Frozen Tomatoes to Sauce

Last summer my heirloom tomatoes did so well that I had a tomato jungle.  The plants had grown to monstrous proportions and were producing more tomatoes than my hubby and I could eat or give away, and I must admit that several tomatoes died in the vegetable bin of my refrigerator. 🙁

Then I read a blog (I wish I could remember which one) that said if you planned to make your tomatoes into sauce, just rinse them off and throw them into your freezer – whole!  As-is!  Then, when you had time you could process them into tomato sauce.

So, that’s just what I did……….. then I forgot about them.

Last week I purchased a bunch of pork chops that were half price at my local store. 🙂  I brought them home and used my sucky machine (aka FoodSaver) to prepare them for the freezer.  But when I tried to slide the packages into my deep freeze, I found that I didn’t have any room left!  My freezer runneth over!  Which is actually a good thing, but….

I kept moving those tomatoes around here and there, trying to find space for the pork chops, but just couldn’t find any. Making frozen tomatoes into sauce Then it dawned on me.  Oh – I’m supposed to make those into sauce!  The holidays are over, the garden is asleep, it’s cold outside, so I have no better thing to do at this moment than make tomato sauce!

So, I pulled some bags out and put them on the kitchen counter to start thawing. When I took a few out of the bag, one rolled off the counter and fell to the floor but hit my knee on the wayHow to make tomato sauce from frozen tomatoes down. Ouch!  Heavens to Mergatroid those things are like small cannonballs!  I swear, they could be used as lethal weapons!  Holy cannoli, it left a serious bruise and I think it dented the floor!  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I also remember in the blog I read that the tomatoes will “peel themselves” when they thawed.  Really?  Frozen Tomatoes to Tomato Sauce

Yup – pretty much!

As the tomatoes started to thaw, their skins began to crack and curl just a bit at the edges.  I pulled on the skin and it peeled right off! Wow – no more dipping in boiling water for me!

Once I had all the skins off, I just chopped them up and threw them in a large pot.  I didn’t bother taking seeds Canning Tomato Sauce out as it was pretty much impossible with the frozen tomatoes.  Even the thawed ones were hard to get seeds out because they pretty much collapsed over themselves.  That’s okay.  I don’t mind seeds.

I simmered the tomatoes for about 5 hours until the pulp was reduced to about half, so that the sauce would be nice and thick.  Also, just for a smoother sauce, I ran half of the pulp Make Frozen Tomatoes into Saucethrough the blender. I didn’t add anything else.  No basil.  No onions or garlic.  Just tomatoes.  I figured that it was “safer” that way because I was just going to water bath them in the canner.

However, when I was getting ready to put the sauce in the jars, I did go ahead and put in one teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of lemon juice per pint – just to be safe.  These Tomato Sauce for canningtomatoes should be acidic enough because they are heirlooms, but I would rather err on the side of caution.

With the tomato sauce in the jars and lids screwed on just finger tight, I placed them into a boiling water bath for the recommended 40 minutes.  I ended up with 4 pint jars and about a cup extra, which I put in the fridge to use right away.  Now, if I want Canning tomato Sauce from Frozen Tomatoesspaghetti I can add the garlic, onions and basil to the sauce and I honestly think it will taste fresher that way. Or I can make it into pizza sauce – just add a few ingredients and there you go!

I did use two “regular” canning lids and two tattler lids and all four sealed.  I am going to wait for at least a month before I use the ones with the tattler lids to see how well they keep their Canned Tomatoes with Tattler Lidsseal, as I am still experimenting with them.  So far, so good!

This was such a convenient way to make the tomato sauce and I know this is how I am going to do it in the future – as long as I have freezer space!  I didn’t have to take time out of my busy day in the summer while I was gardening, working on the future homestead, remodeling my house, etc..  Instead, I was able to make the sauce in the winter when my life takes a bit of a slower pace!

And seriously, thawing tomatoes almost peel themselves!  🙂


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71 thoughts on “Frozen Tomatoes to Sauce

    • Thank you, Stephanie! This method really came in handy this past summer because I really, really didn’t have the time to process them! But I will do this from now on! It was so cool to see the tomatoes literally shed their skins!

