Preserving The Harvest: Making Tomato Sauce

by Tammy Taylor

My garden isn’t producing heavily yet, but I came across a great deal recently on a large quantity of beautiful fresh tomatoes.  I froze a few of them to make my fresh tomato blender salsa and of course we ate some tomatoes fresh, but RancherMan prefers his tomatoes cooked so we had many more tomatoes than we could eat fresh.  I decided I would make them into tomato sauce, something I use quite a bit in my kitchen.

I found a great deal on fresh tomatoes & decided I would make them into tomato sauce, something I use quite a bit in my kitchen. EASY! #TaylorMadeHomestead

It was a multi-step process to get the tomatoes from fresh & whole to sauce.  First I washed the tomatoes & used a sharp knife to core them & I sliced them into about 4 wedges.  This exposed the seeds a little easier & I scraped as many seeds as I could out of the tomato and into my compost bucket.  Hummm… I guess I’ll be expecting tomato volunteers next year in my compost!  LOL

I found a great deal on fresh tomatoes & decided I would make them into tomato sauce, something I use quite a bit in my kitchen. EASY! #TaylorMadeHomestead

The seeds in the tomato often can give your sauce a bitter taste so I like to remove them.  I didn’t worry about removing each & every seed, just as many as I could comfortably get to since the sieve will remove most of the seeds for me.  Some people just wait & let the sieve remove them all but I wanted to remove most of them before cooking.  Aaaanyway – I piled the tomatoes into my big slow cooker, skins and all, covered them and allowed them to cook slowly on low all night long.

I found a great deal on fresh tomatoes & decided I would make them into tomato sauce, something I use quite a bit in my kitchen. EASY! #TaylorMadeHomestead

The next morning I used a slotted spoon to bring the cooked tomatoes from the slow cooker and allowed them to drain for a bit.  Tomatoes hold quite a bit of water and when you’re making sauce you have to simmer much of that water away. Taking as much of the moisture out of the tomatoes before cooking your sauce will make your cook time much quicker.  I just used my jelly strainer.  Use what ya got, that’s my motto!

I found a great deal on fresh tomatoes & decided I would make them into tomato sauce, something I use quite a bit in my kitchen. EASY! #TaylorMadeHomestead

After the tomatoes had drained quite a bit of their excess water I emptied the bowl and set the sieve over a smaller slow cooker. I took the wooden plunger that comes with this sieve and smooshed all the tomatoes down.  The cooked tomato came through the small holes and landed into my bowl, the skins and what few seeds remained from the cooked tomato stayed inside the sieve.

I found a great deal on fresh tomatoes & decided I would make them into tomato sauce, something I use quite a bit in my kitchen. EASY! #TaylorMadeHomestead

I turned the slow cooker to high & simmered the sauce with the lid off until the rest of the excess moisture was gone and the sauce was as thick as I wanted it then BOOM – there ya go: fresh homemade tomato sauce!

But what shall I do with all this sauce.  Hummm…  I know, I’ll make pasta sauce with it!  Tune in next week to see how easy it is!

~TMH~

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40 thoughts on “Preserving The Harvest: Making Tomato Sauce

  1. Margy

    I used a similar process but without the slow cooker. I don’t have one because of the limited electricity at the cabin. My propane stove works pretty well for that step. Last year I had lots of cherry tomatoes so I cut them in half and used them to make sauce. It worked out pretty well and I froze it in plastic freezer jars just the right size to use in sauces. I just hate to waste. – Margy

    Reply
  2. Lisa @ Fun Money Mom

    I’ve always wanted to make my own spaghetti sauce and I’m saving your recipe to try once we finish moving into our new house! Thanks so much for sharing with #ShareTheWealthSunday! xoxo Lisa

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      It’s pretty easy to make spaghetti sauce, if you’re not trying to can it you can add anything your heart desires – more peppers, stronger oregano, whatever! ~TMR~

      Reply
  3. Mandi

    Thank you for this! I still have tomatoes in the freezer from last season and I’m needing the freezer space! Coming over from Farmgirl Friday!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Freezer space is kinda at a premium for us right now too Mandi. I’ve been working hard at consuming what we can from the freezer first just to relieve some of the bulk. ~TMR~

      Reply
  4. JES

    Thank you for sharing your technique! I tried making tomato sauce before. It was an all day affair and never got thick! I will try your ideas 🙂 Thank you for sharing this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Give it a try JES, the sauce got nicely thick for me using this technique. ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh yes it will indeed. Plus it replaces something I used to buy. Although that’s good from a budget standpoint, I love it more from an environmental standpoint. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  8. Erlene

