Our tomatoes have done really well this year. If the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee move on soon, and the sun ever comes back out, I’ll have a bunch more before it’s all said and done. One of the things I like to do with my tomatoes is make sauce for the winter. I made a giant batch of sauce yesterday, as a matter of fact.
Tomato sauce is a super easy thing to make. If you’ve never done it before, I encourage you to give it a whirl. It’s one of those things you just can’t mess up. I started-out with fresh tomatoes, so they had to be peeled first. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to drop them in boiling water for a minute, or so, and then immediately plunge them into a bowl of cold water. The skins will slip right off. Then I remove the “eye” of the tomato and coarsely chop them. Throw them in your pot, turn the heat up a little to medium, or so, and let them start to cook down. Once they’re relatively mushy, I use the potato masher and mash the tomatoes into a sauce-like consistency. At this point, you can add whatever seasonings you want, in addition to the onion, garlic, sugar, etc. Keep in mind that everything can be adjusted to your taste and you can add whatever vegetables you want, such as carrots, celery, peppers, etc. The options are endless. Here’s my very loose recipe:
Approximately 6 pounds of tomatoes (you can use canned crushed tomatoes if you don’t have fresh)
2 Tbsp. of sugar (this cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and is crucial)
3 Tsp. dried oregano
2 Tsp. salt
2 Tsp. black pepper
3 Tsp. dried basil
2 Tsp. dried parsley
1 finely diced onion
6-7 cloves of garlic
A couple of drizzles of olive oil
Peel and chop tomatoes. Cook on med. heat until mushy and mash down to sauce-like consistency. Add sugar, spices, salt, pepper, onion and garlic. Mix well. Add a couple of drizzles of olive oil, or butter if you dare, to give the sauce a silkier texture. Simmer on low for 4-5 hours, depending upon how thick you want your sauce. (You can also use your crock pot to simmer the sauce!) Cool. At this point, you can use your sauce for dinner or you can divide it into freezer containers and freeze for use during the winter months when nary a fresh tomato is in sight.
The pot of sauce pictured above made approximately three meals worth of sauce that I now have safely stashed in my freezer. (If you get really brave, you could even can the sauce. I’m not that brave yet but I really want to learn how to can at some point.) That’s all there is to it!
Have you stashed away anything from your garden for the long, cold winter months? Let me know!