Tomato Harvest: Easy Pot to Freezer Sauce
I really want to learn how to Can, but I can’t find the motivation to do it. So I’m learning the art of freezing. Freezing, as it turns out, is a great way to preserve the ripe flavors, is easy enough to pull out during winter and use, and doesn’t require any special tools or steps to avoid contamination (does anyone else get totally freaked out about that part?). I plucked out a nice variety of tomatoes on Saturday and Sunday (Beefsteak, early girl, cherry) and am a little relieved that they can all go into the pot together.
I came across this recipe as the inspiration to begin, but because no specific measurements or weights were given, I viewed this as my test batch. I used 2 cups of water versus 1, and I think that was a mistake. I advise to start with 1 cup of water per 4 pounds and if the tomatoes aren’t breaking down within the first 15 minutes, I would add a little more water to them.
4 pounds of ripe but firm tomatoes
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 cup of water
Wash tomatoes and cut off any bruised or inferior areas of tomatoes. Core tomatoes and cut down into similar sized pieces (roughly half of a golf ball size works) except for the cherry tomatoes, which you can just halve. Place all cut tomatoes into large stockpot and add 1 cup water with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Once simmering, lower heat to medium-low. After 20 minutes, crush tomatoes (use the back of a wooden spoon, or a potato masher).
Every 15 minutes or so, give the sauce a stir and keep crushing the tomatoes. After two hours, the tomatoes should have a still chunky but generally liquid consistency. At this point, you can puree the sauce to take out the chunks and skins, but Frank and I like a little tomato chunk in our sauce, so we go right to bagging.
Small note: It’s important to use Freezer storage bags, not just storage bags, to protect the food; Also, write the date on the bag, since frozen sauce has an expiration of three months.
My family gave me a baker’s scale for my last birthday, and it comes in handy all the time. I filled four bags at 18 oz. each of tomato sauce, and promptly got them in the freezer. Tip: if you have room initially, place the bags of sauce on a cookie sheet or similar to place into the freezer, so they freeze flat. In my case, I used the top of the pizza box!
If you’ve made straight-up tomato sauce like this and have any pointers, please let me know!