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How to Freeze Aging Tomatoes (Plus Recipe for Sauce)

Don and his wife love to cook. They enjoy new and different recipes and experimenting with interesting combinations of ingredients.

This is one of my fresh, homegrown tomatoes that I often end up freezing.

This is one of my fresh, homegrown tomatoes that I often end up freezing.

Money-Saving Recipe for Using Up Aging Tomatoes

This is a money-saving recipe for those tomato lovers who hate to waste the tomatoes they have that are aging.

Follow these instructions if you want to do something with them before they go bad...

This recipe will provide you with frozen tomatoes that have that fantastic fresh-tomato flavor that you can use in your favorite dishes, long after the fresh, homegrown ones are gone from the marketplace.

Or you can cook them down and into a nice sauce using the attached recipe.

A Plan for Freezing Tomatoes

At certain times of the year, you will find yourself standing in your kitchen and staring at all of the excess yet wonderful homegrown tomatoes lying on your counter. And you know that they only have a few days before they begin to go bad, literally right in front of your eyes.

And you know that if you don't do something, you are soon going to be forced to discard them.

This usually occurs in the late summer when it sometimes seems that every friend and coworker you know is bringing in fresh tomatoes and giving them away., the same as you are.

So obviously, you know that there are far more of these delicious red fruits in your garden than you can possibly eat, and as in past years you will often have to let many of the tasty delights go bad.

Well, keep reading.

You can freeze those great-tasting tomatoes, and use them later in sauces and in other of your favorite dishes, taking advantage of that fresh taste.

Follow these instructions, and you will end up with great tomatoes for use later in the year when everyone else is using canned ones or those horrible winter ones that you get in the supermarket in the off season.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

45 min

55 min

2 qts.

Tomato Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tsp rough ground pepper
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 4 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 (1-gallon) freezer bag full of ripe tomatoes, cored, quartered, and frozen

Tomato Sauce Instructions

  1. Once you have a full freezer bag of tomatoes, prepare the following for a great sauce.
  2. Thaw the bag in a large bowl of warm water.
  3. Place the olive oil into a large saucepan and heat over a medium heat.
  4. Add the chopped garlic and onions along with the salt and pepper.
  5. Heat the mixture until cooked but do not caramelize (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add the thoroughly thawed tomatoes to the saucepan and bring back up to a slow boil.
  7. Add the other herbs and spices, and stir until well blended.
  8. Cover and drop the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-45 minutes.
  9. If you want to use the sauce immediately, then serve hot over your favorite pasta, rice, etc.
  10. Otherwise, rinse out the used freezer bag, and after allowing the sauce to cool to room temperature, pour it into the bag, reseal, change the label on the bag to “tomato sauce” and change the date.
  11. Refreeze the bag of sauce.
  12. When needed, thaw the sauce, warm it in a saucepan, and use for up to 6 months after the date frozen.

Tips for Salvaging and Freezing Your Aging Tomatoes

  1. Keep an eye on your fresh tomatoes and when you see them starting to lose their freshness, prepare them for freezing.
  2. Label the freezer bag with something like “Frozen Tomatoes” along with the date you place the first ones into the bag.
  3. Wash them, and then remove the stem part from the body with a paring knife.
  4. Cut the tomato into quarters and drop them into your freezer bag, and then place into the freezer.
  5. Over time, continue to salvage your aging tomatoes, and repeat the process and add to the freezer bag.

Notes and Suggestions for Using Your Frozen Tomatoes

  • You will find that by salvaging those fresh summer tomatoes and using them in your favorite dishes that call for tomatoes, you have a truly fresher and more delicious dish than if you used canned tomatoes.
  • Of course, you should experiment with the herbs and spices used to make the recipe fit your own tastes.
  • I even add chopped hot Italian peppers, and sometimes ground beef to the garlic-onion mixture to kick the flavor up even more.
  • If you want to add meat, cook it in a little extra virgin olive oil, in a separate pan, and then add, hot.

How to Freeze Tomatoes

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you have to peel or just wash tomatoes to freeze them?

Answer: Some people prefer to peel the tomatoes, and others want that "skin" to be a part of what they are putting away. Either way works, so it's your decision.

Question: Why should I take the skin off of tomatoes?

Answer: First of all, many people do not want the skin in their prepared dishes, and second, many people just prefer to remove the skin in case any chemicals used by the farmer are not cleaned off properly.


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on September 06, 2018:

Sorry, but yes, 1-1/4 lbs.


Jenbaker0921 on September 06, 2018:

The recipe states 1 1/4 whole ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered. Is that 1 1/4 pounds?

