all-purpose tomato sauce
Learning how to make an all-purpose tomato sauce is so simple and delicious and will take your homemade spaghetti and pizza to the next level. Basic tomato sauce can become a base for soups, enchiladas, and you can even use it to make your own ketchup! For this recipe I used just a few ingredients so feel free to doctor it up a bit if you’d like. This recipe will fill a 24 ounce jar, but I recommend doubling it and freezing in a Stasher bag or canning jars.
We’ve been growing vegetable seeds indoors and I can’t wait to move them to the cedar planter when the weather gets warmer. Crossing my fingers that we have healthy plants that will yield a large harvest of vine ripened tomatoes. There’s nothing better than a warm, slightly acidic, ‘juice running down your face tomato’ that’s freshly picked and still warm from the sun.
Until we have the option of vine ripened, or farmer’s market tomatoes it’s a good to know how to shop for this fruit in the grocery store because canned fruits and veggies are only as good as the produce you start with.
How to choose superlative fruit
- Shop and support local farmers if you can
Choosing fruit that’s been imported from another country means it was picked while it was still green. Try to choose fruits and vegetables that are grown closer to home for better quality and taste.
- Color check
Look for imperfections, cracks, and discoloration. If the tomato is supposed to be red, avoid choosing fruit that has spots of green or yellow. This can indicate early picking.
- Weight matters
Choose tomatoes that are heavy relative to their size. This is a possible indicator of juice content. The more juice the better!
What you may need to make all-purpose tomato sauce:
Q & A: all-purpose tomato sauce
- Should I refrigerate my tomatoes when I bring them home?
It’s best to leave your tomatoes on the counter. If you expose your tomatoes to cold temperatures (refrigeration) it’s likely to alter the flavor.
- How long can I store my homemade sauce in the refrigerator?
- Do you need to remove the skin from your tomatoes when making a sauce?
Yes it’s best to remove the skin (see how-to below). The tomato skin has a different texture than the flesh and might noticeable in a puréed sauce. You want to sauce to be smooth and no pieces of skin.
- How do I can my all-purpose tomato sauce?
First you will need proper equipment: canning jars, a jar lifter, and funnel for pouring are the basics. Kits are a good idea and sometimes come with a book and/or lots of instructions. To sterilize empty jars put them right side up on the rack in a boiling-water canner or large pot. Fill the canner or cooking pot and jars with hot (not boiling) water to about an inch above the tops of each jar. Boil 10 to 12 and remove with jar lifters and place on clean linen. Fill jars and top with the lid leaving about a 1/2 inch on top. Put the jars back in the water and process for 40 minutes. Remove the jars and allow to cool. Store your all-purpose red sauce in your cupboard or pantry until ready to use. Additional canning information comes with the kits and you can also head over to the Ball® website.
all-purpose tomato sauce
- It’s important to choose superlative fruit for optimal sauce (see above for how to choose the best tomatoes).
- After rinsing your tomatoes, boil for about 40 seconds and place in an ice bath. This process will help you easily remove the tomato skins.
- Add olive oil to a skillet, add onion, sprinkle with salt, and cook until translucent.
- Add chopped garlic and cook for less than a minute watching to make sure the garlic does not burn.
- Add tomatoes and cook long enough to incorporate flavors and soften tomatoes.
- Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend the mixture. Pour back into your pot and add fresh basil. It’s ready to serve or can at this point.
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All-Purpose Tomato Sauce
A simple all-purpose tomato sauce that can be use as a base for pasta, soups, and pizza. Can, freeze, or use within 3 days if refrigerated.
- 3 pounds plum tomatoes (preferably vine-ripened for the best taste)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 fresh basil sliced thin
- dash of red pepper
- splash of red wine optional
Rinse tomatoes and place in boiling water for 4o seconds.
Remove tomatoes and add to ice water.
When you notice the skins beginning to peel back, remove tomatoes and take the skin off the tomatoes.
To a saute pan, add olive oil and onion. Add salt and pepper and saute until translucent.
Add garlic and cook for under a minute making sure not to burn the garlic.
Add tomatoes and a splash of wine and a dash or red pepper flakes if you'd like and allow to cook down for a few minutes.
Transfer mixture to a bowl and use an immersion mixer to blend the ingredients.
Put back into your pot when ingredients are smooth and well blended.
Add fresh basil and reheat the sauce.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for several days. This sauce can also be frozen.
This recipe makes about 24 ounces. I recommend if you have an abundance of ripe plum tomatoes that you make extra. Canning is easy once you have the basic equipment or you can also store in a stasher bag in the freezer.