A quick and versatile way to preserve tomatoes, easy freezer plain roasted tomato sauce can be frozen and then used in any recipe that calls for cans of tomato sauce.
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There comes a time in many gardener's lives, right about at the end of the season, when you're getting tired of dealing with the produce.
I've known friends and acquaintances who've told me they've simply let the produce go back to the earth, but I just can't do that.
Oh, sure I admit to losing a few tomatoes to rot here and there when days pass and the pile of produce lingers, but most survive a bit of neglect - and of course my intentions are good, so there's that.
My point is (yes, it's here somewhere...) that I'm always looking for quick and easy ways to deal with excess produce like tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini at the end of the gardening season:
- I chop and freeze sweet & hot peppers, which goes really quick and gives me peppers all winter long for soups and stews.
- I make zucchini breads, cakes, and cupcakes, freezing these, too.
- I also pack gallon sized baggies of paste tomatoes into the freezer to await a time I want to can pizza sauce.
- I've made lots of batches of delicious, seasoned Roasted Tomato Sauce, my favorite thick Salsa, and Addictive Tomato Chutney.
But guess what? I've still got tomatoes!
BUT these are the end-of-season tomatoes from dying vines, many with open cracks and so not recommended for canning.
Since they aren't safe for canning, and I have all the seasoned tomato sauce I need, enter this super versatile plain roasted tomato sauce that I can use in any recipe that calls for canned tomato sauce!
This is the quickest, easiest tomato sauce ever - one that produces 2-4 quarts of plain, frozen in the sizes I need for recipes.
I'm especially thinking about Mexican dishes - this will make a great base for some homemade enchilada sauce, as well as homemade tomato soup.
All you need are three ingredients!
- Tomatoes - any kind
- Olive oil
How to Make Plain Roasted Tomato Sauce
This plain roasted tomato sauce is made similar to seasoned roasted tomato sauce, which means you don't even have to peel the tomatoes.
- Prep Tomatoes - Start by cutting your tomatoes in half (or just cutting the tops off of small tomatoes), then core and set them, cut side down, in an oiled roasting pan.
- Roast the tomatoes 40-45 minutes.
- Skin - Some of the peels will be blistered and puffy after roasting and those you can pick off, but any remaining skin simply gets whirred up in the food processor.
- Freeze in wide-mouth jars, leaving an inch of space between the sauce and the top of the jar.
Tips for Freezing Sauces
- When freezing liquids, you need to leave a good one-inch or more at the top for expansion.
- Use 8-ounce and 16-ounce jars to mimic store-bought cans as needed for your favorite recipes.
- Use wide-mouth jars for freezing to minimize breakage - plus it's easier to get the sauce out, even if it's still partially frozen.
- Reusing Jars: You'll notice in the photos that I used some actual canning jars (which are supposed to be freezer-friendly, though I've had breaks) as well as some recycled smaller glass jars. I was running low on wide mouth canning jars, so I experimented with recycled jars with wide-mouth openings and I didn't noticed much of a difference with them breaking more than canning jars. So try reusing glass jars for freezing sauces like this.
I'm happy to have a stash of plain tomato sauce that took me about an hour to make - and I'm even more happy that these tomatoes didn't go to waste.
The recipe below is actually more of a 'just do it' type of process that will work with however many tomatoes you have (or that you can fit in your pans).
And if you make it, be sure to let me know what you plan to use it for, since I'd love to get new ways to use up this easy plain tomato sauce!
Easy Freezer Plain Roasted Tomato Sauce
For each large roasting pan:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 to 5 pounds fresh tomatoes*
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt optional
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Prep however many baking pans you need for your tomatoes, or will fit in your oven by spreading 1 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom of each
- Cut large tomatoes in half, core and slice off blossom ends. Set cut side down in oiled pans. For smaller tomatoes, simply slice the tops, core and set sliced top down in pan (the blossom ends of smaller tomatoes aren't usually noticeable, but if they are, go ahead and slice them off, too).
- Fill the pan(s) with a single layer of tomatoes. It's okay for them to touch, but don't heap them on top of each other.
- Sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of salt, if desired.
- Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning half way through (in a non-convection oven) and rotating if using more than one pan until the tops of many tomatoes are blistering and puffing up.
- Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. While cooling, use tongs to remove blackened tomato skins if needed.
- Spoon an even amount of tomatoes and juices into a blender or food processor, process until smooth and then transfer to freezer jars or containers, leaving 1-inch or more room at the top for expansion.
- Add lids, label with name and date (I use masking tape and a sharpie) and freeze.
- This sauce will last for a year or more in the freezer.