Preserving Summer: Homemade Tomato Sauce

September 30th, 2008  | Category: Preserving

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Thanks to my father, I preserved more tomato sauce than I’ll ever need this winter. It was impossible to consume the amount of fresh garden tomatoes he brought every Monday morning. He would not only bring the tomatoes he grew in his garden at our summer house, but also hand-picked the tastiest tomatoes from the farmers’ market on his way back.

Six batches later, I came up with a nice recipe and photos to share. As you’ll see below, the recipe is quite basic. I avoided herbs and spices to come up with a base sauce I can build upon. You can always add them in later when you’re heating up the sauce.

So hurry to your local farmer’s market and buy as much as you can carry home.

Homemade Tomato Sauce 3

One recommendation I have for the recipe below is the technique for peeling tomatoes. You make an incision at the bottom of each tomato and blanch them gently for 1-2 minutes. The skin opens up slightly and you pull the skin along the cut edges. This saves a lot of time. Also, we wouldn’t want to waste the sweet flesh of these tomatoes while trying to skin eight pounds by hand, right?

Homemade Tomato Sauce 4

Here’s a great baked pasta dish that uses the sauce. And some more recipes for tomato sauce and preserving tomatoes in general from the blogosphere:

Note: If you have a post about preserving tomatoes, please share in the comments section and I’ll add it to the list above.



Yields 8 cups

  • 8 pounds of tomatoes
  • 10 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar


  1. Cut two small crossing incisions on the bottom of each tomato. Blanch the tomatoes 1 to 2 minutes, until the edges of the cut tomato skin start opening up slightly.
  2. Pull the skin along the cut edges and transfer tomatoes into a blender. Puree until smooth.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (longer if you desire a stronger garlic flavor).
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook, the lid half open, for about 2 hours, or until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  5. If you’d like to can the sauce, I suggest you take a look at Andrea’s detailed post on home canning – boiling water method. Alternatively, let the sauce cool and pack two-cup portions in freezer bags.
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  1. 1 - patsyk on October 2nd, 2008

    I love making big batches of sauce to freeze for use in the winter months.

  2. 2 - ELRA on October 2nd, 2008

    Wonderful photographs!
    I am very impress that you have the patient to do all of those canning process.

  3. 3 - sara on October 2nd, 2008


  4. 4 - Allen of EOL on October 2nd, 2008

    What a nice way to capture a bit of Summer! The photos are wonderful and the sauce looks delicious.

  5. 5 - Siri on October 4th, 2008

    the tomatoes looks so plumpy and beautiful! I am gonna make this soon..:)


  6. 6 - Hillary on October 7th, 2008

    Great idea to use summer’s end tomatoes. Is it so terrible if the skin is left on though?

  7. 7 - Cenk on October 8th, 2008

    Elra, Sara, Allen – Thanks!

    Siri – Hope you like it.

    Hillary – I don’t think it’s terrible, but I like my sauce without the skin.

  8. 8 - Andrea on October 9th, 2008

    Thanks for the tip about skinning tomatoes, I never knew that! I have to say, I don’t pity you for having an overabundance of tomatoes, I hope you’re sharing some of this amazing sauce with your father! 😉 Man, it looks so good!

  9. 9 - Andrea on October 16th, 2008

    You can’t beat homemade tomato sauce. How lucky you are to have so many tomatoes from your father! Thanks for mentioning my post on canning. 🙂

  10. 10 - Mrs Ergül on December 2nd, 2008

    Wow! You just made me envious of the gorgeous tomatoes you get there in Turkey! In comparison, the ones I see here are crap…

  11. 11 - m on January 1st, 2009

    If not feel comfortable slicing thin the garlic u can use a vegetable peeler. Depending on how hard or lightly u aply pressure = makes it very thin or somewhat thicker.

  12. 12 - Natalia on December 14th, 2009

    I know you made this post a long time ago, but I was wondering why you use red vinegar. I make the exact recipe without the vinegar and it tastes delicious. But of course, if you use it it must be better:)

  13. 13 - Cenk on December 14th, 2009

    Natalia – I like the acidity and smell of it in my sauce. Try it, you won’t be sorry.

  14. 14 - Natalia on December 14th, 2009

    Thank you, I will!

  15. 15 - Rhonda Mae Ellis on October 14th, 2011

    I made a few adjustments over time as my family loves lots of garlic I add mushrooms also My question is how do you water bath can something like this?

  16. 16 - Cenk on October 14th, 2011

    Rhonda Mae Ellis – I always freeze in ziploc bags, but if you’d like to can the sauce, I’d recommend taking a look at this website on canning tomatoes and tomato products.

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