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 29, 2013:

kathy- that would be hard to say. Most books and experts recommend that vegetables only be kept in the fridg for from 3 to 5 days. And that depends on a number of variables, like; how cold the fridge is, how far back on the shelf it was stored, and how often the fridge dor was opened and for ow long.

The positive side is that tomatoes are high in acid and this would impede any bacterial growth.

Myself, to be on the safe side, I would toss them.

Good question though, and thanks,


kathy on October 27, 2013:

if i had frozen tomatoes that i let thaw and left in fridge for 5 days are they still good or can they go bad and make us sick?

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 10, 2013:

FkourishAnyway- I just finished putting away a 5-gallon bucket of "You-Pick-Em" tomatoes yesterday.

Added my favorite fresh Herbs and Spices, cooked the batch down to 4-quarts of the best Sauce, and placed into our freezer for the future.

Thanks for the comment and I hope you try this great way to make your own fresh sauce when the tomatoes are at their best and cheapest.


FlourishAnyway from USA on May 10, 2013:

Good idea. I've canned but never frozen tomatoes, and with summer coming up, this will come in handy!

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on September 14, 2012:

Thanks for the comment unknown spy. I am a tomato guy myself. In fact, one great advantage of living in central Florida is having fresh tomatoes available year round. The winter ones are not as tasty as the summer ones, but they are SO MUCH better than those cardboard supermarket tomatoes i used to eat.

When you have the time, the sauce is a good idea, because it takes up less freezer space, BT!.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on September 13, 2012:

great ideas. love to cook recipes involving tomatoes too.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on September 13, 2012:

Amberld- Thanks for the comment. Once you realize that tomatoes are very acidic anyway, and that you are only freezing them, your options for extending their useful life are fantastic. We freeze them as is, and pull from the frozen product when we cook weeks,even months later. And, of course, when we have the time, we will make and freeze then in a tomato sauce. Just keep the air form the plastic bag, if you are going to use large ones and access them more than one time, to prevent freezer burn. Glad you like the Hub, and can use it.

Amber White from New Glarus, WI on September 13, 2012:

honestly, did not realize you could freeze uncooked tomatoes! will definitely be trying as I see them start to age too much. I make so many things with fresh tomatoes in late summer and then tend to lose a lot of them as they go bad. hopefully, no longer. Thank you for the informative hub!

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on March 28, 2012:

LaThing and Paulgc, I appreciate your stopping by and reading my update to this Hub of mine.

I love fresh tomatoes, and they can get so expensive in the off season,that we use this process to get that fresh flavor for a longer part of the year.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on March 28, 2012:

Moonlake, thanks for the comment, and you obviously have noticed how much better your dishes taste with the fresh frozen tomatoes than with canned ones. Yummy!

paulgc on March 27, 2012:

I never knew you could do so much with a tomatoe, thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful.

LaThing from From a World Within, USA on March 27, 2012:

Very useful hub. I will have to start doing this. I usually try to cook up everything, but by the end of the week everyone in the house runs away from the table if they see anything with tomatoes in them..... lol

Thanks for sharing with us!

moonlake from America on March 27, 2012:

We also freeze our tomatoes. It's nice to have tomatoes through the winter and not have to buy any. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on January 06, 2012:

SORRY! Typo! That's CENTO not CERTO.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on January 06, 2012:

We do this every year at the end of the Tomato season and get to delay our conversion to canned tomatoes by several months.

When we do use canned tomatoes for a special dish, we go with the Certo Brand San Marzano variety. They have a fantastic flavor, but ....... they are very expensive.

We even look for deals on these in the supermarkets when they go on sale, and save them for the winter.

Kris Heeter from Indiana on January 06, 2012:

Excellent idea! Sounds very easy.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 03, 2011:

And, Thank You!

Linda7315 on October 03, 2011:


grayghost on July 29, 2011:

Perfect timing! We just got a bunch from a neighbor. We usually wind up wasting a lot every year from the oversupply you talked about. My wife and I talked this morning about looking for a good solution, and yours found us while I was following another Hub. We're gonna put you to the Test!!

Thanks, great Hub (up and useful)

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on July 22, 2011:

Thanks Phil, It does work great, and you will be surprised how fast you end up filling a gallon bag, when Tomatoes are coming at you from everyone.

Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on July 22, 2011:

It's a great idea if you get tomatoes here and there through the summer. We normally buy a bushel or three of tomatoes and then preserve them all at once and this method wouldn't work so well. Great idea, though, earning you both a vote-up, useful and interesting.

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