Fresh vegetables are always great to have on hand, but they often wilt and wither before you can use them. While useful in many popular dishes, cherry tomatoes might not get their time to shine before they decay, develop wrinkles, and ultimately grow unappetizing. You might wonder if it’s possible to freeze cherry tomatoes.
You can freeze cherry tomatoes and keep them for longer. But make sure you store them in an airtight container to ensure they can last for several months. While cherry tomatoes will lose some of their firmness upon thawing, they’ll still work great for various recipes.
Fresh cherry tomatoes you’ve picked from the garden will freeze differently than tomatoes you’ve smashed or blended into a puree. Below, I’ll discuss how you can freeze cherry tomatoes in various states, as well as what to do when thawing them out. Keep reading.
How To Freeze Cherry Tomatoes
Freezing any food item typically requires some light preparation. Cherry tomatoes often get stuck to each other, depending on how you freeze them. So to make things easier on yourself, you can take the necessary steps to avoid this.
Here’s how to freeze cherry tomatoes:
- Rinse all of the tomatoes with water.
- Pat them dry with a towel.
- Space them out on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet in the freezer.
- Wait a couple of hours until tomatoes are solid (this is known as “flash freezing”).
- Transfer tomatoes to an appropriate airtight container.
- Put the tomatoes back into the freezer for long-term storage.
Flash freezing the cherry tomatoes separately for a couple of hours is a good strategy if you want to keep them from sticking together.
Once they’re transferred to a freezer bag or plastic container, they’ll already be frozen, so they shouldn’t stick together as much. This approach is particularly useful if you want to freeze cooked tomatoes, which might be softer.
Do I Have To Blanch Cherry Tomatoes Before Freezing Them?
Many people advise blanching vegetables first before freezing them. Blanching is the process of boiling the vegetables and then plunging them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This method slows or stops the enzymes in the vegetables that typically cause the loss of flavor and quality. But is it necessary to blanch cherry tomatoes before storing them in the freezer?
You don’t have to blanch cherry tomatoes before freezing them. Although this isn’t necessary, some people blanch cherry tomatoes to remove the skin. Blanching tomatoes before freezing them is more common with full-size tomatoes than cherry tomatoes.
It’s easier to remove the skin of a tomato by blanching it. If the skin is off, there’s no need to worry about the skin later on when you want to thaw your tomato for cooking.
How To Freeze Cooked or Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
If you’ve already cooked or roasted your cherry tomatoes, you can freeze these as well, and the process doesn’t differ much.
To freeze roasted tomatoes, follow these steps:
- Allow the roasted tomatoes to cool down.
- Spread them out onto a baking tray.
- Place the baking tray into the freezer.
- Allow the tomatoes to freeze solid.
- Transfer the tomatoes to a freezer bag or container.
Separately freezing the tomatoes is far more important in the case of cooked tomatoes, given that they are soft and typically leak juices.
Freezing them in this state is likely to cause all of the tomatoes to freeze together into one solid clump. Depending on how you want to use them in the future, this might create a lot of extra work. However, if you freeze them separately first, you can usually avoid this problem.
Roasting adds more flavors to cherry tomatoes, and freezing them allows you to preserve the roasted flavor for a short while until you’re ready to use them again.
How To Freeze Crushed Cherry Tomatoes
You can freeze cherry tomatoes in whatever state they’re in. However, you’ll take a slightly different approach to crushed tomatoes since they’re less solid.
To freeze crushed cherry tomatoes, follow these steps:
- Place the container into an ice bath if the crushed or stewed tomatoes are still hot.
- Pour cooled tomatoes into a freezer-safe container.
- Seal the container tightly and place it into the freezer.
Crushed tomatoes will need to be stored in a bag or an airtight container due to the more fluid-like state.
You can save space in the freezer by crushing the tomatoes before freezing, as a plastic bag will lie flat. You would also be able to fit more tomatoes into whatever container you decide to use.
For crushed or pureed tomatoes, it may be easier to freeze them in smaller containers so that they are easier to thaw out in the future.
How Long Do Cherry Tomatoes Last in the Freezer?
Cherry tomatoes will last 3 to 4 months in the freezer without losing too much of their flavor. You can technically freeze the cherry tomatoes for much longer, but the quality will decline with time.
To retain the quality for as long as possible, always store your cherry tomatoes in an airtight container. Consider storing the cherry tomatoes in a sealable freezer bag, glass jar, or plastic container with a lid.
If you are freezing your tomatoes in a plastic bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bag. Additionally, don’t forget to label and date your tomatoes so that you can keep track of how long they’ve been in the freezer.
Effective Ways To Thaw Out Frozen Cherry Tomatoes
There are two simple ways to thaw out frozen cherry tomatoes:
- Place them in the refrigerator until thawed.
- Set them out on the counter for a few hours.
Cherry tomatoes are small enough in size that they shouldn’t take too long to thaw out enough for cooking.
If you have plenty of time, placing them into the freezer is a great way to thaw them out while keeping them cool and safe from bacteria. However, if you need them quickly, they often thaw out rapidly at room temperature. You could also run them under cool water to try and speed up the process.
The benefit of freezing whole tomatoes is that you can thaw out only as much as you need. Whole tomatoes, if frozen properly, shouldn’t stick together and should be easily removable.
You Can Thaw Crushed or Pureed Cherry Tomatoes Slowly or Quickly
Thawing out cherry tomatoes that were crushed or pureed will be a little more tricky, and it will take a lot more time.
Depending on the container and the number of tomatoes, you might need to place the frozen tomatoes into the refrigerator several days before you plan on using them as the container will be a solid block of crushed, frozen tomatoes. It will give the tomatoes plenty of time to thaw out.
However, if you plan on using the tomatoes immediately, you might be able to get away with thawing them in the microwave and then transferring them to the pot on the stove.
Thawed Cherry Tomatoes Can Become Soft and Mushy
Due to the moisture in the tomatoes themselves, cherry tomatoes may not hold their structure as well once they are thawed out.
Thawed-out cherry tomatoes are sometimes very soft and mushy, which can limit how can use them in the future. For this same reason, refreezing cherry tomatoes might be a little difficult.
After thawing, the tomatoes might struggle to hold their shape and may be best used for cooking.
Thawed Cherry Tomatoes Are Best for Soups, Sauces, or Stews
Due to the fact that cherry tomatoes will likely be very soft once thawed out, they won’t be ideal for salads or other meals that require the tomatoes to be more firm.
For that reason, frozen cherry tomatoes will work great for stews, soups, purees, and sauces. The softness of the thawed cherry tomatoes works best for dishes that don’t require the tomatoes to hold their structure. This might make the tomatoes easier to crush, blend, or incorporate into certain dishes.
If you freeze your tomatoes in a crushed or pureed state, you might save yourself an extra step when it comes time to cook.
Add Frozen Tomatoes Directly to Your Cooking
In some cases, you can get away with adding the frozen cherry tomatoes directly into the dish you are cooking.
Cherry tomatoes are small enough that they will quickly thaw when added to a dish that is already cooking. This is perfect for stews that are working on the stove, for example. The cool cherry tomatoes may slightly bring down the temperature of the pot, so you may not want to add them all at once.
If you find yourself with an abundance of cherry tomatoes, there’s no doubt that you can preserve them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
This goes for cherry tomatoes that are raw, whole, cooked, or cut up into pieces. While the storage methods might vary based on the state of the tomatoes, these all will keep in the freezer for several months.
As long as you’re storing the tomatoes properly, you can avoid freezer burn and make sure the tomatoes are easy to thaw out in the future.