  1. I tried to do that with our tomatoes year before last and when they were thawing, they turned into these strange, almost gelatinous, blobs. It was sort of gross. The outsides were all rubbery. Did yours gets that way at all? I loved the idea because sometimes (most of the time) you don’t get enough tomatoes at one time to can or else they all come and you have no time. I would love to try it again, yours looked awesome and I don’t mind the seeds….

    • To tell you the truth, I had them peeled and quartered before they were actually thawed all the way, so I’m not sure what they would have looked like when they were completely thawed. But, it really didn’t matter because they were destined to be tomato sauce anyway. In fact, I had so many tomatoes for this batch that I had to wait for the first ones in the pot to cook down a bit before I could add the last of the batch to the pot. I ended up simmering the tomato sauce for about 6 hours, and it reduced to about half by that time. And you can hardly see the seeds in the cooked sauce, so your are right, I don’t mind the seeds either! Thanks for stopping by Lauren Ann. I’m going to slide over to your blog and read it now!

        • You are so right! Isn’t that just the coolest thing? However, I have found it’s just as easy to let them thaw in a shallow bowl – that way you don’t lose any of the yummy juice that weeps out as the tomato thaws. I suppose if you took them fresh from the freezer and put them right under the faucet to peel, then put them into a bowl to continue thawing, you wouldn’t lose much juice. But, whenever I find a way to let nature do the work (thawing and peeling at the same time), I let her have her way. 😉 Call me lazy. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Judy – I always love to hear from my readers!

  2. I’m going to share this post with my mom! She gets super busy in the fall canning. I think having tomatoes to do juice and sauce at a later time would help her out. Thanks for posting. 🙂

    • It really was a great idea when I read it and the sauce turned out beautifully! This is how I am going to make tomato sauce from now on! I just wish I could remember who I got the idea from so I could give them credit!

  3. Thanks so much for the tip! As a pastor’s family, we get a lot of produce given to us from our parishioners’ gardens. I love it, but I always feel guilty if/when it goes bad before we can use it all. I’ll have to try this the next time we get a bunch of tomatoes.

    • Thanks, Crista! It worked out very well for me and I really think this is the way I will do it from now on. Not only was it convenient to do the canning on a cold winter day when I had no other pressing chores, but I was able to gather some here and some there so that in the end I had quite a few pounds of tomatoes to do a fairly large batch! And I still can’t get over how easy it was to peel the tomatoes! No more boiling water to dip them into to peel on a hot summer day! Thanks for stopping by! I slid over to your blog and read a few entries! I love the dolls and the doll clothes, but I especially like the bag your daughter made for her piano teacher! Well done!

    • It worked out really well! The heat from canning actually helped to heat up a cold house! Plus, I really didn’t have any other pressing chores that day. It is nice, however, to have more room in my freezer now!

  4. Hi Vickie,
    Saw your link over at Real Food Fridays and had to come take a peek. This looks like the solution to my problem! I just started growing tomatoes last year but I never seemed to have enough at the same time. Perfect answer! Thanks so much. Lovely blog you have.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Robyn. This is a really easy way to collect tomatoes throughout the summer and then use them for making sauce in the fall or winter! I’m glad I was able to help you!

  5. I am so glad you shared this. I was told about freezing tomatoes like this at the farmers market this last summer when I was buying just a 1/4 bushel that I needed to add to our from our own garden for the salsa recipe that we make. They wanted to sell me more and I had said did not have time to take care of them right then. Then they told me how I could just freeze whole. Well I was a skeptic because I was just sure they wanted me to buy more. I will know better from now on.

    • Isn’t this great??!! Such a simple thing to do but it sure makes life easier – as long as you have the freezer space! Now you can buy a whole bushel! Thanks for stopping by, Brenda, and for your comment!

    • Good morning, Gaye! I grow heirlooms also! I hope you have a great crop and can take advantage of this tip! Thank you for your thoughts!

  6. What a great idea! I bet it is just as yummy as if you had made it when they were fresh. Good to know because sometimes you’re not always able to bottle when they are ready. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    • It really is good and simple. Now, I add in fresh garlic and basil with a pinch of oregano and it tastes amazing! Pour over some fresh pasta – yum-o!

