“It’s Too Hot” Tomato Sauce

In the garden at the end of August, it’s a race against time. There’s a small window of opportunity to get the crops in when they are ripe. A few days too late and the bugs and rot get them. This week my peaches, basil and tomatoes have all peaked. (As have the cucumbers and chard, but I’m ignoring them!) I have a friend who is an avid canner, and I know she’s working hard in her kitchen, putting up spiced pears, tomato sauce and pickles. Me? It’s just too hot and the last thing that I want to do is to stand over a hot stove. Thank goodness for my crock pot and freezer. I make “It’s Too Hot’ Tomato Sauce.

Before going out to harvest tomatoes, I turn the crockpot on high, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom, and toss in chopped onion (I didn’t grow onions this year, but did purchase some at a farmer’s market.) My neighbor always shares his garlic crop with me, and I peel and mince (I use a garlic press) about 6 big cloves and add them to the pot. I let this sauté to develop flavor while I go out to the garden to get a trug-full of tomatoes.



I also pick oregano and basil. All get a good washing. The tomatoes have cracks and big stem ends. That’s okay. The trimmings go to the chickens.



I chop the tomatoes and put them into the crockpot. (I leave the skins on.) The herbs are tied with string (for easier removal later) and tucked into the pot. I stir in some good sea salt. Cover. And wait.



Six hours later the tomato sauce is ready for the freezer. I’ll eat it this winter, when I want to add some warmth to my days!



  1. Great idea to use a crockpot on days when it’s hot and humid. No more getting standing over a hot stove getting all sweaty and cranky for me: From now on, I will be making my sauce this way too.

  2. For some reason a lot of people seem to think slow cookers are for winter weather cooking. More friends (and my sister who lives in FL) are converting to year-round use because they appreciate the fact that they can have a hot, healthy meal without heating up the kitchen!

    • Yes, you’re right, Melissa – it’s a very practical year-round appliance. I have used my crock pot in all seasons for cooking meals, and I use it to make my own yogurt every week, but I never thought to use it to make tomato sauce until I read Terry’s post today.

  3. Looks YUMMY!

    Do you add any sugar? I was always told to add sugar to tomato sauce.

    • Many jarred sauces have way too much high fructose corn syrup added, and now people think that tomato sauce should taste sweet. Some classic Italian tomato sauce recipes included a pinch of sugar (or a sweet carrot) to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. It depends much on the type of tomato. I never add it to my basic sauce.

      • Thanks for the response Terry, I’m going to do it your way next time.
        I totally agree about the corn syrup, yuck! it’s in everything!

  4. Terry, thanks for not only chicken knowledge, but culinary advice. The whole house smells so good on this hot dreary day in PA.

  5. This looks so good! I never thought about using my crock pot to make tomato sauce. Thanks for the info!

  6. This is fabulous!!! I will be doing this with my overabundance of tomatoes! Thanks!

  7. Terry, Twiggy seems to be spending a lot of time in the nest box. Is she all right?

    • I don’t think it’s Twiggy you’re seeing in there – I think it’s Betsy, because she’s broody.

  8. gee, terry – perfect timing! . i just came in from my garden w/ a pile of tomatoes that i was thinking i’d have to can and i didn’t want to – way too hot to can today – don’t want to can for jyself, only, either – what’ll i do???
    so i went to my computer, sat down and looked at your piece on freezing tomato sauce and i’m going to do that! will let you know how it turns out. haveall the spices, even – have a nice grocery store that sells oregano, which i love raised my own celery and green peppers – think i’ll add some of that. now i can’t wait to start. more later!

  9. Sounds good, my garden did very bad this year, lost all my zucchini and cukes to that hot july. they just shrivleled up , I was bumming, love zucchini, aiming for next year

  10. Hi All- It’s Betsy the bantam white leghorn, in the nesting boxes. Regardless of her leghorn heritage, she is a bantam, and hence broody! Twiggy does her business quickly and leaves. As far as colorful eggs – I’m working on that post!

  11. Going to try and make this over the weekend. I am so disappointed in my garden this year..last year I had so many tomatoes I froze them like you showed me. My cucumber plant was infested with ants, none of my tomatoes made a tomato worth picking..the tomato worms are out of control, and my peppers all withered on the vine. The tomatoes I have were given to me by a friend who had much better luck than me. :(

    • I have harvested only 3 summer squash, and my zucchini gave me nary a one before it succumbed. You never know with a garden.

  12. This sounds delicious. Do you have any problems with a bitter flavor developing? I have only tried to make sauce a couple of times (with Roma type tomatoes) once with the whole tomatoes, and once with squeezed puree. Both times the sauce had a horrible, bitter undertone. Any thoughts?

    • Some tomato varieties are particularly acidic. Some tomatoes that haven’t ripened on the vine look red but don’t have true tomato flavor. Taste your tomatoes before cooking them so you know what you’re working with. If you start the onions first and let them caramelize, they’ll impart a natural sweetness. Salt helps to balance flavor, too.