Freezer Tomato Sauce - Extending the Tomato Season

This recipe will allow you to preserve the goodness of vine-ripened tomatoes by turning them into a well-seasoned sauce for the freezer. Such a sauce is a great starting point for easy, delicious winter meals. And because it's not canned, but just spooned into freezer containers, you can make it with a minimum of time and effort. Choose containers of various sizes, ones you will be able to use up when thawed. One-cup containers hold enough sauce for a pizza topping. Pint and quart sizes are ideal for storing sauce for pasta dishes; a pint container makes two servings, while a quart will serve four.

Freezer Tomato Sauce

Makes 8 Cups

5 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 12 medium-sized)

3 tablespoons salad oil

2 large onions

4 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

3/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 teaspoon dry rosemary

1/4 teaspoon crushed anise seeds

1 tablespoon dry basil

1 tablespoon oregano leaves

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup dry red wine

1. Peel and core 5 pounds ripe tomatoes; cut into eighths and set aside.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons salad oil in a 6-quart pan over medium heat; add 2 large onions, finely chopped, and 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed.

3. Cook until onions are soft (about 10 minutes). Add tomatoes, 1 teaspoon each salt and paprika, 3/4 each pepper and dry rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon crushed anise seeds, 1 tablespoon each dry basil, oregano leaves, and sugar, and 3/4 cup dry red wine.

4. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up tomatoes. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour; stir several times.

5. Uncover and boil over medium-high heat, stirring often to prevent sticking, until reduced to 8 cups (about 50 more minutes).

6. Let cool, then ladle into rigid plastic or glass cup, pint, or quart containers; leave at least 1/2 inch headspace for cup and pint containers, 1 inch for quarts.

7. Cover and freeze at 0*F or lower for up to 9 months.

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