We love tomatoes and freshly homemade tomato sauce, especially the one we make in the summertime.
August and September are great months to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables in the northern hemisphere. They are also great months to preserve them to enjoy them in the long winter months. So, every summer we spend a bit of time preserving some of our very own tomato sauce, made from some of the best and ripest tomatoes for sale at our local farmer’s market.
Even if we don’t have the time for a huge batch of our homemade tomato sauce, we’ll make some time to make a small one. Nothing beats the taste of sauce made from tomatoes that have ripened in season.
What’s more, by taking the time to do this in the summer, we find ourselves saving so much time in the wintertime. We have tomato sauce ready to go to either serve on its own, with some pasta say or add to our recipes. It does save a lot of time and it’s also super easy for older kids and teenagers to handle so that makes it even more convenient. Ours often take some out and cook themselves as it’s so much easier to handle and so delicious.
How to preserve your tomatoes:
So there are three options here:
Make your sauce and then preserve in sterilised glass jars
This is the most traditional way to preserve your tomato sauce. But it’s also a bit cumbersome; you have to sterilise your jars and then you have to make sure they are sealed completely with no air remaining if possible. There are a few tricks to do this or you can also add some olive oil on top of the sauce to seal it off before fitting the lid.
One of the advantages of canning your sauce in glass jars is that you can store it outside the fridge or the freezer for a long time. The jars are also easy to transfer. And what’s more they make ideal gifts.
We normally use pint jars or jars that take around half a litre of sauce. But you can use bigger or smaller ones, it really depends on how many people you are cooking for. If you find out you need bigger quantities, just crack open another jar.
Make your sauce and then preserve it in the freezer.
This is a much easier way to preserve tomato sauce. But to make satisfactory quantities that will last you more than a couple of weeks you will need a large freezer. You just make your sauce and freeze it in one of those small plastic food bags, preferably a reusable one, or some sort of container, plastic or otherwise. We make loads of them and stuff them in our freezer. When we need one, we just take it out of the freezer, run a little hot water over it to loosen it in the bag and drop it in our pan.ur pan
Cheat sheet! Just freeze some grated tomatoes!
This is really cheating a bit but it’s brilliant having some summertime grated tomatoes in the freezer. It’s like adding a taste of summer to your sauces and dishes. It certainly beats most of the greenhouse grown tomatoes that are on sale out of season.
It’s super quick to put together. Just take your cheese grater, cut your tomatoes on two, grate them and then store then in your freezer in a reusable plastic bag. Then run some hot water over the bag when you want to use the tomato and drop in the pan.
How to make you tomato sauce for canning or freezing
But back the sauce. How do you make this sauce I hear you wonder. We keep it down to the absolute basics. If we are using large tomatoes we grate them using a cheese grater, place the pulp in a pan and throw away the skins or recycle them in some way. If we are using smaller tomatoes, like Italian vine tomatoes, we quarter them and stick them in a blender. Or we quarter them before we boil them – but this way it takes a bit longer for them to soften.
We boil our pulp with a pinch of sugar to take the edge off and a little bit of salt, say a teaspoon for a large pan full of tomato pulp.
The tomatoes will start frothing and foaming. When they do so, lower the temperature and let simmer until the foam/froth has disappeared. If you are using grated or pulped tomatoes your sauce is then ready.
This simple sauce will allow you to use the tomatoes in all sorts of recipes. But if you feel like it you can add more ingredients, like garlic or oregano. We don’t because we want to keep our option open.
If you are using sterilized jars you have to pour your sauce in them while it’s very hot. To find out how to sterilize your container you can follow this link https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/videos/techniques/how-sterilise-jars-video
If you are storing sauce in plastic bags in the freezer then you need to wait for it to cool down.
If you are simply freezing grated tomatoes you should store them as soon as you grate them to preserve as much goodness as possible.
Enjoy!. We always do and wish we’d made some more!