There is no reason to waste green tomatoes. If it is at the end of the season, or if you have some unripe tomatoes left in the fridge, the last thing you want to do is throw the green tomatoes away and waste food.
To save green tomatoes for later use, are you able to freeze them? Yes, it is possible to freeze green tomatoes, but freezing them does limit you to how you can use them later on. As with most foods that are frozen, the green tomatoes will be mushy and almost slimy when they are thawed from the freezer.
Let’s dive into the process of freezing tomatoes and what you can do with frozen green tomatoes when you’re ready to thaw and cook with them.
Limitations of Freezing Green Tomatoes
Ice crystals form in the green tomatoes while they are in the freezer, and these ice crystals break down the cell walls, which in turn means that the green tomatoes will not have their firm quality as they did before freezing.
For green tomatoes, this isn’t such a bad thing, as the green tomatoes can still be fried after being frozen, and turn out almost as good as they would have been if they were fried fresh.
You will not be able to use the frozen green tomatoes in a salad or eaten as is, as they will have a soggy, mushy consistency.
How To Freeze Green Tomatoes
When freezing green tomatoes, you should choose to freeze high-quality tomatoes. This will help prevent the tomatoes from becoming too mushy in the freezer, and they should be fine to use to fry or in a sauce when thawed.
Once you have chosen the high-quality tomatoes to freeze, you should wash, core and slice them into ½ or ¼ thick slices.
How you prepare and package the green tomatoes will also depend on what you are planning to do with the tomatoes. Here is how to freeze the green tomatoes for different purposes:
The best way to freeze tomatoes for frying is to pack the individual tomato slices into containers, separating the slices with wax paper or plastic freezer wrap. Leave around a ½ inch headspace for the tomatoes to expand slightly.
Peeled, Whole or Unpeeled Tomatoes
To freeze whole, unpeeled or peeled tomatoes:
- You will need to wash and core them beforehand.
- You can also dip the tomatoes into boiling water for half a minute, and then plunge the tomatoes into cold water to remove the skins more easily.
- Lay the tomatoes onto a baking tray in the freezer.
- Once the tomatoes have frozen individually, you can place them in a plastic bag, seal and label them, and then place them back in the freezer.
- Freezing the tomatoes individually first stops them from sticking together when frozen in the plastic bag, which makes it easier to remove individual portions when it is time for them to be thawed.
Puree or Juicing
If you are wanting to puree or juice your green tomatoes after freezing:
- You should wash, core and then cut the tomatoes into quarters.
- These quarters should be packed in freezer-safe containers, sealed tightly and labeled with the date of freezing.
Choosing Packaging for Freezing Green Tomatoes
The containers you choose to use to freeze the green tomatoes do make a big difference in the quality of the tomatoes once thawed.
You should use freezer containers or bags that are vapor and moisture resistant and can resist breaking and cracking at low temperatures.
These containers or bags should protect the green tomatoes from absorbing other odors and flavors from foods in the freezer, and the containers should be easy to label.
Suitable types of containers for green tomatoes include rigid plastic containers, freezer-friendly glass containers, heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer-grade plastic bags.
Freezer-grade plastic bags are a good choice for smaller freezers, as they can be laid flat to save some space. Or, you can use reusable silicone bags. I have these from Amazon and absolutely love them.
However, the glass and plastic containers are a better option for those who are more eco-friendly, as they are reusable time and time again.
How Long Can Green Tomatoes Be Kept In The Freezer?
Green tomatoes, if stored correctly, can remain with good quality in the freezer for up to 12 months.
The tomatoes will still be fine to eat after this, but the quality will degrade as more ice crystals form to destroy the cell walls and turn the green tomatoes mushier.
How To Thaw Frozen Green Tomatoes
How you thaw the frozen green tomatoes will play a big role in how your green tomatoes turn out. The best and safest way to thaw the green tomatoes is to leave them in the fridge overnight.
This will slowly thaw the green tomatoes without allowing them to come to a temperature that allows for bacteria growth.
You will also not be adding any additional heat to the green tomatoes, which might make them soggier. Place the green tomatoes in a bag or bowl to contain any juices that might run during thawing.
You can also place the tomatoes in their freezer bag or container, into a sink filled with cold water. This will thaw the green tomatoes a little quicker than when being left in the fridge, but will still keep them at a cool temperature.
However, thawing the green tomatoes in the fridge is the safest option, if you are able to plan the time to allow them to thaw overnight before cooking.
Frying Frozen Green Tomatoes
If you are planning on frying your green tomatoes, you should follow the freezing steps above. The good news is that you do not have to thaw frozen green tomatoes for frying.
You can simply place the frozen green tomatoes onto the hot frying pan and cook them from there. Thawing the green tomatoes first can result in a loss of quality, and can be quite messy.
You will get the best results when frying the green tomatoes from frozen, opposed to letting them thaw out first and trying to transfer soggy tomatoes to a hot frying pan.
If you are wanting to coat the green tomatoes for frying, you can do so before freezing to make it so much easier when the time comes to fry them.
- Wash and slice the green tomatoes and lay them on a plate.
- Pour out coating or yellow cornmeal into a shallow dish, and coat the tomatoes well.
- Stack the coated green tomatoes in a freezer container, separated by baking sheets or plastic wrap, and freeze.
- When it is time to fry, you can simply place the frozen coated green tomatoes straight into the frying pan.
- Salt and pepper can be added once the tomatoes have been fried.
Refrigerating Green Tomatoes
Tomatoes keep well if not stored below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep your green tomatoes fresher for longer, you should store them at room temperature, with the stems down, individually wrapped in newspaper.
Place these wrapped green tomatoes in a box that allows for adequate air circulation. Kept this way, the green tomatoes will keep for 3 to 5 weeks.
How do you keep green tomatoes from ripening too quickly?
To prevent green tomatoes from becoming ripe too quickly, you should wash the tomatoes and leave them to dry completely.
For smaller quantities of green tomatoes, you can place them inside a paper bag with a banana, stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
For a larger quantity of green tomatoes, you should store them in a cardboard box. Try to keep the tomatoes out of high humidity and away from fruit flies if possible.
Can you freeze green cherry tomatoes?
It is possible to freeze green cherry tomatoes. You do not even have to blanch them before freezing.
- Wash and dry the green cherry tomatoes and place them on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet in the freezer and wait for the cherry tomatoes to freeze.
- Once they have frozen solid, you can place them into a freezer-friendly container or plastic bag to be placed back into the freezer.
What can I do with green tomatoes?
The most popular method of cooking for green tomatoes is frying, and there is little doubt why, as fried green tomatoes are delicious. However, there are other ways to make the most out of green tomatoes.
You could choose to pickle the tomatoes, as green tomatoes are firm and tend to hold up well in a vinegar brine. You can make green tomato jam, bake them in a gratin, fill a pie with them or even toss them into sauces and stews.
Freezing Green Tomatoes
It is very possible to freeze green tomatoes to be used later on, and still be able to enjoy frying them, juicing them, or using them in soups and stews. As long as you follow a few simple steps on how to safely package and store the green tomatoes, you will be able to successfully freeze them to be able to use it at a later stage.
A top tip is to coat your green tomatoes before freezing, making them easier to fry when the time comes!