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Freezing Whole Tomatoes for Super Quick Marinara Sauce

My mother in law taught me something this summer that may have just changed my life forever!  She brought me a few tomatoes from her garden, only to see a pile of tomatoes already on my kitchen counter.  So she told me, "If you aren't going to eat these right away, go ahead and throw them in your freezer- whole!"

"You can do that??"  I asked inquisitively.

and so I did!

Take your whole tomatoes and put them in a freezer safe bag, and freeze!

Freezing whole tomatoes1

frozen tomatoes

Using your tomatoes is the easy part! We've added them to Chili and Marinara Sauce with great success.  Our super simple, super easy marinara sauce used:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 TBL Italian Seasoning
  • 1 frozen tomato

Put all ingredients in a small pot, and simmer over medium heat.

making marinara sauce step 1

making marinara sauce step 2

Soon, your tomatoes skin will slip off, and you can pull it out with tongs.

making marinara sauce step 3

Keep simmering until the entire tomatoes breaks down into your sauce.  You can blend your sauce if you like it smooth and runny.

making marinara sauce step 4

Then serve with your favorite pasta, or a zucchini coin dip!

zucchini and marinaraMarinara Sauce Dipmarinara sauce dip2zucchini dipped in marinara sauce

This sauce is super thin, perfect for dipping. If you like it thicker, you can add 1 can of tomato paste.

If you like it chunkier, you don't have to blend it in the blender.

*Edited to add (because of smart readers) The longer you cook your sauce, the thicker it will become!!

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Comments

Amber
09/10/2012 9:10am
How long can you keep them in the freezer?
Jessica
09/10/2012 9:27am
I did this! I planted 8 Roma tomato plants last year and froze about 12 gallon-sized freezer bags full of them. About a month ago one night, we let them defrost and slipped the skins off all of them and made a HUGE stock pot of my yearly spaghetti sauce. I used my father's recipe which calls for 1 #10 can each of crushed and Paste, but used neither. His recipe is a cook everything and throw it together, boil for an hour and its done. I did his recipe w/o the canned tomatoes and boiled it down for 9 hours. It was literally the BEST sauce I have made to date!! Took FOREVER but it was SO worth it!! So, Amber, to answer your question: Mine were in my deep freezer for a year and were fine :)
09/10/2012 10:12am
This is such a fabulous idea, I have a pile of beefsteaks growing on my counter as we speak and was getting a little stressed out about how to use them up before they went bad. Thanks for saving my tomatoes and taking my stress level down a notch...:-)
Stephanie P
09/10/2012 10:16am
I have been freezing mine for about 5 years now. I got tired of canning one year and just threw a bunch in bags. Glad I did because I use them all winter in recipes that ask for diced tomatoes. I kept mine in freezer bags up to 2 years in an upright freezer.
Mary-Ann F.
09/10/2012 10:19am
you can also run them under hot water (while frozen) in a strainer for 30 seconds and the skin peels right off.
Katie
09/10/2012 12:46pm
This is seriously one of the best ideas and such a relief. We've been getting a weekly vegetable box from a CSA and while we love it, we are starting to feel overwhelmed by some of the produce. Now I know I can take a couple of the beautiful tomatoes for the week and toss the rest in the freezer. Thank you!!
Stephannie
09/10/2012 12:48pm
Real quick if I have already blanched my tomatoes and frozen them, can I just put the tomatoes and seasoning in sauce pan to make my Mariana sauce. Or do I blend 1/2 my bag and dice the other before cooking?
Stephanie
09/10/2012 12:53pm
I peel my tomatoes using hot water while frozen as well. I also core them. The I take all of the tomoates (frozen) and throw them into the slow cooker for the day. In the middle of the day I take a blender to the whole tomatoes in the crock pot (using the little hand blender ) and puree the tomatoes. Then I let it simmer for a little while longer to get the water to evaporate.(with the lid slightly off). Then I either take some of the tomato sauce out for another meal (refreeze it) or I make a large batch of marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, or just plain tomato sauce. I usually fill my slowcooker up to the top to get it about 1/2 full when it has evaporated a good majority of the water. The longer you cook it the thicker it becomes.
09/10/2012 5:04pm
I have been doing this for years. However, I have learned that it is best to core them before you freeze them. I then throw them from bag directly in the pot. No need to peel. Just use an immersion blender!
Sarah
09/10/2012 7:10pm
Yes, this is most definitely life changing news. Thank you SO much for sharing! :)
Marilyn
09/10/2012 11:53pm
When I have time, I make & freeze the marinera sauce. I use the glass lock & seal containers & it keeps for a long time. I don't freeze or microwave with plastic. Roma tomatoes make the best sauce, as they are meaty with few seeds. Next year I may just put in Roma's. I have three plants this year & three Big Boy. I'm going to try freezing the tomatoes, but I will boil & peel the tomatoes first. Also, when I make the sauce, after peeling the tomatoes, I put them in a blender before I cook the sauce--no handling of hot sauce. I saute onions, peppers, & mushrooms before adding the tomatoes & use herbs from my garden. Yum! Best sauce I ever had & all organic!
09/11/2012 5:02am
I have done this for years! I found out its better if you cut out the core before you freeze them!!! I cut my hand years ago trying to cut the core frozen! Not a good idea!!! Ever sence I've cut the core before freezing.
09/12/2012 4:09pm
I'm so happy about this. Genius idea! I always hate when I find we've wasted extra tomatoes.
09/19/2012 8:44pm
[...] you know you can freeze tomatoes?  I thought it was frowned upon, but I saw (here) the other day that you can totally do it!  We got a bag of free tomatoes a few weeks ago that [...]
09/26/2012 9:48am
This blog has broadened my horizon about how a quick marinara can sometimes change the whole perspective on things. This is very beneficial information. Nice work Amy.
09/26/2012 1:26pm
[...] I have recently started saying NO more.  I was pretty bad about it.  Check out Andreas challenge here. We have a ton of tomatoes in our jungle and I don’t know how to can (anyone want to do a tutorial with me?) so I think I am going to freeze them using information from this post. [...]
kathy
09/26/2012 2:26pm
How long can you freeze tomatoes AND do you need to use them as soon as they defrost?
10/05/2012 4:20pm
Kathy, I just started freezing them this summer, but I would definitely use them as soon as they defrost, and probably not keep them longer than 6 months.. Thanks for reading!
chrissy
11/05/2013 12:33pm
This is my first yr freezing my tomatoes. I'm wondering if anyone knows if you can make tomato sauce out of them then re freeze the sauce? If so do you know the best way to do it? Thanks.
11/19/2013 8:35pm
Hi Chrissy- I have not tried to Re-freeze the marinara sauce. If you try this, let me know how it goes.

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