Kalyn's Kitchen

How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce

This recipe for How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce is one I used for years when I had a big garden that produced lots of tomatoes! Use Sauce Recipes for more ideas like this one.

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How to Make and Freeze Tomato Sauce

I was completely captivated about the idea behind The Green Blog Project when I first heard about it. It was the brainchild of LG from Ginger and Mango that every food blogger should try to grow some kind of food themselves, and then post about what kind of dish they made from it on their blog.

I heard about The Green Blog Project clear back in June when my garden was little more than a few sprouts. Now that the garden is bursting with produce, I was afraid I had missed the deadline. I’ve posted about so many recipes using garden produce and I haven’t sent even one to share.

But when I went back to Ginger and Mango to check, I was happy to see that the deadline has been extended to September 25. (There’s also another deadline for those in the Southern Hemisphere in March.) If you have a garden or even a pot of tomatoes on the deck, there’s still time to post about what you made from the food you grew yourself and send it to The Green Blog Project!

A lot of people are into canning tomato sauce, but I’ve been able to successfully avoid the home canning impulse for quite a few years now, even though most of my family has that gene. I prefer the flavor of frozen tomatoes to canned, and always freeze slow roasted tomatoes and Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce every year which I make from garden tomatoes.

The recipe I’m posting here is for the sauce that I make when I’ve made roasted tomatoes, marinara sauce, and eaten fresh tomatoes by the handfuls and the garden is still producing tomatoes! It’s nothing more than plain tomato sauce, but oh what flavor when you make the sauce yourself from tomatoes still warm from the sun and picked the day you make the sauce.

The most inspiring thing about my recipe is the flash of brilliance I had when I realized that you don’t have to peel the tomatoes. You can put them in a food processor and puree everything, and then when you cook them the peeling disintegrates into the sauce for brighter tomato color and more flavor. This method will produce a rather rustic tomato sauce which still has the seeds. You can always use a food mill to remove seeds when you defrost the sauce if you’re making something where you want a more pure type of sauce. Read more about that below.

How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce for the Freezer

This recipe is for the fresh tomato sauce I made for years when I had a big garden!

Ingredients:

  • use 6-8 large tomatoes for each cup of sauce

Directions:

  1. It’s important to use tomatoes that are well-ripened and it’s best to pick them the day you make the sauce if that’s an option.
  2. I’d estimate that it takes about 6-8 large tomatoes to make a cup of sauce, but make as much as you can because this tastes wonderful in the winter when you’re dying for the flavor of fresh tomatoes.
  3. Put tomatoes in the sink and rinse well with cold water.
  4. Cut out stem area of each tomato and discard.
  5. Cut each tomato into pieces about 1 inch square. (Don’t make the pieces too large or the tomatoes won’t puree easily.)
  6. Using the food processor with the steel blade, puree diced tomatoes in batches and add to large heavy stock pot. The puree should be nearly all liquidized when you add it to the pot.
  7. Turn the heat as low as you can get it and cook the mixture until it is reduced by at least one half and as thick as you want it.
  8. I usually cook my sauce at least 6-8 hours to condense it down to the thickness I want. Your house will smell delightfully tomato-like while you cook this.
  9. I like to use a rubber scraper to scrape off the caramelized tomato that sticks to the side of the pot as the level decreases and do that about once every half hour.
  10. When sauce is condensed and thick, put into individual plastic containers and let cool on the counter for an hour or so.
  11. When sauce is cooled, snap on plastic lids and freeze.
  12. This will last for at least a year in the freezer.When you’re using the sauce, if you want a more pure tomato sauce that doesn’t have any seeds you can put it through the food mill after it’s thawed.
  13. Freezing the sauce this way with no added seasonings at all creates endless possibilities for using it. Add garlic, oregano, basil, or any other seasonings you want when you use the sauce to create soups, stews, pasta sauces, or other dishes this winter.

Notes:

This method perfect by Kalyn from many years of being an enthusiastic gardener.

