With a garden comes a need to find ways to use up all of the fresh produce.
Because I tend to be an overly ambitious gardener when it comes to planting, I always have lots of extra produce to use. 🙂
This happened with my zucchini this year, and this also happened with tomatoes.
My kids devour all the little cherry tomatoes we pick. My son will occasionally pick up a Roma and eat it like an apple. But that occasional bite of Roma doesn’t use up all that we have growing. I have given some Romas away, and still have a bunch growing in the garden. I don’t really have a taste for eating big tomatoes fresh. I don’t like a slice of tomato on sandwiches or anything like that. I grow Romas simply because I like to use them to make sauce. The tomato sauce made from them can be used as a base for a lot of things: chili, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, enchilada sauce, etc. I have found that by having tomato sauce in the freezer, I hardly ever buy those items at a grocery store anymore.
I happened to have about 8 1/2 pounds of tomatoes sitting on the counter, so yesterday I made tomato sauce.
I don’t know if there’s necessarily a right or wrong way to do it, but here’s what I did:
First get a stockpot of water boiling. Working in batches, add the tomatoes to the boiling water and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool. Once the tomatoes are cool, you should easily be able to remove the skins. (You can do this right away when you take them out, but you will probably burn yourself. Been there….)
You could pierce the skin with a knife and slide it off.
Or, I found that it was faster to just pinch the top and squeeze the flesh out.
Puree the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. (We are not fans of chunky tomato sauce, but if you are, just blend to your desired consistency.)
I got about 13 cups from my 8.5 pounds of tomatoes.
UPDATE: I don’t do this every time, but I find that I like the consistency of the sauce better when I run the blended portion through a strainer to catch all those seeds. The sauce gets soooo smooth.
Once the tomatoes are blended, you are ready to make the sauce. This is incredibly simple.
Here’s my recipe for 13 cups of tomatoes. If you have more or fewer tomatoes, just adjust the seasonings to your taste. This isn’t a scientific recipe. I just used amounts that I thought worked well for my family’s tastes.
- 13-14 cups pureed tomatoes
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. onion powder
- 4 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 4 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- Add all of the ingredients to a stockpot or large saucepan.
- Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for about 3 hours, or until thickened to your liking. Be sure to stir occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn.
Once the sauce is done, let it cool completely. Then it is ready to freeze. I have frozen it in jar before, but I also like to use freezer bags. I add about 2 cups per bag, lay them flat on a cookie sheet, and stick them in the freezer.
The part that takes the longest is taking the skin off of the tomatoes. After that, there’s very little work required.
I like having this sauce on hand. It’s fun to be able to tell the kids that the sauce on their pizza came from the garden, from the tomatoes that they helped pick. 🙂
Have a great fall!