Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tomato Sauce!

On Friday, I took delivery of my organic produce order straight from the farm.  In this order was:

80lbs of Roma tomatoes
50lbs of sweet onions
22lbs of peaches
20lbs of sweet cherries
10lbs of sweet red peppers

My roma tomato plants had to be ripped out a few months back as they were stunted and withered looking - a disease of some sort had attacked them and as there was no hope of seeing tomatoes on them, out they went.

I do not skin/seed my tomatoes, and I don't remove the stem end unless it's really pronounced and under-ripe.  My easy (lazy?) method for making tomato sauce is as follows:

 1.  Wash tomatoes and slice lengthwise into quarters cutting off the stem end only if it's really obviously green or woody.

2.  Toss tomatoes in good olive oil in a large bowl and season generously with sea salt and pepper.

3.  Lay slices on a large pan and roast in the oven until just starting to turn a bit brown in spots.  This is an extra step that I am willing to do because it adds so much depth of flavour to the sauce.

4.  Dump roasted tomatoes (and liquid) into food processor and whizz until pureed/chopped to your liking.  This only takes seconds!  The skins are nicely chopped up with this method, so you get the extra fibre and don't have to remove them (see, I told you it was the lazy method... ).

5.  Dump tomato puree into a large stockpot and add herbs and spices to taste.  I added lots of dehydrated onion and garlic, basil, oregano, sea salt and pepper and a little bit of sugar to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.  The taste was excellent and very rich - full of flavour!

6.  Pour into clean jars and process for required time at your elevation.  This picture is one of the jars that didn't seal correctly.  You can either re-process them (look online for instructions), or do like we did and pop them in the fridge to use within a few days.

We now have approximately 2 dozen jars of tomato sauce languishing in the pantry which was a full day's work but very worth the time invested. The taste and quality of the sauce is nothing like what you buy at the store (even the expensive gourmet brands).

And.... just to keep it real (lest you think everything goes well for me here at Little Home In The Country) this is a picture of the sour cherries that were given to me by my daughter's friend's family.  I was boiling them down to make cherry syrup (at the same time as making all the tomato sauce) and I got distracted and forgot to stir them, so the whole pot burned and it all had to be thrown out  :(  Such a waste - I'm so annoyed with myself!


  1. I like your tomato sauce recipe!! My mom never peeled them. Next year, if I get enough tomatoes, I will use your recipe. (I will work on getting a food processor too....I always wanted one...I just have a mini one). Sorry about your cherries. I do that alot too! I just burned carrots yesterday! We just have to forgive ourselves..ha.. And I love your farm order. Next year I might join a cooperative that my oldest daughter belongs to. love,andrea

  2. 80 lbs of tomatoes into 2 doz (quart?) jars of sauce.

    We go through canned tomato produces amazingly fast. And I have wondered how many tomatoes it takes to make a quart (or so) of sauce.

    Bummer about the cherries. I just ended up tossing a slew of jalapenos into the compost because they started to mold. I didn't use them fast enough. Argh.

  3. Rachael, there are charts online for calculating how much produce to buy to fill a certain numbers of quart jars. My tomato sauce jars aren't all quarts. I used a lot of jars that held a little over 20oz (store bought pasta sauce jars). Also, it depends how much you add to your sauce in the way of oil, etc and how much water you cook out of the tomatoes... I roasted mine - but not till they were dry - they were wet still. How's that for vague! lol :)