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Freezer Tomato Sauce

Make this delicious simple tomato sauce when there is an abundance of cherry or grape tomatoes. Freeze it as-is and serve on pasta or even as a tomato soup.–Susie Theodorou

LC Tomato Sauce By the Truckload Note

If you like having tomato sauce at the ready, you’ll love this nifty freezer tomato sauce trick, especially the part about freezing the bags of sauce flat on their sides to create easy-to-stack slabs of sauce in modest two-cup portions. (Although with eight pounds of tomatoes, that’s an awful lot of freezer space devoted to sauce. While we’re big proponents of big-batch cooking, you could easily halve this recipe—or your favorite tomato sauce recipe—and still have an ample stash to get you through till next tomato season. Well, at least till next month.

Speaking of an abundance of tomatoes, today—the last Wednesday in August—marks La Tomatina, the annual tomato-slinging fest which draws literally thousands of folks to Bunol, Spain. Here they engage in what has got to be the world’s most gargantuan food fight. Or at least, the world’s most extravagant tomato fight. Gosh, we hope they’re not using heirlooms.

Freezer Tomato Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 3 quarts

Ingredients

  • 8 pounds cherry tomatoes or small plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 large basil or rosemary sprigs
  • 3 large flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, if desired

Directions

  • 1. Place the tomatoes in a large pot or Dutch oven with 6 tablespoons water. Dampen a large piece of crumpled parchment paper with cold water, open it, and place it directly over the tomatoes. Cover the pot and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally to stir. Do not open, as the tomatoes are sweating and cooking in their own steam.
  • 2. Transfer the tomatoes to a food processor, in two to three batches if necessary, and process until smooth. Strain through a sieve, discarding the skins and seeds, if desired. Place the tomatoes, olive oil, shallots, garlic, and herbs in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, until reduced to 12 cups. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding the sugar if necessary.
  • 3. To freeze: Allow the sauce to cool completely to room temperature, then divide among six 1-quart plastic freezer bags—each bag will contain about 2 cups of sauce, making each bag only half full. Freeze flat until solid, about 1 hour. When solid, store more compactly in the freezer.
  • 4. To thaw: Thaw the bags of sauce completely immersed in a bowl of cold water, about 1 1/2 hours to partially thaw. Or put the bags of sauce on a plate and thaw in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. You do not have to completely thaw the sauce before you heat it.
  • 5. To serve: Transfer the thawed sauce to a pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. If only partially thawed, simmer for an extra 5 minutes.
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