How to Put Up Tomatoes (The super easy way!)


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It’s that time of year again (in the south, at least!). If you planted tomatoes back at the start of the summer, they are likely coming in by the bucketful right about now. Around this time of year, I feel like I have tomatoes coming out my ears! (Ever see that I Love Lucy Episode where she worked in the chocolate factory?). Still, I LOVE to grow tomatoes and I know full well this bounty will come in very handy once growing season is over. As Weezy said in Steel Magnolia’s “I am an old Southern woman. It is my obligation to wear funny hats and grow tomatoes”.

I actually know very few Southerners who don’t grow tomatoes. They are so easy to grow and produce such remarkably versatile fruit that can be made into any number of dishes and even preserved with ease. So, on the chance that you are also experiencing a bounty of tomatoes, I thought I’d hurry up and get this post to you so that delicious produce doesn’t go to waste. Preserving tomatoes is so easy though, that you don’t have to just save it for a bucketful! If you even have one tomato that is quickly ripening with no immediate need for it, use this same method and freeze it to use in a dish on another day. Waste not, want not – and nothing beats a garden grown tomato!

Today, I’ll be putting up five heirloom tomatoes from my gardens at Bountiful. They don’t know how lucky they are that I let them turn red! I’ve been a frying up green tomatoes left and right here lately but these five managed to grow up despite my fried green tomato love. I’ve had a busy week and there are plenty more tomatoes about to be ripe as well so I wanted to put these up to keep them from going to waste. Like I said, this is so easy that you can put up one or one hundred tomatoes.

You’ll need: Pot of boiling water, freezer bags.


Get a pot of water to boiling and drop in your tomatoes.

Of course, you can always can your tomatoes as well but freezing is just about the easiest (and inexpensive) way to preserve fresh garden produce so that is the one I’m bringing you today. This method is also more convenient for smaller batches.

house-tomatoes-081Like so……….


After a minute or two, the skin will split like this. Remove them as the skin splits and place them in a dish. I use a 9×13 inch dish to put them in. You don’t want to use a plate because when you remove the peels and chop them up there will be a lot of yummy juice involved.

If you have very ripe tomatoes, they will take longer to split open but hang in there, I promise it will happen.


See? Nice and split. Now for the cool part.

Oh, speaking of cool, you’re gonna want to let these cool down a bit.

If you try to peel them now you’ll find they are about as hot as little fireballs! I wait half an hour or so.


Then, just take hold of the skin and it pulls right off!


You’ll need to get a knife involved at the top, where the stem was attached. Cut that part off.


I discard all of my skins and tops but they’d be great in a compost bin if you have one.

I’ll be getting into that a little later.

My green endeavors are coming bit by bit.


My five tomatoes after the skins have been removed. You can tell a few of them gave up the ghost rather quickly.

I like it when things obey me, even if it is just a vegetable. We gotta take our little triumphs where we can get them!


Now I chop each one up but you can leave them whole if you prefer.

They are slippery so be careful.


Here they are, all ready to be bagged!


I like to write on my bag the date and where they came from. If your grandmother sent the tomatoes to you, it’s always nice to be able to call and say “We had the most delicious stew made with your tomatoes today!”.

Admittedly, a red pen is not the best choice for writing on bags of tomatoes but Katy kept getting into my permanent pen collection so I had to hide them. Now I can’t find them. Isn’t that always how it works? I need more sharpies…


Fill your bag up, get out as much air as you can, and freeze! They are now ready to be used in sauces, stews, and anything else you can dream up. There is NOTHING like your own fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter (or any other time of year for that matter!).


Attitude is a little thing

that makes a big difference.

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  1. Diane says

    Found your site when looking for ways to freeze a bunch of tomatoes, my neighbor was so nice to share. I thought of making jarred salsa for Christmas gifts for my office mats, but way too intimidating. With your method I’ll get to use them all winter long. Love all the southern comments from up I here in NJ!

  2. Holly says

    You can also just out them up in bags still in the skin. From the freezer drop in hot water and remove the skins. Just what you did in recerse :) Good for when you dont even have time to renive the skins first

    Tiu can dehydrate the skins and grind into a powder for tomato powder.

  3. theresa fisher says

    I do something similar except after peeling and cutting the tomatoes, I return to a clean pot with some chopped onion and green peppers and s&p and cook just until aromatic ( don’t overcook cuz you’ll want to cook them in future recipes). Let it cool, then freeze. Voila! Instant stewed tomatoes. Good use for those green peppers that are hangin on too.


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