How to store homemade tomato sauce?

In this article, we will look into “how to store tomato sauce at home?” Also, we will see how to easily prepare tomato sauce at home and how long it can be stored. 

How to store homemade tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce is made from tomato concentrate containing 8 to 24% tomato solids (excluding seeds and peels), and usually containing flavorings such as salt, onion or garlic powder, herbs and flavorings (1). Tomato sauce can be easily prepared at home and can be stored too using sterilized glass containers, using a freezer or mimicking a commercial canning process at home.

How to make tomato sauce at home?

Before storing sauce, we need to know how to prepare tomato sauce at home. If you want you can follow this guide or directly skip to storage. But we have some helpful tips that might increase the shelf life better, better not miss those. The USDA prepared a guide to instruct on how to make tomato sauce, ketchup and other tomato goods, in which are recipes and recommendations for safe canning and storage (2).


  • 15 pounds of ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ or ½ a cup of lemon juice or vinegar or ½ or 1 tsp of citric acid
  • 2 tsp salt


  • In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, boil water over high heat.
  • Prep your tomatoes by making an ‘X’ on the bottom of the tomatoes and also core out the stems with the help of a knife.
  • In a large bowl prepare an ice bath with cold water and some ice.
  • When the water starts to boil in a Dutch oven or stockpot, working in batches, start dropping your tomatoes in it carefully and wait till the skin wrinkles up and splits, taking about 40-60 seconds.
  • Immediately remove with the help of a slotted spoon and place in the pre-prepared ice bath.
  • When all tomatoes are blanched and brought back to room temperature, peel them.
  • Using a food processor, pulverize the tomato to a smooth paste or chop it with the help of a knife.
  • Empty the Dutch oven and pour the chopped/paste of tomatoes in it.
  • Simmer the pot over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning or getting hot spots.
  • After 30 – 90 minutes when the sauce reaches desired thickness and taste, stir in ¼ cup of lemon juice or vinegar or ½ tsp of citric acid.
  • Add salt too.
  • Stir and taste.
  • This ¼ cup of lemon juice/vinegar/ ½ tsp of citric acid ensures that the acidity levels are safe for canning and the sauce remains preserved for a longer duration.
  • If needed, add in the remaining lemon juice/vinegar/citric acid.

Tomatoes for many years were considered high acid. However, new varieties, over-mature fruits, and tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines may have a pH greater than 4.6. The USDA and University-based researchers have determined that to ensure a safe acid level for boiling water canning of whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes. Vinegar can lead to undesirable taste changes (2).

How to store tomato sauce?

We got the goods aka our homemade fresh tomato sauce. Now how should we store it to ensure it does not go bad or it doesn’t start tasting funky and it remains as it is. Following are some ways that can ensure no compromise in quality.

Sterilized glass jars

You can place your airtight, washed glass jars in boiling water. This makes sure that the inside and outside of your can is clean and free from any microorganisms completely. Dry the glass jars before pouring your liquid.

Pour your prepared cooled tomato sauce using a spoon and funnel and replace the caps on. This can be stored in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks.


Wash, sterilize and dry your ice trays. Scoop around a tablespoon of each cube of sauce in the whole ice tray. Using saran wrap, wrap the tray and place it in the freezer. After its frozen, remove the saran wrap and fish out the cubes in a Ziploc bag and freeze again.

Use according to your need. But one cube is equal to 3 medium-sized tomatoes. This can be stored for up to a month or a month and a half in the freezer with no dominant changes.

Homemade canning

Canning ensures that the product lasts longer than any other preserving technique. For this purpose, you can use glass jars like previously.

Start with washed jars and place them in boiling water for ten minutes. After this allow the jars to cool off.

Using funnel and spoons pour the sauce in jars, leave around ½ inch of space on top and place the lids on. Place these filled jars back in boiling water making sure that an inch on top of the lids is covered with water.

Boil for around 40 minutes to ensure that the sauce also heats up in the process. After 40 minutes take the jars out and let them cool to room temperature. This can be stored for 6 months to a year in a cool dark place but once you open the jar make sure you use all of it or use a clean washed spoon and place it in the fridge for next use.

However, studies indicate that quality loss of tomato sauce during storage occurs, depending on temperature storage. Increased rate of enzymatic reactions and increased microbial growth were observed in tomato products stored especially at ambient temperature. Even at refrigerated temperatures, these losses were determined to be extensive, after 8 weeks. The sensorial quality was maintained for 2 weeks. The antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for the red color of tomatoes, can degrade during storage due to oxidation. Flavor and texture also changes due to hydrolysis of the pulp. Also the vitamin C content decreases drastically and microbial growth, especially of acid resistant bacteria and yeast, is possible (1,3).

 If you want to have a deeper insight on canning at home, please refer here or here.

Other FAQs about Tomatoes that you may be interested in.

Are tomatoes acidic? 

Are canned tomatoes already cooked?

How do you peel a tomato?


In this article, we have looked into how to store tomato sauce at home? Also, we have seen how to easily prepare tomato sauce at home and how long it can be stored.

Hope you found this guide helpful, any questions or comments will be appreciated.


  1. Nkhata, Smith Gilliard, and Emmanuel Owino Ayua. Quality attributes of homemade tomato sauce stored at different temperatures. Afr J Food Sci, 2018, 12, 97-103. 
  2. Andress, E. Resources for Home Preserving Tomatoes, 2018, National Center for Home Food Preservation
  3. Panahi, Elnaz, et al. The Quality Parameters Of Tomato Paste Stored In Containers Robby In Comparison With Conventional Ways Of Cold Storage, 2020.