If you’re a fan of Southern cooking, then you’re probably very familiar with fried green tomato. And, oh boy are they delicious. Not only are they good on their own, but they can be a super tasty addition to burgers as well.
In the seasons that I’ve decided to grow tomatoes, I try to grow both green and red varieties. Also, I like to harvest a few of the red varieties when they’re still green because they have a bit more tart flavor.
If you also like to grow your own tomatoes you might like to do something similar, or perhaps not. But, what if you have too many to eat? How do you store the leftovers? Can You Freeze Green Tomatoes? Yes, you can freeze green tomatoes! It’s a great way to prevent any excess tomatoes from going to waste.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about freezing green tomatoes!
- 1 Can Green Tomatoes Be Frozen?
- 2 Pros and Cons of Freezing Green Tomatoes
- 3 How to Freeze Green Tomatoes
- 4 How Long Do Green Tomatoes Last in the Freezer?
- 5 How to Thaw Frozen Green Tomatoes
- 6 How to Use Thawed Green Tomatoes
Can Green Tomatoes Be Frozen?
In short, yes green tomatoes can be frozen. And, in fact, they freeze better than their red counterparts. But, that isn’t exactly saying much since tomatoes are perhaps one of the foods most impacted by freezing.
High water content is usually enough to spell doom for certain foods when stored in the freezer. Tomatoes are already notoriously soft and not structurally sound. This combination makes them quite mushy after they’ve been thawed.
However, since green tomatoes are much firmer than red tomatoes, they do freeze a bit better and aren’t quite as mushy when they’ve thawed.
Still, despite them being firmer, the ways that you can use thawed green tomatoes is limited compared to when they’re fresh.
Pros and Cons of Freezing Green Tomatoes
While green tomatoes aren’t the best food to freeze, as there are some limitations, and the texture can significantly change, there are still some good reasons to freeze green tomatoes. Conversely, there are some reasons you should avoid freezing green tomatoes.
Hopefully, this list of pros and cons can help you to decide if it’s worth it or not!
- Freezing green tomatoes is a great way to prevent food waste. If you have many green tomatoes in your garden and you won’t be able to use them before they go bad, or perhaps cold weather that might damage the plant is on its way, then freezing them is a great way to ensure that they won’t go to waste. While you won’t be able to use them in as many ways, it’s much better than having to throw them away.
- You can always have some green tomatoes on hand. This can be nice if you’re too busy, or you just forgot to go to the supermarket. Having some backup green tomatoes in the freezer can be very handy.
- They are convenient to use. Since freezing them mostly requires you to prepare them, it will save you a lot of work in the future. This, too, is another helpful thing if you have a busy schedule.
- Preparation takes time. While the amount of time depends exactly on how you plan on using them, you still need to allocate some time now to save yourself some time in the future. Also, as you’ll see later on, maybe the amount of steps it takes isn’t worth it.
- The quality suffers. Unfortunately, due to the high water content and weak cell walls of green tomatoes, freezing has a strong impact on the physical properties of green tomatoes. So, after they’ve been frozen, they will be much softer and squishier. This means that they shouldn’t be used like fresh tomatoes would be, like in salads or on a sandwich.
How to Freeze Green Tomatoes
The first step, no matter how you plan on using your green tomatoes, is to select the best tomatoes you can find. So, begin by picking only blemish-free green tomatoes from the store. These ones work the best for freezing.
Avoid tomatoes that are unusually soft, bruised, or undamaged. Remove the stems and any dirt that has collected on the tomato’s core by washing the tomatoes under running water. Now, you can take further, more specific steps depending on how you plan on using the green tomatoes later on.
Freezing Green Tomatoes to Fry Later
Preparing green tomatoes is pretty straightforward if you plan on frying them later on.
- First, cut out the stem area of the tomato.
- Then, slice the tomatoes into slices. They should be roughly between ½ to ¼ inch thick slices.
- Prepare a baking tray lined with wax paper, and then lay out the cut tomatoes in a single layer. Be careful that they aren’t touching one another. If there is excess moisture, pay dry.
- Place the baking tray on a level surface in the freezer. Let them freeze for two hours.
- Once they’re frozen, take the tray out of the freezer.
- Carefully place the cut tomatoes in either a rigid freezer-safe container or freezer bag and label it with the contents and date.
- Place the bag or container of tomatoes back in the freezer on a level surface.
Freezing Green Tomatoes for Juicing
Freezing green tomatoes for juicing is also quite easy, if not much easier than if you plan on frying them. Since their shape doesn’t matter, as you’ll be juicing them, you don’t need to treat them with as much care if you freeze them whole or if you plan on frying them.
- First, remove the stem area of the tomato.
- Next, cut the tomatoes into quarters.
- Place them into a freezer-safe bag or container.
- Label them and put them in the freezer.
Freezing Whole Green Tomatoes (Peeled or Unpeeled)
Green tomatoes can also be frozen whole. However, they should just be blanched first for the best results.
- To do this, first, simply prepare the tomatoes as usual before immersing them in boiling water for 30 seconds. As soon as possible, give them an ice bath. The skins come off considerably easier now that the temperature has changed. Set aside after peeling off the skin.
- Using wax paper, line a baking pan. Place the whole skinned green tomatoes on the baking tray, ensuring sure they don’t touch. If the tomatoes are wet, blot them dry with a paper towel to prevent them from sticking to the baking sheet.
- Freeze the baking tray for 2 hours.
- Remove the baking tray from the freezer after two hours and place the green tomatoes in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag.
- Place the frozen tomatoes in the resealable bag after carefully lifting them off the baking pan. Squeeze out any remaining air before sealing.
- Lastly, label the bag or container and place it in the freezer.
How Long Do Green Tomatoes Last in the Freezer?
If you’ve followed the above steps, then green tomatoes should last for about 10-12 months in the freezer. But the earlier that you eat them, and the less time they’re in the freezer, the better they’ll be.
If they are left in the freezer longer than 12 months, they’ll still be safe to eat, but just as they will be better the sooner you eat them, the longer they’re left in the freezer, the worse they will be.
However, for the optimal flavor and texture, I recommend trying to avoid freezing them if you can and eat them while they’re fresh.
How to Thaw Frozen Green Tomatoes
It’s simple to thaw frozen green tomatoes; simply place them in the fridge and let them defrost overnight.
If you’re in a hurry, let the frozen tomatoes defrost at room temperature for a couple of hours. You may now use the tomatoes in your favorite recipes after they have totally thawed. However, they shouldn’t be used in salads because their texture will be much softer, and not ideal for salads.
There’s no need to thaw the green tomatoes if you’re going to cook them. Simply place the frozen tomatoes carefully into the frying pan. When defrosted before frying, the tomatoes will turn to mush.
How to Use Thawed Green Tomatoes
You can use thawed green tomatoes in many ways that you could use fresh tomatoes when cooking. However, it’s best to avoid using them when they’re not being cooked like in salads as I briefly mentioned above. However, if you’re struggling to find a way to use any thawed green tomatoes, here are a few ideas:
- Sweetcorn and green tomato fritters
- Green tomato and apple chutney
- Deep-fried green tomato
- Add them to a soup or stew.
But don’t feel like you’re limited to just these ideas. There are so many interesting and tasty ways that you can use thawed green tomatoes!