There’s been an overflow of tomatoes in the Frog & PenguINN garden this year, so making fresh tomato sauce has been a regular kitchen project the past couple of weeks.
There are many recipes on how to make a great tomato sauce. My mother used to do home canning and I learned from helping her. Then, a couple of years ago, Grenville and I canned some jars and learned that: (1) it’s very time-intensive and (2) LOTS of tomatoes are needed to make a significant number of jars. Our result was 12 jars after many hours of work. This year, I’ve been making fresh tomato sauce, however, this time we’re freezing it.
Here’s the method I’ve been using.
Boil a pot of water. While it’s heating, score the bottom of each tomato with an “X.” When the water boils, carefully drop the tomatoes into the water until the skin loosens – usually less than 30 seconds.
Remove tomatoes from water and cool. Repeat until all tomatoes have been put in the pot. Once cooled, peel away the skins and de-seed the tomatoes by pressing them in your hands. Place a thin mesh strainer over a bowl to captures the juices. These are later added to the pot when the tomatoes are cooking.
Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil. Finely dice up several garlic gloves, onion, pepper, fresh basil and oregano (if available; use dried if not) and a couple of carrots (something read about that adds sweetness to the sauce.
Sauté until veggies are softened. Not only will the veggies be very colorful, but the kitchen will smell just like an Italian restaurant. After the veggies and herbs have cooked awhile and softened, add tomatoes and simmer for a couple of hours until the tomatoes have broken down. I usually add a 1/2 can of tomato paste and the reserved tomato juice during this cooking process.
After simmering for a couple of hours, cool the tomatoes, then use an immersion blender to make into a smooth sauce – or leave chunky – if you prefer.
What if I don’t have any fresh tomatoes?”
When that happens to us in the winter months, I open 2 – 3 cans of crushed tomatoes, add onions, garlic and herbs and cook as above. Usually, I don’t need to puree this mix.
It’s better than opening a jar of sauce.