Fresh Tomato Sauce

Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 1-2 hours

Serves:Makes about 6 cups

If you have tomatoes growing in your garden this year and way too many to eat them fresh out of hand or use in salads or sandwiches, make them into this delicious, fresh tomato sauce.


  • 5 pounds whole tomatoes
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make a large X through the bottom of the skin of each tomato and plunge each one into the boiling water until skins are slightly loosened, about 15-30 seconds. (See hints below.) Transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let rest for 1 minute, then peel skin off with your fingers. Cut tomatoes into quarters, cut off the core, remove the seeds, if you wish, and chop, reserving the juices.

Place the onions in a large non-stick pot, cook and stir until they begin to brown slightly, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook and stir for another minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the basil and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until thickened to desired consistency.

Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and a bit of sea salt, if you wish.

Hints: The longer you make the X in the skin of the tomato, the easier it will be to peel. Extend it all the way around to the core, if you wish. Just cut through the skin, not into the flesh. Work with about 3 tomatoes at a time in the boiling water and ice water. Fresh tomatoes may also be peeled with a serrated peeler if you wish to skip the boiling/ice water step.

What is really amazing about this sauce is that it can also be made with whole frozen tomatoes. So when you have a bumper crop of tomatoes and you don't feel like canning them, just freeze them instead. Remove the core from the tomatoes first and then just freeze them whole. When ready to use, run each one under warm water and rub the skin off. Thaw in the refrigerator, then chop when thawed. Frozen tomatoes do not peel well with a serrated peeler.

If you do not have a large non-stick pot, just add a small amount of water to the pot before adding the onions and proceed as directed above. This may also be made with dried basil and oregano, about a teaspoon of each, but the flavor won't be as fresh tasting. Some tomato crops are not a sweet as others and you may find that a pinch of sugar will help to mellow your tomato sauce if it seems too tart.