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Stewed Tomatoes - Homemade Italian-style stewed tomatoes are easy to make with fresh garden tomatoes and are delicious on their own, or as an addition to other recipes.

I mentioned yesterday that we just came home from an end-of-summer vacation and when we got home, we found our garden over-run with ripe tomatoes!   Over the weekend alone, we picked more than 40 pounds (wow!) of various varieties including cherry and grape, Roma, baby plum, Sun Glow, Big Girl, Big Boy and Beefsteak.

So – in addition to enjoying some simple fresh tomato sandwiches  (YUM!) and salads, as well as giving some tomatoes away to our neighbors, we’ve been working on some quick and easy tomato recipes to share here on A Family Feast – like today’s Stewed Tomatoes!

Stewed tomatoes are a great way to cook with fresh tomatoes that are just a little too over-ripe to eat in other dishes! In fact, when my husband Jack worked in food service management years ago – his staff made these stewed tomatoes many times and they are great served as a hot vegetable alongside almost any entrée of the day. (We also love adding stewed tomatoes to this family recipe!)

Stewed Tomatoes - Homemade Italian-style stewed tomatoes are easy to make with fresh garden tomatoes and are delicious on their own, or as an addition to other recipes.

You can use pretty much any variety of large, ripe tomatoes or plum tomatoes in this recipe (we like a mix of both) and they are cooked until tender along with onion, celery, bell peppers, jalapeño pepper – plus a variety of fresh herbs including parsley, basil and mint, as well as touch of sugar, salt and red pepper flakes.

These stewed tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days – or you can freeze them in zipper seal bags for up to six months and enjoy the fresh taste of summer tomatoes once colder weather arrives!

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Stewed Tomatoes - A Family Feast

Stewed Tomatoes

  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3 quarts


A Few Notes: Once the tomatoes are peeled and seeded, the yield will be 2 quarts (64 ounces) including liquid. The hardest part of this recipe is preparing the tomatoes. Once they are done and the vegetables chopped, the cooking process is only 20 minutes. When this recipe is finished and cooled, it freezes very well in zip lock bags with all the air squeezed out. Depending on the type of plum tomatoes you have, some have few seeds and the skin is not that tough so if you wanted, you could just cut them into thick slices and leave the seeds and skin on. The larger tomatoes however do need to be skinned and seeded. Finally, this recipe can easily be cut in half or doubled depending on how many tomatoes you have. We list the total volume of the cleaned tomatoes in the event you wanted to make this using canned whole tomatoes in place of fresh. Cooking times would remain the same.


  • 5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
  • 2 pounds ripe large tomatoes, any variety
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups medium diced onion
  • 1 ½ cups medium diced celery
  • 3 cups medium diced bell pepper (green or red or a combination is fine)
  • 1 large jalapeño, seeded and stemmed and diced fine
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a large bowl with ice water and a spider or strainer standing by. Also have a tray ready for when you remove the tomatoes from the ice bath.
  2. Pull the stem off each tomato and make an X on the bottom of each.
  3. A few at a time, drop the tomatoes into the boiling water. After a minute or so, you will see the skins pull away from the X. With the spider or strainer, remove to the ice bath and then to the waiting tray. Repeat for all tomatoes adding more ice as needed.
  4. Place the tray of tomatoes on your counter and have a bowl with a strainer and a second bowl standing by. One at a time, pull the skin and place in strainer. Hold the tomatoes over the strainer as you seed them. For Roma, dig into the sides and scrape the seeds out, letting the seeds fall into the strainer. Pull the green inner stem and place with the seeds. Place the meat of the tomato into the other bowl. For the large tomatoes, after skinning, cut them in half on the horizon and reach in each half and scrape out the seeds letting them fall into the strainer. Pull the green hard inner stem out and place with the seeds. Place the meat in the bowl with the Roma’s.
  5. Once all the tomatoes have been cleaned, squeeze the seeds and skin to get every last bit of juice or pulp through the strainer. Discard seeds and skin. The liquid in the bowl can now be added to the tomato meat in the other bowl. You should have about two quarts. There is no need to cut the tomatoes any further (the larger the better)
  6. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, place olive oil, onion, celery, bell peppers, jalapeno, parsley, basil, mint, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes. Sauté mixture for 10 minutes.
  7. Add tomatoes, bring back up to a low boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes. (Try not to break up the tomatoes too much while stirring)
  8. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve, refrigerate for up to four days or freeze in zip lock bags for up to six months.

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  • Lynne wrote:

    A few years ago I bought a flat of tomatoes and made my own sauce, similar to your recipe. The problem was, it did not look at all appetizing…they were not the kind of red color I expected, also, the taste was not exceptional although I think your recipe would have helped. I did notice tha t all of the tomatoes in the flat looked like clones of each other, and I wondered if this was why, when cooked, they looked almost pink. What do you think?

    • Jack wrote:

      First, most commercial tomato sauces have red dye in them to make them look rich and dark. The one’s that don’t, add tomato paste to get that deep red look. Additionally, the water content of the tomatoes will dilute the red and make the finished sauce look pink. In most cases, I try to use San Marzano tomatoes when making sauce, either canned or fresh (They look like a large pear shaped plum tomato). The years that I have grown my own San Marzano tomatoes and made fresh sauce, the only way I could get the sauce darker in color is with canned tomato paste.
      I assume the flat of tomatoes you bought were plum tomatoes, those grow very uniform in size but the quality varies. I have used plum from my own garden or from a farm stand and achieved different results than using plum from a supermarket. The supermarket tomatoes seemed to have a lot of water (guessing so they weigh more at checkout). By the time I cooked those down, there wasn’t much left.
      Canned tomato paste is your friend when making sauce with fresh tomatoes. It helps thicken, gives a nice deep red color and is packed with tomato flavor.
      Good luck,

  • Diane M. Mitchell wrote:

    Thank you for this recipe! I am so grateful you used pounds as measurements! I had 25 pounds of different variety from my garden and most recipes say something like use 6 big tomatoes. 🤔 I followed the amounts in your recipe, tripled. My first 7 quartz came out of the roaster oven and into pressure cooker. Thats my Italian stewed tomatoes. Then added jalapeño, red pepper flakes, cayene, and chili powder to the remaining concoction, stewed that while i canned the first batch. For 7 more quartz! And all of it is yummy. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow Diane – what a nice harvest! Glad you enjoyed the recipe and the spicier adaptations sound delicious!

  • Tex E Hunter wrote:

    I dont care for mint in your recipe. But at least you had one. Farmer Girl says her recipe was the best, only there was never a recipe I could find. Ms Tex Hunter

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Tex – Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback. Mint is often used in Italian tomato recipes, but if you didn’t like it, feel free to leave it out. I hope you find your long-lost recipe!

  • Tracie Harris wrote:

    This is the recipe I have been looking for. I winter in Mexico where Romas are in big abundance
    and we can not find canned whole or stewed tomatoes in our small village.
    The other six months are spent in the Yukon Territories in Northern Canada, where I have been growing heritage tomatoes for 45 years. What a treat this will be at harvest time to be able to freeze
    this recipe in zip lock bags and have fresh stewed tomatoes in April (just as my seedlings are
    sprouting.) Thank you for sharing

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Tracie – hope you love the recipe!

  • Courtney wrote:

    Yum can I come over?! 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Anytime Courtney – and we’ll send you home with a tray of fresh tomatoes so you can make your own batch at home! 🙂

  • Thalia @ butter and brioche wrote:

    this is a great way to use up tomatoes.. i have a couple of punnets in the fridge that need to be used so i definitely will be making the recipe. thanks for the idea.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Thalia!

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