Preparing some fresh and yummy tomato sauce at home not only takes effort, but also a great deal of time. And that’s why it’s important to have that sauce last for a reasonable while. Putting things in the fridge and witnessing something different in texture and flavor super soon is surely a disappointment.
So, if you are wondering how long does homemade tomato sauce last, here’s all you need to know to get the longest shelf life for your tomato sauce.
How long does homemade tomato sauce last?
Homemade tomato sauce can last 3-4 days in a cold pantry, and up to a week in the fridge. You must keep it in an airtight container and make sure you use a clean spoon whenever you take some out of the jar.
You can extend the shelf life by freezing it. Tomato sauce can last up to a year in the freezer, as long as you leek it in an airtight container. Be sure to freeze it in small portions, so you only take out as much as you need at a time.
Does homemade tomato sauce go bad ?
Yes, homemade tomato sauce can surely go bad as it’s highly acidic. The reason behind the same is the high ranking of tomatoes on the pH scale. Tomato sauce is likely to build up bacteria and turn bad if not stored properly or kept for too long.
However, tomato sauce doesn’t just change super quickly, which is why some people find it difficult to spot the differences when the sauce is spoiled as it undergoes a gradual change.
You will first notice while mold growing around the top of the sauce. It’s best to throw out the entire jar if that’s the case. There are some folks who scrape out the mold and the top layer of the sauce, and continue using the rest.
The problem is that the mold spores are already in the jar, and it will continue to grow. This happens whether you keep it in the fridge or not.
Read also: How To Thicken Tomato Sauce
How to tell tomato sauce has gone bad
Ideally, homemade tomato sauce will be a bright red color or it may look slightly orange, depending on the variety of the tomatoes. The color is going to be the very first sign to look for in determining whether the sauce has spoiled.
If your tomato sauce seems to have developed a bold red or maroon hue, it has started to go bad. When you open the container wherein you have put the sauce, you’ll be able to spot a contrast in color when you notice the very center of the sauce.
The absolute middle might sometimes resemble the color that the sauce had while you were preparing it, but the edges of the same will turn into a darker shade as it all works inwards.
If the sauce exhibits a change in colors but only in the form of a thin halo around the inner edge of the container, you can still have a few hours to eat until the tomato sauce goes bad.
However, when you can notice a strange white fuzz growing on the sauce’s surface or in the container’s edges, it’s time to throw away the sauce as it has developed mold.
Cool the tomato sauce before refrigerating
You can’t just keep warm or hot tomato sauce in the refrigerator while it’s right off the stove. When you finish cooking your sauce, allow it to reach a temperature lower than 140 F before refrigerating it.
This is essential as rapid cooling in the refrigerator targets the exterior of the sauce first, while the inner sections are either hot or very warm. Warmer food tends to spread newborn bacteria to the cold sauce around, thereby molding quickly.
You actually reduce the risk of spoilage by letting the temperature gradually lower over 30-40 minutes at room temperature. If you are preparing big pots of tomato sauce, get a cooling stick that you fill with water and freeze.
Use that stick to stir the sauce for a few minutes to bring down the temperature of the tomato sauce. This will also help you put it in the refrigerator quicker.
Another option is to use your sink (if the pot is small enough). Plug the sink, and fill it halfway with cold water, and add some ice if you can. Place the tomato sauce pot in the icewater, and stir continuously for about half an hour.
It won’t get ice cold, but it will get to room temperature, as long as you keep stirring all of it will be the same temperature.
How to store homemade tomato sauce
Tomato sauce can last longer if you keep it right. Store the sauce in an airtight container. You can go for a glass jar with a tight lid, some Ziploc bags or Tupperware.
This works wonders in limiting oxidation occurring from the sauce being exposed to air. Even when you store the sauce in the fridge, the appliance pumps air in and out with a vent, which leads to rapid oxidation that can spoil the tomato sauce 40% faster.
That’s why it’s very essential to go for an airtight storage container, and if using a jar add a very thin layer of olive oil on top. This will act as a barrier between the tomato sauce and air, preventing oxidation.
If there’s no Tupperware on hand, you can use clingfilm or aluminum foil to cover the pot tightly. You can store the sauce with this method for about 24 hours before transferring it into a sealed container.
And if using a Ziploc bag, be sure to remove as much air from the sauce as possible. In fact, if you’re keeping the sauce in the freezer this may be the best option.
Put the sauce in small bags, or as much as you know you need for a portion, remove the air, seal it, and keep the bags in the freezer.
How long can homemade tomato sauce last in the fridge and freezer ?
Always make sure you cool your tomato sauce within two hours of cooking it. Store it in the fridge or freezer as soon as you can. You can, of course, store it in airtight jars in a cold pantry, but it must keep cold year-round.
The cooked tomato sauce will last up to a week in the fridge if it is stored the right way. If you have thawed the sauce in the fridge before cooking, you can keep it there for up to 4 days before you actual head to cook it.
If you choose to thaw it in microwave or water, it should be used immediately as it’s likely to develop mold and bacteria much faster.
If you are looking out to store your homemade tomato sauce for a very long time, you can go for putting it in the freezer using a freezer-safe container.
This way, it will retain its authentic flavor for even up to 12 months. Whenever you want to use the sauce again, just get it out of the freezer and put it at room temperature for a few hours for defrosting before using it.
Again, remember to use smaller portions when freezing tomato sauce. It will spoil very quickly if you keep taking out a big container, defrosting it, taking out as much as you need, and then freezing it back.
Read Also:Plum Tomatoes VS Roma Tomatoes
How long does homemade tomato sauce last in a jar?
Tomato sauce cooks super quickly with just water and heat, and it can last for a very long time if canned and stored. It’ll have its peak flavors for about 24 months after canning, and will be totally alright to eat for about 5 years if properly kept.
Tomato sauce can rightly be termed as the chief sauce in the US and many other countries when it comes to preparing some staple dishes. The good thing is that it lasts well and stocking up on the same is usually not a problem.
All it takes is to store it well, and you will not only eat healthier and fresher but also cut on the extra cost otherwise spent on store-bought alternatives.