Friday, July 13, 2012

How To Peel, Seed & Freeze Tomatoes

My garden runneth over with tomatoes.  I've been hit & miss (mostly miss) with tomatoes in the past, because I have a coastal Southern California garden I don't always have the heat needed to grow great summer vegetables.  Since I don't have to worry about frost, a few years ago I started planting tomatoes in the winter, as soon as they show up in stores.  Having the longer growing season seemed to help but I still was lucky to get a dozen good tomatoes every summer.  This year, I spent extra time getting the vegetable beds ready and it has sure paid off!

After eating many, many tomatoes and giving away a bunch to friends and family I am still left with a huge amount so I decided to prepare some for freezing.  I am a big fan of freezing foods but have never tried tomatoes.  It was surprisingly fun, easy and kid friendly.

First peel and seed your tomatoes.
Bring a pot of water to boil and while waiting for water to boil core out the stem and cut an X in the bottom of each tomato.  If you have a child who is old enough to handle a knife, the cutting of the X's was such a fun task that my children fought over who could do it (they took turns.)
Place tomatoes, a few at a time, in rapidly boiling water.  Watch them carefully, most of our tomatoes started to peel themselves after only 20-30 seconds in the water.  Remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as you see the peels curling back, you don't want to cook the tomatoes, just get the skin loose.  Immediately place in ice water bath to stop them from cooking and to further loosen the skin.  Leave them in the ice water until well chilled, just a minute or so and then remove with slotted spoon and place in another bowl.
 The tomatoes should now peel very easily, you should only need to give them a gentle squeeze and the peels should just slide right off.  A few of my tomatoes were stubborn so I repeated the boiling water and ice bath.
When all the tomatoes have been peeled, cut them in half and use your fingers to gently dig out the seeds as best you can, you don't have to get them all.  Do this with a strainer over a bowl to catch the seeds and reserve the juice. When I was all done I pushed the seeds around the strainer a bit to really squeeze out all the juice.  Add the juice back to the peeled and seeded tomatoes.
I sometimes freeze in glass storage containers but they do take up a lot of space in the freezer and since there is air in the container I feel the food inside doesn't last as long once frozen.
To save space in the freezer, place desired amount of tomatoes in plastic zip bags, leaving at least an inch at the top.  Squeeze out excess air and zip closed.  I use Natural Value bags which are PVC and BPA free.  Freeze while laying flat.  Once frozen you can stand them up and keep them well organized. Don't forget to label your bags or glass containers so you know what you've got and when it needs to be used up.  Tomatoes should last up to a year.
I'm linking up with Shabby Nest. and At the Picket Fence.  Both great websites with lots of inspiration and great Friday link ups.  Check them out!


  1. Nice photos in this and earlier posts! Maybe I'll try skinning my tomatoes this year, but so far I'm still looking at green ones hanging on the plants. You're lucky to have so many already!

  2. I used to use this process for making soup, but never thought about freezing tomatoes this way. Sadly, tomatoes don't do so well in AK, and though I'm pretty sure that all of my plants will bloom, I'm not sure how many little bitty baby tomatoes I'll end up with. xoxo - hopping over from Inspiration Friday.