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    93 Comments on “How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce”

  1. Lynn, that sounds like fun!

  2. September 2011 and still going! I am excited to find your blog as I am watching my neighbor's garden while they are gone. Their tomatoes are ripening fast and I don't want to lose them.

    We plan a sauce cook off for when they return!

    Thanks so much,
    Lynn

  3. That could be a good option for people who don't like the seeds and peels in the sauce, but I kind of like the more intense color and thickness they add.

  4. I don't know if this has already been metioned, but there is a prodcut called the Vitorio Strainer and it peels and seeds the tomatoes, leaving only the meat in a turn of the handle.

  5. There's no reason you can't add already cooked sauce back to the pot and reduce it more, so try that if you want a stronger flavor. Glad it's working for you.

  6. Thanks. It only took about 6 hours so I had time to get both finished.

    I still have a bunch to do tomorrow. I'm wondering if it would give a better/more intense flavor adding more to the same pots and letting it reduce again.

    Oh and grape/cherry tomatoes worked just fine and produced almost 2x the sauce in a smaller pot.

  7. The sauce is done when it reaches the thickness you want. I can't think of any reason you couldn't refrigerate and cook down more the next day, but you could also do that after it's been frozen if it was easier.

  8. Making 2 pots of this right now but have a couple of questions. How do you know when the sauce is done? Also if you run out of time can your refrigerate and resume cooking the next day?

  9. Anonymous, definitely. I always freeze this Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce.

  10. Can you freeze it with garlic etc in it?

  11. Barb, sounds good to me! (I like your idea about the skins and seeds being extra fiber!)

  12. So glad to find this because it validates the way I made my sauce today. I had a big box of tomatoes from the farmers' market, no food mill, and while I love to cook I'm always looking for time/labor-saving shortcuts that don't hurt the outcome.

    I think of things like skins and seeds as extra fiber so I always want to leave those in when I can.

    The hint about draining the juice out (using what I picture in my mind as a big sun tea jug) sounds good except I wouldn't want to clean the puree out of the spout! (with my preference for "lazy" cooking methods…)

    I pulled the juice out as the tomatoes cooked, just pulling out cupfuls of stuff, draining it through a sieve and dumping the pulp back into the pot. I got about 12 c. of fresh tomato juice now in the freezer to serve as soup base come winter.

    @BarbChamberlain

  13. Sandy, you're welcome. Hope you like it.

  14. I am so glad I happened on this page! Am making my sauce as I type. I have a gas stove so even on low, it'll have to be watched but am excited to see how it turns out. I have one of those juicers, so how easy it is to toss the tomatoes in and have it give me nothing but the juice. Might not be as red as when you get the puree, but that's okay with me. Thanks so much for your recipe. This is awesome!

    Sandy

  15. Peter, I usually defrost in a pan on the stove (or just add to whatever soupor stew I'm using it in and let it defrost there) but I think it will defrost just fine in the microwave or in the fridge overnight too.

  16. Hi Kalyn,

    I had tomato overload this year from the garden and was very glad to find this sauce recipe! Everything worked as you described it. Thanks a lot! Could you offer some advice about how to defrost the frozen sauce? At room temperature or in the fridge? How many days do you start the defrost in advance of using the sauce? Thanks again.

  17. Shannon, I would add it when you're simmering the sauce, but it probably would work either way.

  18. Plan to freeze and enjoy all year long – can't wait! Your tip of adding a bit of sugar if sauce seems too bitter – would that be best to do later, when I pull a batch out of freezer to use vs. adding sugar right now while I'm simmering down the tomatoes? – Shannon

  19. Annigyrl, you're welcome. Enjoy!

  20. Kalyn,
    I am enjoying the aroma of simmering tomato sauce as I write this to you. This is the first summer in a long time that I've had enough tomatoes to make sauce. Surprisingly enough, I prepared mine similar to yours, but forgot exactly how to freeze them. Thanks for clear and concise directions.