    I always learn something new on your blog. I love how you never let anything go to waste and how you always turn your leftovers into something else you can use. We never have enough tomatoes to make sauce, but at least I know how to do it if I have to 🙂

    Reply
  9. Nancy W

    Your tomato harvest looks wonderful! I never thought about using a slow cooker when I made my tomato sauce, so glad you shared your post on the HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again tomorrow! – Nancy The Home Acre Hop

    Reply
  10. Kathy

    I love homemade pasta sauce – you can’t beat the fresh taste of a home grown tomato! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday, Kathy

    Reply
  11. Rachel @ Grow a Good Life

    Using a slow cooker seems like a smart way to simmer the sauce all day to thicken and sweeten up. Thank you for sharing at Green Thumb Thursday!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I love it Rachel. When using a slow cooker to simmer & thicken the sauce there’s no assistance needed! ~TMR~

      Reply
  12. Chrystal @ YUM eating

    I love garden tomatoes and using it to make homemade pastes and can sauces. Our tomato plants didn’t do much this year as we had so much damaging rain. Thanks for linking at The Yuck Stops Here. Hope to see you again next week.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      For some reason Chrystal we must have gotten just the right amount of rain this year. Usually it’s so hot & dry they quit producing mid summer but they’re still going like gangbusters! ~TMR~

      Reply
  13. Carrie Groneman

    I haven’t made tomato sauce in years! Brings back great memories and makes me want to pull out the gear to do it. Thanks for linking up at WW Blog Hop. Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow

    Reply
  14. B.

    This had some good tips but made a few cups of tomato paste, not sauce. Next time I will not pour off the water the tomatoes cooked in.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Interesting B., mine didn’t come out paste-like at all. I guess my jelly-strainer didn’t pull too much water out, or I didn’t let it drip for long enough completely eliminate the moisture enough to make paste. Mine came out perfect! It’s a good point you make though that you should only let it drain enough moisture to make your sauce the consistency you like – thanks for pointing that out. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  17. Tanya @ Seven Springs Homestead

    Thanks for sharing this post at The Green Thumb Thursday Blog Hop. We hope you will join us again this week. My husband prefers cooked tomatoes as well. He absolutely loves our home canned ones. Every year I jokingly comment that there will be no new tomatoes this year, but they always find their way in our pantry. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      LOL Tanya, I know what you mean. Tomatoes are usually pretty prolific producers so it just makes sense to preserve them. ~TMR~

      Reply
  18. Stephanie

    I have always wanted to make my own tomato sauce and this one looks delicious! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

    Reply
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  20. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    Sandi, it really was pretty easy to make – the slow cooker helped a lot! ~TMR~

    Reply
  21. Sandi Gaertner (@sandigtweets)

    This is a wonderful post and the pictures really make this sauce look easy to make. I am crossing my fingers I get enough tomatoes from my six plants to be able to store some away. Glad I found your article on the blog hop.

    Reply
  22. Pure Grace Farms

    Yum! Tomato season is right around the corner. I can’t wait to start making my sauces for the year. Thanks for linking up with Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop. We are so glad you came.

    Reply
  23. Debbie

    I have never thought to try this in a crock pot! I greatly dislike having to peel tomatoes…this is genius. I will definitely give this a try!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I hate peeling tomatoes too Debbie, especially in the summer. Adding more heat & humidity in a Texas kitchen in the summer is NOT a good thing! For most things I’m able to freeze the tomatoes & the skins slip off easily when partially thawed. Don’t know how it would work with tomato sauce – maybe? ~TMR~

      Reply
  24. Patti

    I just started gardening and can’t imagine I’ll have that many tomatoes, but I’ve pinned for future use. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      When they come out of my garden they’re usually a few here & a few there so I freeze them, but in this circumstance they were commercial tomatoes that I just didn’t’ want to see go to waste. Worked perfectly! ~TMR~

      Reply
  25. ColleenB.~Texas

    I don’t know how you find the time to do all that you do. I take it by leaving the lid off your cooker while cooking the tomatoes was to keep out the excess moisture. I remember when I was younger I always had to help my mother can, being the only girl anyway. It was my job to use the wooden plunger, squeezing all I could through the sieve. My mom Always had a very large garden so we done A lot of canning. We lived on what was grown and raised. I can never remember eating a store bought loaf of bread as it was all homemade. Enjoy your day and have a wonderful weekend.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Aaaahhhh the sweet days gone by Colleen. Eating what came out of the garden, making your food yourself, preserving what you can’ eat fresh so you’ll have it for later. I really do love those days and I try to live that way as much as I can. Thank you for sharing your story. And yes ma’am, simmering the sauce without the lid on the slow cooker lets more moisture escape so my sauce will thicken up nicely. ~TMR~

      Reply

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