Freezing is the easiest and safest way to preserve tomatoes from your garden or the farmers market. Freezing locks in summer fresh flavor and nutrients so you can enjoy delicious tomatoes in soups and sauces all winter long.
Vine ripened tomatoes taste best fresh or frozen. If you didn't grow your own tomatoes, pay a visit to your local farmers market for a wide selection of ripe tomatoes. Pick tomatoes that are fully colored and tender but not mushy or soft.
Clean the tomatoes by rinsing them individually under a stream of running water. Gently rub the surface of the fruit to remove any soil. If you aren't sure whether the tomatoes are organic, wash them with a mild fruit and vegetable cleaner to help remove pesticide and herbicide residues, then rinse well.
Pop the stem off the tomatoes. If a stem is stubborn, use a knife to carefully remove it.
Fill a stockpot with water and bring it to a rapid boil. Dip two to three tomatoes at a time into the water. Remove the tomatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon when the skins begin to loosen (after about 30 seconds).
Plunge the tomatoes immediately into an ice water bath. This stops the tomatoes from cooking and further loosens the skins.
Slide the skins off the tomatoes and compost them. Use a serrated knife to remove any stubborn bits of peel and cut out the core of the tomato. At this point you can freeze the tomatoes whole or cut them into halves or quarters.
Pack the tomatoes into freezer bags, leaving 1 inch of headroom at the top of the bag. Freezer bags that have a zipper seal work best. Squeeze the air of the bag and zip the top close.
Save room in your freezer by laying the bags of tomatoes flat on a freezer shelf. Once frozen, stack the bags wherever you would like in the freezer. Frozen tomatoes stay fresh for up to one year and taste best cooked into soups, stews, and sauces.
Use small quart-sized bags for smaller portions.
Do not refreeze tomatoes once they have been thawed. They will loose integrity and will not taste as good.