How to Put Up Tomatoes (Freeze Tomatoes the Easy Way)

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tomatoes grow aplenty in the South, so here’s the easiest way to put up tomatoes. Freeze your garden fresh tomatoes to enjoy year-round.

5 tomatoes

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 of my ears! Still, I LOVE to grow tomatoes and I know full well this bounty will come in very handy once the 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 preserve 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, so you don’t have to wait until you have 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 fresh tomato.

Of course, you can always can tomatoes, but freezing is just about the easiest (and most 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.

Today, I’ll be putting up five heirloom tomatoes from my gardens. They don’t know how lucky they are that I let them turn red! I’ve been frying up green tomatoes left and right here lately but these five managed to grow up despite my fried green tomato love. As I said, this is so easy that you can use this technique to freeze tomatoes whether you have 1 or 100.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Tomatoes
  • Pot of boiling water
  • Freezer bags

How to Put Up Tomatoes

Add tomatoes to boiling pot of water.

Blanch tomatoes

Our first step is to blanch the tomatoes, so drop them into a pot of boiling water.

Tomatoes in pot of boiling water.

Like so.

Remove from water once skin splits.

After a minute or two, the skin will split like this.

Remove them as the skin splits with a slotted spoon and place them in a dish (I use a 9×13 baking dish).

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.

Tomatoes with split skin.

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

Oh, speaking of cool, you’re gonna want to let these cool down a bit. You can either wait half an hour or so or place them immediately in a bowl of ice water to speed up the process.

If you try to peel them now you’ll find they are about as hot as little fireballs!

Pull skin off.

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

Use knife to cut off stem.

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

Discard skins and stems.

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

Tomatoes with skin removed.

This is what they look like with the skins 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!

Carefully chop up tomatoes.

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

They are slippery so be careful.

Tomatoes ready to be put up and frozen.

Here they are, all ready to be bagged (tomato juice and all).

Date tomatoes before freezing.

Freeze tomatoes

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”.

Freezer bag filled with tomatoes.

Fill your bag up, get out as much air as you can, and freeze! It’s best to freeze them flat as they’ll retain that shape.

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).


Frozen tomatoes will retain their flavor for up to 12 months. Thaw them in the fridge before using them.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of recipes can I use with my freezer tomatoes?

The options are basically endless, but here are some suggestions:

What type of tomatoes can you freeze?

This method for freezing tomatoes works for all types of tomatoes, like Roma tomatoes (also known as plum tomatoes), heirloom tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes. If you use the latter, you can keep the skins on as long as you don’t mind the skins being in whatever you dish you make with them later.

Put up tomatoes

Put Up Tomatoes

Because they grow aplenty in the South, here's the easiest way to put up tomatoes. Freeze your garden fresh tomatoes to enjoy year-round.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tomato, tomatoes


  • fresh tomatoes
  • boiling water


Blanch Tomatoes

  • To blanch the tomatoes, drop them into a pot of boiling water. After a minute or two, the skin will split. Remove them as the skin splits with a slotted spoon and place them in a dish (I use a 9x13 baking dish).
    fresh tomatoes, boiling water
  • Cool these down before moving on to the next step. You can either wait half an hour or so or place them immediately in a bowl of ice water to speed up the process.

Cut Up Tomatoes

  • Once cooled, take hold of the tomato 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. Now I chop each one up but you can leave them whole if you prefer.

Freeze Tomatoes

  • Fill your freezer bags up (getting out as much air as you can), date them, and freeze! It's best to freeze them flat as they'll retain that shape. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using in your next soup, stew, or supper.
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

You may also want to check out these posts:

Tomato Chips!

10 Things To Do With Tomatoes

Canning Tomatoes (Complete Video)

Attitude is a little thing

that makes a big difference.

Submitted by Southern Plate reader, Sonya M.

To submit your positive or motivational quote, please click here.

