Author Topic: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste  (Read 8301 times)

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« on: June 09, 2010, 03:35:35 PM »
Since I'm now buying the BIG 100 oz+ (<7lb) cans of sauces and pastes I decided to try and determine the best method for storing the extra sauce.  The 3 methods I'll be comparing are 1) refrigerated vs 2) frozen vs 3) jarred sauce. 

I'll do the comparison using Stanilaus Super Dolce Pizza Sauce both in it's native concentrated form and a spiced or seasoned version.  For my review of this sauce (paste) see...http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10910.0.html
 
First off, this is my first experience with jarring anything.  I bought some canning jars and read the directions on the box and compared them to directions I found on the net.  I used the water bath technique and it was not complicated.  Basically bring a pot of water to boil and then simmer for x amount of time based on your altitude.  Allow to cool to room temperature and check that the jar has developed a vacuumed seal after 24h.    I was able to successfully jarr 2 half pint jars of sauce on the first try.

Next I spooned the rest of the sauce into snack size ziplock bags and made sauce with the remaining paste.  This superdolce sauce is super thick and required some diluting with bottle water.  I also decided to season some sauce for a separate experience.

I froze a sample of the basic sauce and my spice sauce for taste testing later. 

It's been a little over a month since I jarred and frozen some sauce so it was time to do a comparison.  I've been slowly using the remaining paste from the fridge diluting it each time.  I've notice each time that there is more of a distinct citricsy taste compare to when I first opened the can but after diluting and adding a few spices, the refridgerated paste makes an great tasting sauce, so no complaints here. 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS after thawing out the frozen sauce and laying each side by side.  The thawed sauce had a brighter color than the refrigerated sauce.  The refrigerated sauce had a bit of a darker color.  The jar sauce had a dark layer on top and a regular red color towards the bottom third.  After mixing the jarred sauce thoroughly and spooning some out, the color was a shade darker than the refrigerated paste.

TASTE: The thawed pasted tasted the freshest.  Then the jarred, and lastly the refridgerated one.  They were all good but side by side it was noticeable. 
 
Thawed VS refrigerated:  Thawed had less of citricsy taste and more like it was when I first opened the can.  The refrigerated paste had more of a stale refrigerated taste if you can imagine that.  Again, I have been using the refrigerated paste for the last month without complaint, but side by side the thawed paste was noticeable "fresher" tasting.

Thawed vs Jarred:  jarred had less of fresh taste and tasted a bit more concentrated.  This may have been due to the temp increase during the jarring process.  When bottle water was added to make a sauce it was harder to tell which one had a better taste.  Both were comparable after dilution with the jarred having a very slight edge over the thawed.    The darker top layer of the jarred paste is likely due to the small amount of air space at the top of the lid.  That air likely oxidized the paste on top.

Refrigerated vs jarred:  The jarred had a better taste than the refrigerated paste.  Not much better but better.  The refrigerated paste had that sort of stale refrigerated taste. 

I also had some spiced sauce that I froze and kept a sample in the fridge.

Thawed spiced vs refrigerated spiced sauce:  The thawed spice sauce taste as though I had made it that day, where as the refrigerated spice sauce had a very off taste to it.  It sort of tasted like over ripened fruit.  Like how an old orange would taste. 

Conclusion:  As far as storing paste and sauces go, freezing is by far the best method followed by jarring and refrigeration last.  I have frozen whole canned tomatoes before with not great outcomes.  Freezing causes the cells to rupture and leeches a lot of water out of the tomatoes.  To store whole tomatoes, it may be best to puree it and make sauce before freezing. 

Refrigerating and jarring sauces work well too but I don't feel it gives the optimum results.  Like I said, b/c the superdolce is a good paste to begin with, I noticed no off taste after it was diluted with bottle water to make sauce in the last month that I've been using it.  Perhaps the small amount of spices I add cover up an off taste. 

I'm also a fan of adding spices as I'm making the sauce to be used right away.  I have done several test to see if sauce taste better the next day and it has not in my experience.   If you like making a big batch of sauce, I highly recommend freezing the unused portion. 

Hopefully I'll be able to find an optimal way of storing canned whole tomatoes or fresh tomatoes. 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 03:46:34 PM by Tranman »


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2010, 03:38:35 PM »
If you look carefully at the thawed sauce and the refrigerated sauce you can see the color difference.  The jarred paste had the darkest color, followed by the refridgerated paste, and then the thawed paste.

