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.