Similar Posts


  1. Christy, there is nothing better than a fresh homegrown “mater” sandwich, with lots of mayo and salt on soft white bread…yuuuuuuuuum

    1. Amen, sista, amen on that!!!

      pssst…i might sneak in a strip or 2 of bacon….jes’ depends.

      1. Here in the lowcoutry of SC, we eat tomatoes on biscuits with a little salt and pepper. Until I met my husband, I thought everyone did! He thought it was crazy, but now we have them at least 3 times a week when they’re coming in! I can make a meal off of them!

        1. A friend from work brought along some bagels, cream cheese, tomatoes and lemon pepper to an outdoor summer concert. We all brought something, but I found out I just love my tomatoes this way. So good. I love tomatoes.

  2. I can make a really nice “eye-talian” sauce with those yummy looking tomatoes. This is something I will definitely do. How nice to go in your freezer in the middle of the winter and pull out a bag of “real tomatoes”, those things you get in the supermarket just don’t cut it.

    Thank you for sharing my link with your wonderful readers.I do hope they will stop by and help me on my journey to going green, one baby step at a time.

    Congratulations! What a wonderful story, and I saw your button on channel 31’s site. Very cool. I’m so happy for you.

    1. Thank you JoAnn!!! I gotta tell ya, I am really enjoying your site. I love how down to earth and non-intimidating your suggestions are. Great for the layperson who might be discouraged by more extreme measures right at the start!!!

      Christy 🙂

      1. Hello. Enjoyed the tomatoes. Can I add green bell peppers n onions to tomatoes and freeze them also

  3. Can’t wait till we can have a garden – no place for it in this tiny apartment. Home-grown tomatoes are some of my favorite things in the world, and I really like the idea of freezing them for later!

    p.s. I’ve been working on doing lots of freezer meals, inspired by your freezer “cooking class” a while back. I’ve got curry in the freezer, and a big ole’ batch of chili on the stove right now, plus several other meals still in the planning stages. I’m looking forward to having a freezer full of ready-made meals. 🙂

    1. Hey Stephanie! I love freezer cooking. I don’t do it all of the time but I always have at least some meals tucked away and they really save me during times when I need them most! I recently ended up with a house full of people on a Sunday I hadn’t expected to feed anyone other than the four of us. I pulled out a few casseroles and popped them in the oven and ended up putting out a pretty good spread in a very short amount of time – if I do say so myself! lol

      Has your little man had his birthday yet?

  4. Thanks for this method. I’ll break out the Foodsaver for this one. Is the boiling merely to remove the skin or is it the blanching that’s important here?

  5. Thanks Christy
    This is so much easier than canning! Now if you will please just come up with an easy tomato relish I’ll luv ya’ forever. The newspaper story was great!

    1. I made this recipe 2 weeks ago from my Blue Willow Inn Cookbook. It’s intended to go on fried green tomatoes, and that’s what I used it for initially. I found it’s great on anything fried, especially shrimp. It’s not relish, but chutney. I’ve fallen in love with it. I left out the green peppers, because I didn’t have any. I also used canned chopped tomatoes, but can’t wait to make it with my home grown ones. Here it is: Tomato Chutney
      1 (16 oz can) whole tomatoes
      1 cup light brown sugar
      1/2 cup sugar
      2 cups finely chopped green pepper
      1 cup finely chopped onion
      2 tbs ketchup
      2-10 drops of Tabasco ( I used 2 and had to double the recipe again to make it edible)
      1 tsp black pepper
      Cook all ingredients at a simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently until thickened. Cool. Keeps 2 weeks in refrigerator. Makes about 6 cups.

        1. I’m new to your site.i found it looking for an easy way to put up some tomatoes. Will the freezing method work for cherry tomatoes as well? I have a ton of them ripe now. The skinning would be difficult


  6. Mmmm! I can’t wait till all my green tomatoes get all red and happy! So far, all I’ve got out of my garden is lemon cucumbers..Congrats on the paper!

      1. Sprinkle grits around the plants, the ants will take them, chew them, and as grits do they will expand and kill the ant without harmful chemicals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe or Post Rating