  7. Hi, I just wanted to say that I do exactly the same with my tomatoes, but I rinse them under the kitchen faucet with tepid water straight from the freezer. The skins fall right off into the sink. No need to wait for your tomatoes to thaw to take the skins off. 🙂

    • Isn’t it great how easily they peel! I didn’t wait for a full thaw either – as soon as they started to crack I started to peel. It was a lot less messy that way. Thanks, Laura!

  8. Yummy tum! I love home made tomatoe sauce! I don’t know if I’ll be using my own tomatoes this year, though. WE just had a week of over forty degrees celsius that has made the plants VERY unhappy

    • Ugh – I have been hearing about the horrible heat down under. Hopefully it will cool off soon. We are in a drought here in California. This is supposed to be our rainy season, but we have gone officially 45 days without any rain. All the wells and reservoirs are drying up and I am afraid there will be strict water restrictions this summer. In the other half of the United States they keep getting terrible winter storms called a “polar vortex”. I am afraid with all these extreme weather changes we are going to see some food shortages around the world. Pray.

  9. What a great idea! We’ll have to try this next year. We also had more than we could handle over the summer. Thanks for sharing this with us over at the HomeAcre Hop! We’d love to have you back again tomorrow.

    • Or even a good price at your Local Farmer’s Market! Of course, if you only have one or two plants, just throw one or two tomatoes in the freezer each week. By the time the plants are done, you should have a pretty good stash of tomatoes in your freezer! Thank you Christine!

  10. I have a million cherry tomatoes this year and I can not eat them fast enough, I think I will freeze them with all my other paste tomatoes and make them later. Great idea. I didn’t want to consider peeling small tomatoes after boiling.


    • Yes! It works well with cherry tomatoes – just take them out of the freezer, run a little warm water on them and the peel cracks and starts to come off all by itself! Did you know that cherry tomatoes are more nutritious than regular tomatoes? It’s true! Thanks for commenting, Jamie, and have fun with your tomatoes this winter 😀

  11. I just took a bag of tomatoes out of the freezer from my over-abundance this summer. We are making pizza sauce. This is the first time I had extra tomatoes and I am soooo excited! I put my frozen tomatoes in warm water and let my 7 yr old peel them. She LOVED it! The skins just came right off! Amazing! I cant wait to peel the other bags in the freezer this winter for soup 🙂

    • Isn’t that just the coolest thing ever! The best part is that there is no boiling water involved, so it’s perfectly safe for a child to peel the tomatoes! Thanks for stopping by, Tara, and leaving this wonderful comment!

  12. Ahh, thank you! I saved so many tomatoes from my garden with the intention of making tomato sauce and lo and behold- it’s December already…I was worried I couldn’t use frozen tomatoes, so seeing this is a huge relief!

    • Sorry I’m so late to respond, Claire, but I think frozen tomatoes are the only way to go! It saves time in the summer when you are super busy anyway, and it sure makes peeling a lot easier!

  13. You reminded me that I also have a box of tomatoes in our freezer! I have a tip: never store tomatoes in the fridge! It breaks them down and destroys the flavour. To thaw mine, I sit them in a colander with a bowl underneath to catch the juice, which is clear, but surprisingly flavourful! I drink it! Thanks for the reminder.

    • It’s funny how those tomatoes – long forgotten – will be just fine for sauces and soups! I always keep my tomatoes on the countertop – upside down. I’m not sure why I put them upside down, but I guess it’s because that’s what my mother used to do! I did try the juice the last time I canned. It’s funny how much flavor it has even though it’s clear! Thanks for stopping by today – have a great weekend!

  14. We had so many tomatoes last year and made a lot of salsa that is still sitting on our shelves. I’m wanting to make tomatoes sauce this year and would rather do fewer large batches than many small batches so this freezing method seems like a great way to achieve that. Did you use a variety of types of tomatoes? Are there certain ones you would suggest?

    • Hello, Tracy! Yes, I used a variety of tomatoes to make my sauce. Most were slicing tomatoes – red ones, yellow ones and even some cherry tomatoes! I know, I know, one is supposed to use paste tomatoes because they are thicker and meatier. However, my sauce turned out to be very flavorful! It just took a bit longer to get it cooked down into a nice thick sauce. Have a great day, Tracy!