Here's a picture of the jarred paste to show the darker layer on top.  Again, I'm not sure what caused that other than the bit of air above the paste.   As far as I know, I had gotten a proper seal and the seal was maintained for the duration of storage until opened. 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 03:47:05 PM by Tranman »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2010, 03:41:23 PM »
Here's a comparison of the thawed paste vs jarred paste.  The thawed one tasted better.  After bottled water was added to each and retasted, they tasted very comparable with the edge slightly leaner towards the jarred.   ???  Not sure why b/c I would have expected the thawed one to be better.  Again both were very similar after dilution. 

For future purposes, I will be freezing my sauces and paste.  Jackitup you were right!!!

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2010, 09:47:50 PM »
Those are the results I thought you would come up with, been so in my experience anyway. Pluses and minuses for all methods but not much can go wrong with freezing and you can be done by the time you sterilize the jars if canning. I'm glad you posted your results, I about forgot you were doing it.
Thanks,
Jon
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2010, 09:55:53 PM »
No problem Jon. I love to give credit where credit is due.  Whole canned tomatoes are a different story. I'll have to find a good method for that. It may be as simple as pureeing it first.

Tran

Offline pwaldman

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2010, 12:02:36 PM »
Tran,

Very interesting and detailed post, it will be very helpful for alot of people.

I do a combination of a couple of your techniques.  Right after I prepare my sauce with spices, I fill small mason jars like the one you pictured.  I have an adapter for my vacuum sealer that I use to seal the jars and then freeze.  Thawing in the refridgerater for 24 hrs when I want to use it, add a little water to thin and it tastes very much like when I first made it.  I've kept it frozen for up to six weeks without problems.  Since I do not cook my sauce this approach keeps it in the original state and removing all of the air prevents most, if not all of the color change you noticed at the top most portion in the jar.  I think you may get better results with the sauce you jarred if you could avoid the hot bath.

Pete W

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2010, 12:26:26 PM »
I agree Pete, vacuum sealing and then freezing may be the best method.   If ppl don't have a vacuumed sealer, freezing in ziplock bags and then into a bigger gallon sized freezer bag will still work great. 

I have one of those infomercial Pump-N-Seals I can adapt to these extra jarrs I have laying around.  I'll try vacuum sealing it with that without the hot bath and comparing that to freezing whole tomatoes.  Thank you for the idea!  Hopefully they stay fresh and I don't get sick.  :-D  If it works it will be a great way of storing left over whole canned tomatoes. 

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2010, 04:33:40 PM »
This is very, very interesting. I was always worried freezing may be weird for tomatoes, but it's nice to find out it's better than refrigeration. Makes everything easier!


Would this work for fresh tomatoes, too? I'm guessing I can just open a can of tomatoes, make a sauce (just pureed for freshest taste, or lightly cooked) and then I can throw it right into a bag and freeze it and have it taste as good?
How do you thaw it? Room temp, microwave?

I'm really looking forward to this. Makes everything a lot easier than making sauce every time I make a pie.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2010, 11:38:15 PM »
Yes it does make it easier but this method works well for sauces and paste.  I have not found this to be true for whole canned tomatoes.  I have only tried it once but it resulted in the extruding of a lot of liquid from the tomatoes. 

I froze a sample of canned whole peeled tomatoes without juice.  Upon thawing, there was quite a bit of liquid in the bag.   I pureed the thawed tomatoes and strained some excess juice out.  Upon sitting for 10min or so I notice more of the water was separating from the solids which seemed unusual.  I know this normally happens anyway but it seemed it was more dramatic possible due to the tomatoes being frozen.  I believe it causes the cells to rupture releasing.  Not sure if it was just the cheap brand of tomatoes I had or if this would happen to any whole tomatoes. 

I don't know about freezing fresh tomatoes either.  Maybe Jon or someone who has done it can speak about it.  If I can successfully grow my own tomatoes this summer,  I plan on par broiling them in the oven to remove the skins and then freezing a batch for testing.  I'll test it against vacuum sealing in jars without the heat to see which method is better. 

Tonight, I pulled out the 2nd jar of jarred sauce and notice it didn't have as dark of a layer on top as the tester jar in the original post.  Not sure the difference, it could have been due to the first jar not be sterilized properly?  I will do a retest in the next week or so as I still have some of the superdolce frozen to see if I get different results from the original test. 

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2010, 08:33:24 AM »
I redid the test between the frozen superdolce paste vs jarred and the results were the same as posted above.  Frozen had a better taste but after spicing it up it was similar.  Both methods work well. I lean more towards freezing but if I didn't have the freezer space I wouldn't have any reservations about canning/jarring.

