How to Make Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

How to Make Tomato Sauce - Ingredients You'll Need

Paste tomatoes work best in sauce, but it's okay to use other tomatoes. © Erin Huffstetler

To make your own tomato sauce you will need:

  • Tomatoes (about 5-6 lbs for every quart of sauce that you want to make)
  • Chopped onions (one medium onion per quart of sauce)
  • Minced garlic (one to one-and-a-half cloves per quart)
  • Olive oil
  • Basil (1/2 tsp per quart)
  • Oregano (1/2 tsp per quart)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

You may also want to add:

  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • A small amount of sugar
  • Additional spices

You can use any type of tomato to make tomato sauce, but your sauce will come together faster and easier, if you use paste tomatoes. They have less water content and fewer seeds. Here's a list of suggested tomatoes to use in your sauce.

Once you've gathered everything you need for your sauce, flip to the next slide to get started!

How to Make Tomato Sauce - Boil the Tomatoes

Boil the Tomatoes. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Start by plunging your tomatoes into boiling water for one to two minutes. This will loosen their skins, so they're much easier to remove in the next step. Then, rinse the tomatoes in cool water to stop the cooking process, and set them aside to cool and drain.

How to Make Tomato Sauce - Remove the Skins, Stems and Seeds

Remove the Tomato Peels. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove their skins, and cut out the spot where the stems used to attach to the tomatoes (this is referred to as coring the tomatoes). Then, slice the tomatoes in half, and scoop out the seeds. Don't worry if you miss some. A few left behind won't hurt a thing.

How to Make Tomato Sauce - Saute the Onion and Garlic

Sautee the Onions and Garlic. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of a large pot (around 1/4 cup). Then, saute the onions and garlic until they're soft (a few minutes should do it).

If you'd like to add carrots or peppers to your sauce, saute them along with the onions and garlic.

How to Make Tomato Sauce - Combine All the Ingredients and Cook

Combine All the Sauce Ingredients. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Add the tomatoes and all of the remaining ingredients to your onion-garlic mixture, and bring the pot to a boil. Then, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. Stir frequently to keep the sauce from burning. This will take at least two to three hours, but could take longer, if there's a lot of water in your tomatoes (non-paste tomatoes tend to have more water content, but so do tomatoes grown during rainy years).

How to Make Tomato Sauce - Jar Your Sauce

How to Make Tomato Sauce. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Pour your finished sauce into jars. Use freezer jars, if you want to freeze your sauce. Use canning jars, if you'd like to can you sauce for shelf-stable storage.

Note: To safely water-bath can tomato sauce, you must add lemon juice to boost the acidity. Tomatoes aren't as acidic as they used to be. Refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation's guidelines for complete tomato canning instructions and times.

Want homemade tomato sauce without all the work? Try my crockpot tomato sauce recipe. It requires no peeling, seeding or coring. Just stir it every so often, and you'll have a batch of sauce by the end of the day. Easy!

More About Tomatoes:

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