When you grow your own tomatoes, harvests can be overwhelming. Too many tomatoes and not enough time! Since grape tomato plants can be so prolific, I’d like to address the topic of freezing them for storage.
In this article, I’ll cover the basics of freezing any tomato variety. The principles are the same, though with grape tomatoes you will have more flexibility with storage.
In short, grape tomatoes can be frozen whole or pre-sliced. Since grape tomatoes are so small in size, freezing them whole is most common to avoid any mess.
In this article, I’ll go over how to freeze your tomatoes whole or sliced, how long they will last, what you can do with them after freezing, and more. Let’s get started!
Freezing tomatoes is one of the easiest preservation methods. Basically, you can harvest and quickly having your tasty, frozen tomatoes ready to use when you need them.
It is easy, but it also causes the tomatoes to lose their firm, crisp texture. Always use as many grape tomatoes as you can fresh. See how you can use frozen grape tomatoes below.
Although it may seem as simple as throwing them in a bag and into the freezer, there are a couple of important steps that you should take beforehand. Let’s get started on how to freeze your grape tomatoes properly.
How To Freeze Grape Tomatoes
Since grape tomatoes are so small, it makes the most sense to keep them whole for freezing. With larger tomato varieties, it may be beneficial to slice before freezing to save space.
If you prefer to slice your grape tomatoes before freezing, skip ahead to that method below.
Tomatoes, baking sheet or cake pan, freezer bags, pot of water.
- Select healthy tomatoes only. Remove any tomatoes that have mold or rot to avoid eating them later on. Inspecting now means you won’t have to later!
- De-stem tomatoes. Remove the stems (unless you have reason to keep them on).
- Wash and dry tomatoes. Remove any dirt or dust under cold water. Thoroughly dry the tomatoes before the next step!
- Place tomatoes on a baking sheet. Use a non-stick baking sheet or cake pan if you have one. Arrange the grape tomatoes in a single layer on the sheet.
- Place tomatoes in freezer for ~1 hour. This process is called flash-freezing. Since grape tomatoes are so small, they should freeze solid in about an hour. Make sure they are frozen solid before the next step.
- Put tomatoes in freezer bag, remove air and seal. Once your tomatoes are flash-frozen, place them into a freezer baggie. To remove the air, submerge the bag in a pot of water, keeping the opened seal above the surface. Once the air escapes, seal the bag and remove it from the pot. Dry the bag off.
- Freeze for up to a year. Though they can be frozen for longer, we recommend using the tomatoes within a year. See how to use frozen tomatoes below.
Tip: You can slice a tiny bit off the bottom of the tomatoes to make skin removal easier upon thawing.
These steps are the simplest way to freeze grape tomatoes properly. They will store well for many months, and should be used for soups, stews or other cooked dishes.
Freezing Sliced Tomatoes
The benefit of slicing tomatoes before freezing is to fit more into each freezer bag. The rounded edges of grape tomatoes causes wasted space when stored side-by-side.
You may also wish to slice the tomatoes beforehand to remove the seeds. This will save a bit more space as well.
The method is similar to freezing whole, but with the added step of slicing before flash-freezing. Here are the basic steps:
- Select healthy tomatoes.
- Clean and dry tomatoes.
- Slice in desired shape. For grape tomatoes, I usually just slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds at this stage if desired. If you don’t, they may become messy in the freezer bags.
- Flash freeze for ~1 hour. Line a baking sheet with the sliced tomatoes. Freeze for about an hour until the pieces are firmly frozen.
- Fill freezer bags and remove air. Submerge the bags to remove air and seal.
- Store in freezer for up to a year.
This method makes more sense for larger tomato varieties. If you have bigger tomatoes, try coring and slicing them before freezing.
How Long Can You Freeze Grape Tomatoes?
Properly frozen tomatoes can last for up to a year. You can store them in the freezer for longer, but the funky freezer flavor may begin to pervade.
If you plan on storing the grape tomatoes for longer, take extra precaution to avoid freezer burn. It is caused by oxygen and moisture reaching your tomatoes. Make sure the bags are properly sealed and as much oxygen has been removed as possible.
If you want to store for as long as possible, you can use a vacuum sealer. These are the ideal way to store any vegetables in the freezer.
Tip: When using a vacuum sealer, always make sure there is no water in the bags, it can get sucked up into the machine.
How To Use Frozen Grape Tomatoes
I typically use fresh grape tomatoes on salads or as a sweet, crunchy snack. However, once they are frozen, the texture does change. This means that you may have to use frozen grape tomatoes for a different purpose than you are used to.
Here are a few ideas:
- In a sauce. Thaw the frozen tomatoes. Thawing makes the skins easy to remove. The remaining tomato flesh will be limp, but full of flavor! Toss them into your sauce.
- In soups or stews. Similar to sauce, frozen tomatoes work well for making fresh soups. They should be treated like canned tomatoes.
- With roasted veggies. Chop the frozen tomatoes roughly and toss them with some oil and other chopped veggies. Red pepper, artichokes, mushrooms and others work well when roasted with tomatoes.
- With pasta. Heat the frozen tomatoes with some olive oil, salt and pepper and stir into your cooked pasta. A bit of garlic and olive oil and you’ll be happy you have your frozen toms!
The frozen tomatoes may not have the same crunch as when fresh, but the flavor should be just as delicious in cooking!
Do Frozen Tomatoes Lose Flavor?
This is one of the concerns that first-time freezers have. Will freezing my fresh tomatoes affect the flavor negatively?
The answer is no, frozen tomatoes should not lost their original flavor or nutritional value. This assumes that you have followed a proper method of freezing to avoid freezer burn over a long period of time.
They will, however, lose their original texture. Tomatoes are high in water content, and freezing causes the water to expand. This causes cell walls to break down and degrade, making the thawed fruits limp and mushy.
Do I Need To Blanch Before Freezing?
Blanching is a technique used before freezing vegetables. It is said to lock in flavor, nutrients and prevent color from degrading over time.
Thankfully, tomatoes are one of the few garden veggies that do not require blanching before freezing. Tomatoes should simply be flash-frozen before being stored in an air-tight freezer bag.
I have heard that some people do blanch tomatoes before freezing if they will be stored for over 6 months. However, in our experience, long-term frozen tomatoes taste and look great even without it.