We use Barbecue Sauce quite often at our house. Whether it’s on my favorite BBQ Meatballs, over a roast, or for some crock pot chicken, it seems like we are using a good amount each week.
With all the tomatoes I had this summer, I decided to make up some easy freezer packages of BBQ Sauce to grab when we need them. Since the sauce I make does not use any kind of vinegar or acid, I decided to freeze it instead of can it (and I will admit, I was a little tired of canning by the time I made this!).
Fresh Tomato BBQ Sauce
First, I had to make the sauce. To make BBQ Sauce out of fresh tomatoes is slightly more complicated then just dicing up tomatoes, but it can still be done easily!
First, I used my food strainer and ran clean, washed tomatoes through it to collect the sauce. I used the smallest (berry) strainer that it came with so I could also strain out most of the seeds. I love my Roma Sauce Maker. 🙂 Not sure how I did all the work by hand before I got it!
After straining the tomatoes, I added the tomato juice that I had made into a large stockpot. I then added in tomato paste (to thicken it) and our other spices. The sauce simmered over a low heat for about 30 minutes while it thickened up. (For the sauce recipe, I made what I use for our BBQ Meatballs. You could use any spice combination or recipe that your family enjoys, just make sure to add tomato paste to thicken up your sauce.)
Once the sauce had thickened, I let it cool for a while before packaging it.
Freezing BBQ Sauce
For packaging in the freezer, you can use either freezer containers, freezer bags, or jars.
If you are using bags or containers, the main thing to do is to get the sauce completely cooled down before adding it into your container. This way chemicals from the plastic will not leech into your food and/or your freezer bags won’t melt.
If you choose to freeze your sauce in jars, here are a few tips you need to remember…
Use only flat sided jars. Don’t use jars with any kind of shoulder (such as quart jars or regular mouth jars). This will help reduce the jar’s tendency to break in the freezer.
Second, you will want to make sure to leave plenty of room for expansion in the jars as your product freezes. Take a look at the jar above. See the little line? That’s the freezer fill line. Make sure that when you fill up your jar you leave at least that much space (about an inch) between your product and the rim of the jar.
When you place your jar in the freezer, make sure you place it upright and preferably in the door of the freezer so it will freeze a bit slower. You will also want to make sure your product is fully cooled (possibly even refrigerated) before you place the jar in the freezer to prevent any sudden expansion from freezing that will lead to cracking.
When you are ready to use your sauce, simply stick the container from the freezer into the fridge the morning of or the day before you plan to use it in a recipe. You can jump start the thawing process by placing it in a bowl of warm water as well. (But not with the glass jars)
I’m excited to have this base for meals in our freezer for the winter. It will really help shave off some valueable time with meal planning and preparing and I know that we are having the best sauce available since it’s made from our fresh garden tomatoes!
Here’s another great Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe you can try as well.
Have you ever made BBQ Sauce for the freezer? What kind of meal bases do you make ahead of time to freeze?