from a whole canning batch or if you want to add meat or other vegetables to part of a batch of tomato sauce and don't want to drag out the pressure canner. Just put the sauce in containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and put it in the freezer.

To save time in summer, wash, peel and core ripe tomatoes, then stew them. Cool stewed tomatoes slowly, adding just a little sugar. Then freeze the plain, cooked-down fruits in pint containers. In winter you'll have a freezer full of garden tomatoes ready for sauces and stews with a minimum of hassle.

How to Freeze

You can freeze whole tomatoes that have been scalded for 30 seconds in boiling water -- just enough time to loosen their skins. This is handy if you have a surplus of tomatoes, but try to select especially meaty ones for freezing whole: Tomatoes break down and can be fairly mushy when thawed.

Place the tomatoes, whole or sliced, on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer. After 24 hours, when the tomatoes are frozen solid, place them in containers.

Other articles in this series:
1. Ripening and Harvesting Tomatoes
2. Preserving Tomatoes: Freezing ← you're on this article right now
3. Preserving Tomatoes: Canning
4. Drying Tomatoes

This article is a part of our Vegetable Gardening Guide for Tomatoes / Harvesting.

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