Tomatoes to Spare? Make Sauce

The best part of gardening is having tomatoes to spare. Big bowls of lush heirlooms. Tiny sweet cherry tomatoes. Heavy paste tomatoes. Even more tomatoes on the vine for next week…

My goal is to freeze or can enough tomatoes to use for the rest of the year. From our 2015 garden I did pretty well, except I ran out of frozen whole tomatoes about February. I made pizza sauce this week with the last of my frozen tomato sauce. Time to make some more!

sauce master

If you process a lot of tomatoes, a Sauce Master is a good investment.

The paste tomatoes are coming on slowly, so today I made a batch of sauce using a combination of slicing and paste tomatoes. I don’t mind that this combo has more liquid and seeds than paste tomatoes, because my Sauce Master allows me to capture tomato stock for soup, thicker sauce to freeze and the seeds and peels get screened out. This handy tool can process raw tomatoes quickly. But for today I decided to roast the tomatoes with fresh herbs for a more concentrated flavor.

tomatoes with herbs

First I cut about 5 lbs of ripe tomatoes in half or quarters and placed them cut side up in a large baking pan. I sprinkled them liberally with kosher salt and tucked handfuls of fresh herbs all around. Today I used fresh basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and chives. You can use whatever herbs you like, or none at all. I roasted them at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Roast them just until they’re soft and fragrant. If you leave them in too long they will caramelize.

Once the tomatoes cooled I pulled out the sprigs of herbs and discarded them. I then used a slotted spoon to place the tomatoes into the hopper of the Sauce Master. Pour any juice that remains in the roasting pan into the hopper too. Before winding them through the screen I waited for about 10 minutes and let the thin juice drain into my bowl. I saved this in a separate container to use as tomato stock in soup.

waste from sauce master

Here are the discarded sprigs of herbs and the tomato seeds. Not much to compost!

Once the thin juice has drained, turn the crank on the sauce master and the juice and pulp flows into the bowl. The seeds and skin come out the end of the screen and fall into a different bowl. (don’t forget to put one there to catch this!!)

At the end I had 5 cups of sauce and 2 cups of stock. I packed the sauce in 1 cup freezer containers. It keeps well for about a year. 

tomato saucetomatoes ready to freeze

I like to freeze tomato sauce so I don’t have to add any lemon juice or ascorbic acid to safely preserve it. I also don’t heat up the kitchen with the water bath canner! Because I didn’t cook it down before packing into the freezer jars, this sauce is thinner than commercial sauce and has a very fresh flavor. If you like a thicker sauce feel free to simmer it to the desired consistency before freezing.

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