Preserving The Harvest: Making Tomato Sauce

Texas Homesteader ~ 

My garden isn’t producing heavily yet, but I came across a great deal recently on a large quantity of beautiful fresh tomatoes. So decided I would make them into homemade tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce is an ingredient I use quite a bit in my kitchen. And making these fresh tomatoes into tomato sauce was EASY! 

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! #TexasHomesteader

Eating Tomatoes

Of course we ate some tomatoes fresh to enjoy that delightful flavor of summer in it’s truest state. And I froze a few of those fresh tomatoes so I could make my favorite fresh tomato blender salsa too.

But RancherMan prefers his tomatoes cooked, so we had many more tomatoes than we could possibly eat fresh.

To make sure none went to waste, I decided I would make many of those fresh tomatoes into tomato sauce. That’s an ingredient I use quite often in my kitchen.

Homemade tomato sauce made from fresh ripe garden tomatoes. #TexasHomesteader

Although it was simple to do, still it was a multi-step process to get the tomatoes from fresh & whole to sauce.

Preparing Tomatoes

First I washed the tomatoes & used a sharp knife to core them. But I’ve heard that leaving the seeds in your sauce could add some bitter flavor.

So after the tomatoes were washed and cored I quartered them into 4 wedges. This exposed the seeds a little better. 

Then using a small teaspoon 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 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.

Simple Tomato Cooking

Aaaanyway – I piled the tomatoes into my big slow cooker, skins and all. Then I placed the lid on the slow cooker and allowed the tomatoes 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! #TexasHomesteader

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 shorten your cook time. I just used my jelly strainer.

Use Whatcha Got!“, that’s my motto!

After the tomatoes had drained quite a bit of their excess water I emptied the juice into a jar. Maybe I’ll use that juice when cooking my plain rice tonight to give it extra flavor.

Then I set the sieve over the 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 slow cooker’s crock. But 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! #TexasHomesteader

I simply placed the remaining solids in my composter to make that precious Black Gold Compost for a healthy garden.

Then 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. Now that’s about as hands-off as you can get #amiright??

Then BOOM – there ya go: fresh homemade tomato sauce! I was even able to make pasta sauce with some of it!  Nothing goes to waste, y’all.

Fresh homemade tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes can be turned into pasta sauce with a few seasonings. #TexasHomesteader


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Tagged in A list of our posts about cooking with the garden's harvest. #TexasHomesteader    All our posts about food preservation - dehydrating, canning, freezing, etc. #TexasHomesteader    

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21 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

  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!


  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!

  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!

  5. Gentle Joy

    A messy job, but that sauce will be so fresh and tasty later on. 🙂

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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

  8. 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,

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

    1. Texas Homesteader 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

    1. Texas Homesteader 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? ~TxH~

  16. Patti

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

    1. Texas Homesteader 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! ~TxH~

  17. 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.

    1. Texas Homesteader 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. ~TxH~


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