Freezing tomatoes

Asked September 10, 2019, 4:10 PM EDT

My tomato plants are producing huge yields; so much I don't know what to do with them. I already canned farm stand stewed tomatoes earlier in the year so I don't need any more of those. Can I crush the new tomatoes and freeze them for even a couple of months to use in lasagna and spaghetti? Thanks.

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

It is not a safety issue to freeze tomatoes. They just become more watery. You can freeze them in several ways. If you have lots of freezer room just wash them and put them whole in freezer bags. You don't have to peel them or even take out the core. When ready to use just run them under a little hot water and they will pop right out of their skin. You can also crush them and freeze them or you can even crush them and cook them down to a sauce, cool and then freeze the sauce. It won't be as watery as if you just freeze the uncooked sauce. If you use high quality freezer bags or containers they will last for a year or more.

If you have a food dehydrator you might like to dry some. Just slice them about 1/4-1/2 inch thick and place on screen covered dehydrator trays and dry until they are leathery and there are no moisture pockets. Dried tomatoes are great to crumble up and add to salads or just rehydrate and add to soups or stew. You can also dip the dried tomatoes quickly into lemon juice and put into olive oil. They will soften quicker that way.

When I dry my tomatoes I like to sprinkle a little Italian seasoning and garlic powder on them before drying. They are great for snacking.

Another option is to make some salsa. You can eat it fresh, can it or freeze it. OSU Extension has a great publication on home canned salsa PNW 355. It is easy to make and can. There is also a publication called SP50-920 Preserving Tomatoes that gives other ideas for using excess tomatoes. The publication is available on the OSU Extension Publications website.

If you have other food preservation questions you might like to call the OSU Food Preservation hotline open M-F from 9 am-4 pm through mid October. Certified Master Food Preservers are available to answer your questions. The number is 1-800-354-7319.

Good luck and thanks for using Ask an Expert

Nellie Oehler