  15. Love the tip on peeling the tomatoes. We can sauce every year too but have a simple way of cooking it down. We put juiced tomatoes into crock pots set on high with not lid. At night when we go to bed we turn them to low and let the sauce reduce. By morning they are usually ready to can. No scorching the sauce or standing around watching the tomatoes.

    • Good tip about the crockpot, Gloria! I have done this crockpot method before while making apple or pear butter, but I haven’t tried it yet with a crockpot. At this time, however, we don’t have a crockpot (I sold mine when we sold our house) because we are living “Off-the-grid” and don’t have enough solar power to run a crockpot – yet! In a few years when our new house is built and everything is humming along, I may look into the energy requirements for a crockpot. Who knows, we may have enough power to run one – especially on long sunny summer days. Thanks for commenting, Gloria!

  16. I know I’m late, but I just ran across your blog while trying to figure out what to do with all my frozen whole tomatoes. I’m a newbie and not sure what to do. Thank you for this! I will try it.

    • I’m glad you thought to throw those tomatoes in the freezer in the first place! I had a friend who thought all was lost (she was so tired canning tomatoes and other things) and threw all her beautiful tomatoes to her chickens and pigs! Let me know how this works out for you.

    • Simply put, Karen, I didn’t core them! There were a few hard pieces of core that I picked out, but for the most part, it wasn’t necessary! Sorry this comment has taken so long to get to you. If you read my latest post, you will understand why I have been absent for a while. Thanks for commenting and come back again!

    • Me too! Although, now that we are living off grid and have a small freezer, my freezer space is very limited, so I won’t be able to wait until winter-time to make my sauces and salzas this year. Hopefully, if we have our new house built next year, we will have two freezers!

  17. I haven’t ventured into canning yet, but could you make the sauce and freeze it? Or would that be bad since you’d essentially be refreezing the tomatoes?

    • I have done this before. Once, when I was out of canning jars, I did just that – I made my sauce and then froze it. It was delicious and no one got sick! Thanks for your question Kim. Come back again soon!

  18. Hi
    Do you have to use fresh tomatoes that have been frozen? What I mean is that here in France we can buy frozen cubes of tomatoes. Could i use these? And can I use ordinary screw top jars for the canning? Many thanks

    • Tomato sauce can be made out of just about any form of tomatoes – frozen, fresh, canned and dried. I have a friend who makes the most delicious, flavorful sauce out of dried tomatoes! As far as the jars for canning, I have only used mason canning jars with the tin lid or the Tattler reuseable lid, so I don’t have any useable knowledge about any other type of canning vessel. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Marina! Have a great day.

  19. This is a tip that keeps on tipping! I took my tomatoes out of the freezer today, after 2 years. Rinse in cool water. When minimally defrosted, with a paring knife dusted, slip the skins off, drop into kettle to be heated. Do not add water. Cook the tomatoes down until These can be blened in the pot with an immersion blender, or in a glass blender. After that I just added to the mire posix for a great lasagna sauce. Yummy. Easy. No canning.

    • Aha -So easy peasy! A great sauce in no time at all from scratch! I love hearing about how other people do things and learning from their experiences. Thank you so much, Jeanne, for sharing your wonderful version of a “fresh” lasagna sauce!

  20. Pingback: When life gives you tomatoes…

  21. I love seeing your picture of the whole tomatoes just thrown into the freezer. That is what happens at my house and they still turn into great dishes! Thank you for the simple explanation. Grow on!

    • Isn’t it funny… so many people do this now and it makes so much sense! With the work of growing the garden in the first place, summer vacations, back to school shopping, and putting up everything, it’s just so much easier to deal with the tomatoes in the winter when the pace of life slows down just a bit. And it doesn’t hurt the tomatoes one iota! “Making life simple”… that’s my new motto! Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog, Hilary!

  22. 2 questions:

    – Do u need a special pot for sealing the jars or a regular big pot is enough?

    – If i decide to skip the sealing part, and I just fill the jars with the tomato sauce and place them in the fridge, how long will they last?

    • As long as there is AT LEAST an inch of water over the top of the jars while you process them, you should be fine. I have no idea how long they would last in the fridge, several days, probably. But, you could always put a lid on them and freeze them, as long as there is an inch of head space in the jar for expansion. Good luck, Diana!

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