It’s that time of the year again…

For quite a while now I have been making tomato sauce for the winter larder.  At first the tomatoes were purchased by the case from farmers I knew (I still miss you Ella Bella!) and I would just freeze batches in bags.  Over the years the needs grew and the freezer overflowed so I started trying to can part of the supply.  Now the entire winter supply is canned and the tomatoes (“the girls” as I call them) grow along the side of the house.  It’s been a cool year in these parts (hope the grapes are ok!) so the tomatoes have been slow to ripen but today marks the conversion of the first nine pounds of the season to sauce.  My sauce “recipe” is simple.  A friend gave it to me after a cooking experience in Italy.  By way of necessity (my pots weren’t big enough!) I altered it a bit for mass production.  First I slice the tomatoes up and put them in a medium oven to cook them down a bit.

Besides fitting in my pots the nice thing is you get some caramelization on the tomatoes and the pan.  Be sure to get it all off the pan using some water and a wooden scraper.  It makes the sauce amazing.  Here’s a shot after some time in the oven.

I then put them in a pot with some red onion and a few sprigs of fresh basil.  I also add a little salt but for the most part the sauce is under-seasoned so I can do whatever I want with it later.  After the onions have cooked and softened I break out my trusty food mill.

This is a great and inexpensive tool that really should be part of your kitchen.  You can make incredible mashed potatoes and soups with it and you can use it to take the skin and seeds out of the tomatoes when making sauce.  They are so useful I’m going to insist you go out to your local kitchen supply store and get one right now.  No really, I’ll wait….  Ok, I run everything through and then make sure I reduce to the consistency I like in my sauce which is pretty thick but do whatever you like.  I add 2 tsps of lemon juice to each jar just to be safe and then can in the normal way.  If you haven’t done it I would definitely encourage you to try.  Homemade sauce is amazing and there is something very satisfying about the final product that sits quietly on the shelf until the middle of winter!

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16 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gardening

16 responses to “It’s that time of the year again…

  1. Now I have another gadget to add to my kitchen wish list. And I need to get over my fear of canning. Your sauce looks so good! And I can only imagine how fun that is to open in the dead of winter.

  2. That was a very helpful post, Josh. My neighbor’s garden is overflowing with tomatoes and he keeps giving them to me 🙂 I’ll try your sauce recipe. Thanks. I love my food mill too 🙂

  3. I always mean to do it and forget. I couldn’t work with a “mouli legumes” for pureeing sauces, etc. For mashed potato you should seek out a “potato ricer” which makes unbeatable mash – I’ve got to do a post on it! http://www.potatoricer.org.uk/ – check out the link

  4. What a great way to spend the day in the kitchen, making this fabulous sauce.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

  5. And just like that I’m jealous! I was really hoping to get a second crop… oh well. Those look awesome.

    • I’m worried I’m not going to be able to make our whole supply from just our own tomatoes this year but the good news is you can always get reinforcements from farmers’ markets.

  6. I don’t have that gadget – yet. I love that you make your own tomato sauce for winter.

  7. This looks great! And just what I needed to know to do with all my tomatoes. Plus, I actually DO have a food mill that looks pretty similiar to yours. I’ll have to do this this weekend!

  8. Excellent way of making tomato sauce! I can imagine how tasty your sauce is and the great stock you will have during winter!

  9. Don’t you just love the food mill? I’ve been doing the same process but using the freezer-maybe I need to start canning-I have a little experience, but need some guidance!

  10. Wish we had an ability to ripen tomatoes properly in Ireland! We tend to use the Frankies Spuntino recipe using tinned tomatoes for a sauce, but if we find a load of fresh tomatoes we’ll give this a good go. Cheers 🙂

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