Preserving Garden Tomatoes
Updated: Aug 6
It’s a problem I run into every summer. What do I do with all of these tomatoes? We have a little garden in our backyard, as do my parents, and we also get bi-weekly produce from a lady we affectionately call “Veggie Debbie.” Around the middle of July my counter-tops become piled high with tomatoes from the harvest of all three gardens and I start panicking about what to do with them all.
A couple of summers ago I was picking up my piles of produce and my giant box of tomatoes from Veggie Debbie and I must have had an overwhelmed look on my face, because a friend who was standing near me said, “Let me help you with those and I’ve got a great little tip for using up all of these tomatoes.” This little tip has been a game changer for us and maybe it will be for you too! I use these roasted tomatoes in sauces, soups and stews throughout the fall and winter instead of buying jarred/canned diced or stewed tomatoes.
What you’ll need:
Tomatoes (large, Roma, cherry or a mixture of all)*
Garlic, minced (optional)
Avocado or olive oil
Glass baking dish
1 cup measuring cup
Quart size wide mouth mason jar with lid or Ziploc freezer bags*
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Rinse and remove the core of your large tomatoes and remove any green stems from the Roma or cherry tomatoes.
Dice your tomatoes, peppers and onions (if using) and put them into the glass baking dish.
If you’re using garlic, add it to the dish and drizzle your tomatoes with oil and season with sea salt.
Place them in the oven for about 2-3 hours.
Stir them around whenever you think about it and remove from the oven when the tomatoes and other veggies have softened.
Let the tomatoes cool before putting them into a jar or Ziploc freezer bag.
Use a slotted spoon to scoop your tomatoes into a measuring cup and pour the tomatoes into you jar or bag. I typically store the tomatoes in 3 ½ - 4 cup portions.
Label and seal your container. Place in the freezer for use when making soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, or chili. If you’re using a Ziploc bag, make sure to find a spot in the freezer to lay the tomatoes so that they freeze flat and you can stack more on top of them.
To use your frozen tomatoes:
Remove the tomatoes from the freezer and let thaw.
Since the tomatoes still have their skins, I like to place the thawed tomatoes in the blender and pulse a few times to make the skins less obvious.
Add them to your dish just as you would a can or jar of diced tomatoes.
*The size and amount of tomatoes and other veggies doesn’t really matter, that's one of the great things about this way of preserving, just use what you have. Depending on how many tomatoes I have, I roast as many as 2-3 batches at a time and fill the baking dishes, leaving only enough room for me to be able to stir the contents around. If I don’t have many, I just use a smaller baking dish.
*If storing in a Ziploc freezer bag, make sure the tomatoes have cooled completely before putting them into the plastic bag.