Roasted Heirloom Tomato Freezer Sauce

by Amber on October 4, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes to be Roasted for Freezer Sauce


Here in Sacramento, we’re still pulling in ripe tomatoes from our gardens. In fact, this weekend I picked 30 pounds! With this many tomatoes, there’s only one thing to do: process them for winter enjoyment. The least time-consuming option is to turn them in to a quick sauce and freeze. In fact, just 5 heirloom tomatoes will make ½ gallon of sauce.
I love to roast my tomatoes. It pulls out the robust depth of flavor trapped beneath that thin skin. And unlike canning, you don’t have to peel your tomatoes. Simply cut them into large chunks, roast in the oven while you read a good book, and then blend in your food processor. The hardest part of the whole procedure is picking the tomatoes.
If you check the ingredient label on a jar of tomato sauce, you’ll likely find unwanted items like sugar, water, added preservatives, and extra salt. With homemade sauce, you control exactly what goes in.
Depending on what ingredients I have on hand, I will often throw additional vegetables in the oven to roast with the tomatoes and blend into the sauce. I have used onions, bell peppers, garlic, and zucchini. Experiment with the flavors you like best. No matter what you use, I can guarantee you’ll like it more than that jar from the supermarket, and it will be healthier for you, too.
Roasted Heirloom Tomato Freezer Sauce
5 large heirloom tomatoes or twice as many small hybrid tomatoes, cored and cut in large chunks
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt to taste
Garden fresh ingredients: tomatoes, basil, oregano, fennel seeds
Farmers’ market ingredients: olive oil, garlic, onion
Grocery store ingredients: spices
Place the cut tomatoes in a deep casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until skins begin to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
Place roasted tomatoes and juice in a food processor with the tomato paste and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Allow sauce to cool to room temperature. Pour into a freezer container and place in fridge. This should keep for a few months. Or, use it right away on pizza, pasta, lasagna, anything your heart desires.
Yield: about ½ gallon sauce

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

livinlocal October 5, 2010 at 1:32 am

This is simply beautiful! While our pup didn't allow for any tomatoes this year, the local farmstands are still selling boxes of them at a price just right for making sauce. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


FabFrugalFood October 12, 2010 at 3:36 am

OhMyGosh are you a life saver! We have discovered a bushel o' tomatoes that we didn't know were there – until the last few days and our tomato leaves are starting to shrivel – and yikes! – more tomatoes!

LOVE your blog – will be back often.

Great to meet you at BlogHer food – and good to know you are among us Sassy Southwest food lovers!



Xochi October 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm

This is such a fantastic recipe! It’s more of an idea, than by-the-letter instructions. I live in Davis and I’ve had such trouble with my tomatoes this year! I think they’ve just not been getting pollinated, so I took a Q-tip and did the bees’ jobs for them and now I have two (yes TWO) little green Cherokee purple tomatoes. It’s a week and half till Halloween and I’m hoping for enough warm weather to see those babies to red!

What do you do with green tomatoes still on the vine when the season is officially over and it’s too cold to ever ripen those last tomatoes? I’ve heard some people pickle theirs (Green Tomato Chow Chow?)… What do you think?


admin October 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for reading! I’m so glad you like the idea for this recipe. It is very easy–and very adaptable. You can throw in other garden veggies, too. Endless possibilities! :) If you’re having trouble with pollination, I recommend planting lots of native plants that pollinators love around your garden. Lavender is easy. I also plant extra basil and let them go to seed–the bees love the flowers!

For green tomatoes, here’s a recipe I created last Thanksgiving for a green tomato spice cake: I have also seen folks make green tomato chutney and even green tomato pasta sauce.


Beverly January 11, 2013 at 10:11 pm

An elderly neighbor who raised tomatoes in his backyard garden taught me many moons ago that green tomatoes can be picked before a freeze and then stored in a dark, cool place (like inside a cabinet), and they will ripen on their own. I’ve done this a couple of times now. So you can still get ripe tomatoes from green tomatoes plucked before the crop freezes or is otherwise ruined. I picked most of my fall tomato crop still green on the vine hours before we finally got our first freeze here in Central Texas in November. OK, I only had 2 plants, but I harvested between 20 and 30 green and not quite ripe tomatoes. Here it is January, and I still have about 12 that are in various stages of ripening (finally all turned orange) in an open plastic bag laying on top of some pans on a shelf in my laundry room.


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