Canning tomatoes that froze on the plant? Tips for preservation

Canning tomatoes that froze on the plant? Tips for preservation
Beautiful spring and summer tomatoes start with making good decisions as early as February, says K-State horticulture expert Ward Upham.
September 19th, 2023 | K-State Research and Extension

Tomatoes can be preserved and packaged in many different ways and frozen tomatoes are no exception, but can they be canned? 

Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee said…it depends.  

“It is not recommended to can tomatoes that froze on the vine,” Blakeslee said. “This is because the acid content changes too much when they freeze on the vine, making them unsafe for canning.” 

However, tomatoes harvested before the fall freeze and then frozen can be canned because they do not change acidity. Blakeslee said however, that the texture will change after canning and become very soft.  

“The best choice for canning previously frozen tomatoes is to make a well-cooked product, such as a stewed or crushed tomato product, or made into tomato juice or sauce,” Blakeslee said. 

Canning frozen tomatoes by whole or quarters is not recommended.  

“They will pack into the jars differently, absorb moisture differently, and the heat transfers through the jars differently,” Blakeslee said. Because of these changes, under-processing and spoilage may occur.  

Blakeslee reminds gardeners that tomato canning recipes are based on fresh – not frozen – tomatoes. 

Blakeslee, who also is coordinator of K-State’s Rapid Response Center for Food Science, publishes a monthly newsletter called You Asked It! that provides numerous tips on food safety.  


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