Preserving The Harvest: Tomatoes

by Texas Homesteader 

Tomatoes are the sweethearts of the vegetable garden, especially down here in the south.  Southerners eat tomatoes raw in salads, garnishing main dishes, cooked into soups & stews and made into savory sauces.

Why we even enjoy a dish called tomato pie!  (or as it’s pronounced here: tomatah pah)

Now here in our household I typically, very purposely over-plant tomatoes in the garden each year. That’s so we’ll have plenty to preserve for later.

I make sure to preserve the garden tomatoes that we can't eat fresh so not even ONE of them goes to waste. It's easy to freeze them! #TexasHomesteader

Tomatoes are pretty prolific producers and oftentimes there’s quite an influx of produce to be consumed at one time. Some home gardeners eat them fresh as quickly as they can. Others preserve their tomato excess by canning them in a pressure canner.

I really enjoy a freshly-picked ripe tomato fresh from the garden, still warm from the sun. But RancherMan will only eat them in moderation when they’re served sliced raw. 

I won’t allow these precious fruits to go to waste of course. But I personally don’t enjoy the thought of firing up  that canner during the heat and humidity that defines a typical Texas summer. So what’s a country girl to do?

To The Freezer!

I prefer to preserve them by freezing so I can use them in our favorite way – blender salsa! It’s a dry salsa mix that I have stored in the pantry. Mix it with fresh garden tomatoes and BOOM! Salsa!

Preserving them by freezing is also super easy. Since they won’t stay in the freezer long I don’t worry much about freezer burn.

And the beauty of freezing tomatoes is that when they are thawing the skin slips right off so there’s no need to stand over a steaming pot of water dipping raw tomatoes in to skin them.  Less heat & humidity in the house during the summertime? That certainly works for me!

To freeze the tomatoes I bring in those freshly-picked orbs of crimson beauty from the garden.  And after a quick wash & blot dry I core them and cut them in half. Then I place the halves into a bag and place them in my freezer.

I usually just use repurposed bread or tortilla bags to store them in the freezer since their stay there will be so short. But if you want to store them longer you’ll need to be more mindful of their freezer digs to keep them fresh tasting.

As with many frozen foods the texture of your tomatoes will be soft when thawed. So plan to use them in your cooking (or blender salsa!)

I make sure to preserve the garden tomatoes that we can't eat fresh so not even ONE of them goes to waste. It's easy to freeze them! #TexasHomesteader Using The Frozen Tomatoes

When I want to make blender salsa I’ll bring the tomatoes out of the freezer and let them thaw a bit & proceed. 

It’s a staple around here & RancherMan & I eat it up. I like that it’s made with pure veggies from my own garden without creating any landfill waste. 

Yep, that classifies it as a bona fide win/win!

How do you prefer to preserve your garden bounty of tomatoes?


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36 thoughts on “Preserving The Harvest: Tomatoes

  1. Beth

    Love how simple this preservation idea is – I could even do it! Thanks for sharing with Simply Natural Saturdays!

  2. Elaine

    Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Pinned!

  3. Cristina at Ava's Alphabet

    Great tip! And blender salsa just sounds too interesting to pass up! Thank you for sharing on Family Joy Blog Link-Up Party. Have a great week!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We love it Cristina and there’s nothing better than tomatoes picked fresh off the vine! ~TxH~

  4. Helen at the Lazy Gastronome

    I freeze mine whole! Easy skin removal and makes a great sauce! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up and don’t forget to leave a comment at the party – Next week’s features that also leave a comment get pinned and tweeted!

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  9. lisa M

    I have never thought to freeze tomatoes. Great idea!

    Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday! I’d love to see you back this week!


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  11. Joe

    I freeze hole tomatoes too – they’re great for making tomato soup when the weather is cooler. For my excess cherry tomatoes, I’ve been dehydrating them – just cut in half and put in the dehydrator 10 hours or so – no oil, salt or anything else added. They’re almost like candy. 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Hummm… I’ve never made tomato soup before Joe, but now it’s got my thought turning. Hummmm…. ~TxH~

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  15. Nancy W

    You tomatoes are beautiful! I have not tried freezing them before but that would be a real time saver. Thanks for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop, can’t wait to see what you share tomorrow!
    Nancy On The Home Front

  16. Anne-Marie Bilella

    This year I had no extra tomatoes to put up! I do like to cook them down, skins and all, then blend and can for sauce. Thanks for sharing your post on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

  17. Suzanne @ FrugalOrganicMama

    Thanks for the great idea on freezing tomatoes. I’ve roasted them before prior to freezing, but never thought to just put them straight in. I can’t wait to get the salsa recipe as well…we go through a ton of salsa, and I’d love to find a really great homemade recipe.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Suzanne, salsa recipe is up on the blog today, check it out. Easy – fast – delicious. My favorite trifecta! LOL ~TxH~

  18. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    I always freeze mine until I have enough to make it worth my while to can them. Freezing helps reduce the amount of juice that gets into the canned tomatoes.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Barb, that’s a good point. Instead of having to simmer tomatoes to remove some of the juice, freezing would do that for you. Love it! ~TxH~

  19. Sarah

    I freeze my tomato sauce all the time, but never thought about freezing the tomatoes whole. It would solve my dilemma of not liking any “canned” salsa recipes. Just defrost and make my usual fresh salsa!

  20. debra@ HOMESPUN

    I have done both freezing and canning in the past. This year I intend to can if they will just ripen!!! They are huge plants; much rain this year in Western PA but they are all still green in my garden . I can’t wait! 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ll admit I’m jealous, as I don’t think I’ve been able to say “much rain this year” for several years. LOL Fingers crossed your tomatoes ripen soon. ~TxH~

  21. Heather M

    Thanks for linking up with us for Fabulously Frugal Thursday. I will sometimes make up a batch of sauce and freeze it too. I need to try this for salsa.

  22. Sarah

    Thank you for posting this! I’d actually asked in a previous post how you froze tomatoes. I’m definitely goin to try this as we are too busy to try canning right now. We’re prepping our house to put on the market so we can move to the country on a small plot of land. We want our daughters to be able to have more space to run and we want a few acres so we can have a large garden, chickens and bees. Love your blog and reading about life on the ranch but it makes me so jealous too as this is the life my husband and I are aiming for some day.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Sarah, depending upon how you use your tomatoes, freezing them like this is so very easy and keeps that summer heat out of the kitchen. Since we enjoy our tomatoes in salsa, we freeze them for a quick salsa that we eat often. No worries, the recipe will be posted Friday so if your crew likes salsa be sure to check it out! Congrats on your pending move – reach for the stars! ~TxH~

  23. Vickie

    Wow, I never thought about using used tortilla bags to freeze things, but it makes sense because most have a zip opening. I also didn’t know that frozen tomato skins slip off when thawed! Thanks for all this information, I will put it to good use!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Vickie – I’m all about reducing the heat in the kitchen during our Texas summer heat! ~TxH~

      1. kelly

        I set up the coleman stoves and head out to patio for my summer canning. I live in Illinois, not as bad as Texas, but we get the heat & humidity too. I can set up a production line outside and then hose it all down when finished. Works for me.My friends do canning parties, share our labors and have fun as well.

        1. Texas Homesteader Post author

          Kelly, I’ve been eyeballing outside kitchen setups for this reason. I know it doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive (or even permanent) and may very well be an option for me in the future. I love the idea of canning parties! ~TxH~


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