It’s Time to Preserve the Harvest Again: Diced Tomatoes

It's Time to Preserve the Harvest Again: Diced Tomatoes

Last year I posted this when I was working on recipes for my book. This was my canning work. I hate having the stove on when it’s hot outside. I wanted to enjoy cheap, organic heirlooms all winter and spring – and I did!

Another plus is that you can freeze heirlooms that aren’t acidic enough to can.

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So, go buy some ugly, not perfect, seconds tomatoes this weekend. Ask the farmers and you’ll probably get a box cheap. Then you can enjoy them all winter long!

This is an easy, free-form recipe. Give it a try and you’ll feel that satisfaction when you use your handy work in soups and stews later in the year. Try to cook the tomatoes on the same day you buy them if at all possible.

Buy Inexpensive Fresh Tomatoes

At the farmers market, select tomatoes that are not over ripe or mushy. With that being said I try to buy up all the imperfect tomatoes at my market. They are sometimes called ugly, seconds, or another creative word to let you know why they are less per pound than the perfect tomatoes. Many times you can buy these at 1/3 of the perfect tomato price, making it even more of a bargain.

Even when you are buying tomato seconds, make sure it’s a cosmetic reason it’s put in the discount bin and not that it’s past it’s prime. Your tomatoes will be no better than the product you start with.

Let’s Get Started

There is an easy way to judge how many tomatoes you can cook at one time in your slow cooker, no matter if you are using a 2 quart or a 6 quart.

  • Rinse off the whole tomatoes.
  • Take the whole tomato and put them in your crock one at a time until they are peeking out over the rim.
  • Remove the tomatoes and now you will prep them for cooking.
  • Dice the tomatoes. Make sure to remove the top of the stem, and any bruised or mushy parts.
  • Put the diced tomatoes and their juice in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or on high for about 3 hours.

Get Ready to Freeze

Make sure the tomatoes are completely cool before freezing them. Many times I cool it in the fridge before I pack them.

Weck canning jars have glass lids and a rubber gasket and are my new favorite thing to freeze tomatoes in. It does take longer to defrost, but your tomatoes never come into contact with BPA or plastic!

Or you can use a freezer safe container, or a re-closeable plastic bag that says it’s for the freezer. Those bags are thicker and help it stay fresh longer. The bags are easy to stack in the smallest freezer. I put about 1 1/2 cups (the size of 1 can of tomatoes) per bag, push the air out, and close. Wipe the outside of the bag off to make sure it’s dry, or they will freeze together. Stack them on top of one another.

How to Use

Pull a bag out the night before you need it and thaw it in the fridge. Or, since the bag is so thin, run cold water over the bag in the sink. Most of all, enjoy not going out to the store to buy a can of tomatoes in the middle of a snow storm!


  1. Kiley says

    Have you found not removing the skins to be an issue? The tomatoes I get my CSA have a really thick skin that gets really tough when I make sauce if I don’t blanch and peel them first.

    • says

      I really haven’t. I did a few batches of heirlooms and some of regular slicers. I’ve used them in sauces, soups, and stews.

      Is it a certain variety or do you find this with all that you’re getting?

  2. says

    I was a tester for your book. So I want you to know, I’ve used this tip/recipe many times.
    Sometimes I add seasonings and such so I’m putting up the first step to a good marinara.
    Worked great!

    Grew tomatoes this year, so this was very handy!!

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