I just opened up a big can of 6-in-1's and plan to freezing them vs vacuumed sealed + refrigerated for 4 wks.  They'll be jarred but not the traditional way with heat.  After vacuum sealing (sans heat) they'll go into the fridge.   This maybe the best way to store canned whole tomatoes, I'm not sure.

JT
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 08:36:05 AM by Jackie Tran »


Offline kross

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2010, 07:01:07 PM »
Since you won't be heating the jars this time around, how about vacuum sealing in plastic bags like normal?  With plastic bags, you can get much more air out.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2010, 08:31:29 PM »
Kross I don't have a good method for vacuum sealing sauces in bags without getting sauce into the vacuum mechanism.   Unless, I freeze it first, vacuum seal, then let it thaw out in the fridge. Is this what you have in mind?

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2010, 08:55:31 PM »
Best way I have found is ziplock bags. I freeze in 2 cup batches. Add to bag, tip to one side, zip almost shut, squeeze out that last air pocket and zip shut and freeze flat. A vacuum sealer will do NO better on liquid in a bag. They have their advantage with more solid/uneven foods and "pull" the air out from the gaps. No need to use them on liquids, sauces, soups and such in bags. Done like this I have frozen soups and sauces for a year plus with little loss in quality, been doing this for many years.

Jon
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2010, 09:44:52 PM »
Thanks for the tip Jon. I froze some 6 in 1s a few wks back. I took a few frozen bags out and vacuum sealed them in another bag. I got a good seal and now they are thawing in the fridge. Will do the comparison 3-4 wks out. Next time I'll given your technique a try.

JT

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2010, 09:51:11 PM »
Another thing, if you do a price comparison per unit, quart sized Ziploc's (buy them at Sam's in bulk) compared to vacuum seal bags, I think you'll find yourself to be far ahead to go with the Ziplock's. Much less PIA too! Save those pricey vacuum bags for where they will make a difference.
Jon
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2010, 11:31:11 PM »
Thx Jon.  I stopped buying those along time ago. After a week of experimenting I figured out a way to use ziplock bags with the vacuum sealers. ;)

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2010, 02:29:34 PM »
Hey Chau
Much thanks for this experiment, and all your experiments in fact.  I hope to be getting back in the pizza making saddle soon and picking up some of the Stanislaus sauces so the freezing methods you have shared will come in handy for sure.

Wondering how you use your vacum sealer with ziplock type bags?

Also, what did you think of the other Stanislaus sauces besides the Super Dolce?

Thanks
Hog

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2010, 03:45:20 PM »
Hey Hog, thanks for the nice words and good to see you posting again.  It took me a really long time to go through one big can of SD b/c I would have to dilute it down.   I opened up a big can of 6 n 1's and it's going a bit faster since I don't dilute it very much but more than 1/2 way through it.

Having a tough time deciding on what to open next.  The Stanilaus Alta Cucina? Sapparito? The Pizzaiolo? or the La Bella or La Valle plum tomatoes? tough decision huh? ;D  As soon as I get a chance to try them I'll post it up. 

IMO - the 6 n 1's are good but the SD is better for my tastebuds.  The 6 n 1's would probably be perfect for pasta sauces or deep dish. 

Hog,  I made a post about how to use ziplock bags with your vacuum sealer and put it here.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11523.new.html#new

Chau

« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 07:14:56 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2010, 09:12:30 PM »
Opened up the can of La Bella San Marzano (the one with the queen on the label).  These are whole peeled tomatoes in sauce.   I wanted to freeze a few and show the effects of freezing whole peeled tomatoes.  The sauce made straight from the can vs the thawed tomatoes were very similar.  Just as fresh.

Only difference is that frozen, then thawed whole peeled tomatoes do release a bit more water/fluid, which can be strained out.  I think freezing whole peeled tomatoes is an acceptable method for storing extra if you buy the big cans. 

Pic 1 prefrozen whole tomatoes with and without juice from the can.

Pic 2 thawed tomatoes that didn't have juice originally.  You can see the water that has separated from the whole tomatoes.

Pic 3 thawed tomatoes with the juice.
Pic 4 the thawed tomatoes removed from the juice.  I noted that the tomatoes were not as firm as when they first came out of the can.  They were quit softer in texture.

Offline kross

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Re: Best method for storing canned tomato sauces and paste
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2010, 04:01:36 PM »
Do you think it would make a difference if you crushed/ground/pureed the tomatoes before freezing, vs. doing it after thawing?