"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Roasting Roma Tomatoes for Freezing or Canning

 I spent the day yesterday roasting tomatoes to freeze for winter use.  I might be canning some of these as well, but freezing is so easy and really keeps the fresh flavor of the summer in the tomato.

Begin by setting your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now clean and remove stem end from several pounds of Roma Tomatoes; cut in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a well oiled sheet pan with about a one inch high rim.  I used a stainless steel, well seasoned 12 x 18 inch pan.

Drizzle with Olive Oil and sprinkle with Sea Salt (salting is optional )

I like to add some sliced lemons

After 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven they should look like this.  There will be a lot of juice on the pan too.  Be very careful when you pour them into a bowl.

At this point you may want to allow them to cool if children will be helping you.

Place a large bowl under a cone sieve.  I used a four quart Pyrex bowl.  If you do not have one of these cone sieves, you can use a large mesh strainer over a large bowl and use a spatula to press the tomatoes or a food mill.   You can find one like mine on Ebay ( disclaimer: I am just adding this so you can find one, I do not know this seller.)

Pour tomatoes in sieve, again be careful they will still be hot.  Start rolling the wood pestle around and around to press the tomato pulp through.   Begin slowly so as not to push the tomatoes over the top rim.  Children love to help with this.  I remember doing this as a child in my Mother's kitchen.

Pulp and juice

Making progress

Skins and seeds are all that is left

Add a chiffonade of Basil  (sliced very thin) about 3 tablespoons.  You could also use fresh Oregano in place of the basil to use this sauce for salsa. One batch should make about 5 cups of sauce.  It will be thinner than purchased sauce, but you can reduce it when you defrost it in the winter when you might want to add more ingredients like onion, garlic and meat.  I often use this for pizza and it works fine without reduction.

Pour into sterilized one pint jars.  I used canning jars that are freezer safe.  If you want to do this method be sure to leave at least a 1 ½ inch head space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion.  I also used (sterilized)  regular lids on these jars, but you could use canning lids.  I kept the lids just sitting on the jars and placed in freezer until thoroughly frozen, then tightened down the lids.  You could also use freezer bags or plastic freezer safe containers.  Lock N' Lock makes some nice freezer safe plastic containers.  Your local market may have the freezer safe canning jars available.

I made two sheet pans of Roasted Roma tomatoes which gave me a total of 10 cups of sauce.

You may also use the water bath canning process or pressure canning process, but follow these instructions if using either of these methods.

"Not only the days, but life itself lengthens in summer. I would gather more of it to me, could I do so."
-Richard Jeffries


  1. That looks so delicious, Carla! Because of late blight I will probably not have enough to can or freeze! I do have previous years to use though.:)

  2. Looks absolutely delicious! I commented on your Tomato harvest. I was wondering if you grew them from seeds? Mine is taking so long, I grew from seeds...Perhaps it's the higher elevation here in the mountains! My organic Roma and Cherry are still green. In the past I've seen recipes for fresh Tomato sauce...Some boil them, peel the skin, remove seeds, add red wine, and a few herbs. Have you ever tried it that way? I'd also like to try yours since it looks great! How do you can tomato sauce, do you need a special canner equipment or can you just boil the jar with the lid? I want to store ours in the freezer too. Thanks for your time. Have a wonderful week :)

  3. What a great post, looks delicious.

  4. Excellent tutorial!! And I can taste the sauce from here:o)I am so looking forward to 2011 when I can get back to a full garden...
    Also love your quotations - such beautiful words. Thank you for sharing.

    Have a lovely weekend.

  5. Hi Carla, I just picked my first ripe roma this weekend and 24 more on the vine to go. So not nearly enough for this excellent tutorial, but my oh my your sauce looks yummy! I am really going to love visiting you over here. Nice to "meet" you! ~Lili

  6. A beautiful and yummy post. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. This looks delicious -- I've roasted them but never have went any further than that -- that sauce is really yummy!

    Thanks for visiting Linderhof!

  8. Gosh, I love all the detailed photos. You are right, my kids would LOVE this! Thank you for all the great ideas. The containers from NM would probably be good to use too, since they are freezer safe. Do you think I could do this with the grape tomatoes? I have a ton of them. We have been harvesting and snacking on them. :o)

  9. Hi Carrie, yes you can roast cherry tomatoes. I have not used them for sauce, they might have more seeds than pulp. But they are wonderful roasted whole with a drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt. Then use as a fresh topping for pasta with basil, fresh garlic minced and some toasted pine nuts. YUM!!

  10. Oops forgot, add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese to that.


Thank you for taking time to visit my blog, I love hearing from you, stay as long as you like, Carla