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3 Easy Ways to Preserve Tomatoes (That Don’t Involve Canning!)

Easy Tomato Preservation

Have you ever found yourself surrounded by a sea of tomatoes on your counter and wondered “What in the WORLD will I do with all these tomatoes?!?”

I feel your pain! August and September on our farm are insanity.

Seems like every day, there is more and MORE produce ripening that demands to be preserved! I have such a hard time dealing with food waste, so I’m always doing my best to make sure nothing goes to waste. Days are spent canning tomatoessalsa, whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice…

Easy Tomato Preservation Pretty tomatoes

But then… the intense fatigue hits and the thought of pulling out the canning pot one more time makes me burst into tears.

It’s time for some quick and easy preservation methods that don’t require me to stand in my hot steamy kitchen for hours on end!

RELATED: How To Preserve Apples

Easy Tomato Preservation tomatoes in sink

Here are my top 3 methods for when I’m bone tired and overwhelmed.

Dehydrated Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are great, but sometimes they are so prolific we can’t eat them all!

If you have a dehydrator, you are in luck! If not, you can use your oven at it’s lowest setting.

The method is pretty simple and straight forward.

  1. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half.
  2. Place them cut side up on the dehydrator trays or a lined cookie sheet (if using your oven).
  3. Dehydrate until tomatoes are dry. This takes 6-12 hours in a dehydrator or an oven set at it’s lowest temperature. Check them periodically as they are drying to make sure they are not sticking together.
  4. Store in an airtight container.
Easy Tomato Preservation cherry tomatoes


  • Sprinkle dried tomatoes on salads
  • Incorporate them into quiches, frittatas or other egg dishes
  • Rehydrate (soak in water) and use as pizza toppings or in casseroles
  • Throw a handful into soup and stews
Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is such an easy (and delicious!) way to preserve foods. It also makes for a quick and healthy snack.

If you’re ready to learn how to make use of your dehydrator check out my friend Wardee’s ebook or eCourse to learn how to enjoy summer’s bounty all year long!

Homemade Tomato Paste

I absolutely love having tomato paste on hand and this method is a great way to use up a HUGE pile of tomatoes and turn it into something that easily fits in your freezer.

You can use any kind of tomato for making paste – canning/paste tomatoes, slicing/beefsteak tomatoes or even cherry tomatoes.

For this method, you will need a food mill. There are several different kinds of food mills – I have a simple hand-crank type that is set over the top of another pot, and the larger type for big jobs that clamps to the counter.

The food mill does all the work of removing the seeds and skin from the tomatoes. If you don’t have one, be sure to ask around! I bet you know someone who would let you borrow theirs.

Feel free to play around with this method. You really can’t go wrong. If you have other produce available, you might throw in some chopped zucchini, sweet peppers, onions, garlic or herbs with the tomatoes to create an even richer tasting paste.

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Homemade Tomato Paste

  • Author: Lori Hernandez
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Italian


Easily preserve all your home grown tomatoes by making a freezable tomato paste (in glass jars, no BPA!)


  • Any type of tomato you have on hand

ship kroger


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a pan with olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!).
  2. Start cutting the tomatoes into chunks, right into the pan, as many as can fit! Add other veggies, if desired. Sprinkle with herbs (fresh or dried – Italian seasoning is good), about a tsp of salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase) and drizzle again with olive oil.
  3. Roast tomatoes for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until they are cooked down and thickened.
  4. Remove pan from oven and pour tomatoes into the food mill, with a clean pot underneath to catch the sauce. Crank the food mill until all the seeds and skins are separated from the sauce.
  5. At this point, you have a lovely tomato sauce that you could freeze. If you want to make paste, though, you will need to cook down the sauce even more.
  6. Simmer the sauce until it reaches the desired consistency (you probably won’t get it as thick as commercial tomato paste). Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from burning.
  7. When the paste is ready, allow it to cool. Spoon cooled paste into ice cube trays, freeze until firm, them transfer to a freezer container.

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The options are endless for tomato paste! The frozen cubes are the perfect size for almost all recipes, as each cube is about 1-2 tbsp (depends on the size of your tray). I find myself reaching into the freezer for these cubes all the time!


  • Rice. Add a cube to cooking liquid.
  • Soup or stew. Add a few cubes for great flavor.
  • Casseroles and egg dishes. Set out a few cubes to soften (or thaw in the microwave) and stir in with the other ingredients.
  • Pizza Sauce. 2 cubes in the perfect amount for a 12 inch pizza!
Easy Tomato Preservation tomato paste

Whole Frozen Tomatoes

I save this method for the days when I’m truly desperate. It’s also my favorite method, because it only takes a few minutes!

Are you ready for this? Here we go:

  1. Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet.
  2. Place cookie sheet in the freezer.
  3. When frozen, transfer tomatoes to a freezer bag.
  4. DONE.

If you are feeling fancy, you CAN remove the stem/core from the tomatoes, but it’s not necessary!

Easy Tomato Preservation cored tomatoes

When winter comes, you can pull out tomatoes out of the freezer as needed. A quick dip under hot running water will remove the skin and then you can chop the frozen tomato and add it to soup, stew, chili or casserole.

Or you can dump the entire contents of the bag in a big pot, cook down the tomatoes, run the contents through a food mill and make sauce or tomato soup (this is a wonderful thing to do on a cold snowy day. Trust me).

The point is, you are using your freezer as a holding area until you have the time and energy to deal with the tomatoes.


  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato soup
  • Soup, stew or chili

Check out all the ways we enjoy tomatoes here!

I would love to hear how you handle those piles of tomatoes! Do you have another simple, easy method I could add to my repertoire?
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

8 thoughts on “3 Easy Ways to Preserve Tomatoes (That Don’t Involve Canning!)”

  1. I remember how my grandma was making tomato salad in the winter! I’m sure she had a few aces up her sleeve when it came to preserving vegetables. Gotta get back to her and steal a few tips & tricks! Cheers, Lori!

  2. Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

    Roasted tomatoes! They are delicious enough to use for pasta sauce without adding anything more!

    Instructions about putting food on a tray in the freezer and later putting it in bags always frustrate me–I don’t have that kind of freezer space! But I have frozen tomatoes successfully by dicing them, packing firmly into bags, and squeezing out all the air. You can toss the frozen tomatoes into a hot pan and break them up as you cook, and that tends to break them into smaller pieces more like chunky tomato sauce. I’ve even thrown frozen tomatoes into slow-cooker soup and just broken them up when I stir the soup hours later.

  3. I slice the tomatoes, 1/4-1/2” thick, dehydrate, pulverize (sort of, still have a few recognizable pieces) in a food processor and vacuum seal I in a glass jar. I did 44 pounds of tomatoes this way, they all fit into 1 half gallon jar. I will add to soups, egg dishes, make paste out of this winter. The powder is tomatoey and sweet!

  4. Great ideas! I always wash, core, and chop into chunks like big diced tomatoes. I do this with big ones and cherry tomatoes (cut in half) and leave the skins on. I fill Ziploc sandwich bags with tomato and juice then fit 4 of those bags into a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag. I pull them out anytime I need diced tomatoes. We don’t mind the skins. Works great for us!

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