One of the great things about having a garden is the ability to grow incredible ripe summer tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes that you actually want to eat! Tomato sauce so tasty, your grown kids might want to come over for dinner!
First of all, I would like to say that tomato sauce from scratch is probably a lot easier to make than you might think. And I might add that the taste is far, far, superior! You might even imagine you are in Italy.
When your husband drops eight pounds of fresh, vine picked tomatoes on the counter in the morning, you know you have your work cut out for the next while. They truly are a beautiful sight and it gives me the greatest satisfaction when I am finished. I usually leave the tomatoes for a day or so just to make sure they are super ripe and juicy. I keep telling myself I am going to be so thankful come January when I pull out a bag from the freezer with my amazing tomato sauce all ready to be used. I truly am grateful and do not complain most days about my garden, but why does it have to ripen all at once? 🙂
I discovered the most wonderful gadget at our local thrift store a few months back . It is an Italian Tomato Press or as the package proudly declares “Il Passatutto Master.” Wow, what a bargain for $5.99! I must confess though when I came home with it I thought, “Oh no Debbie, another gadget to take up more cupboard space”. How wrong I was! I love it! In a few minutes, my little hand-crank press has seeded and removed the skins of the tomatoes. So, if you have a lot of tomatoes and happen to see one looking lonely on a thrift store shelf buy it!
THIS IS HOW I MAKE MY TOMATO SAUCE:
It isn’t very complicated. First, I rinse off the tomatoes and cut them in half. Then I place them in a large stockpot and without adding water turn the heat to medium-high. You may need two large pots. The tomatoes will begin to release liquid. Try not to stir more than a couple of times because it’s best to keep the tomatoes from getting mushy. When the pulp has started to soften and the clearer liquid is coming up the sides of the pot, remove from the heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a large colander set inside a large bowl. This will collect the remaining juices (do not throw this liquid out; use it along with the liquid in the stockpot to make soup) and keep the sauce from getting too watery.
After a few minutes, pass the tomatoes through the press following the directions that are given on the tomato press. Place the seeds and skins into your compost bin.
Drain the clear liquid from the stockpot and save to make soup ( reducing this liquid on the stove turns it a lovely red colour and has loads of flavour). If necessary rinse out the stockpot, and transfer the tomato puree back into it. Bring to a simmer using medium-high heat and cook down for 1-1 1/2 hours. Cooking the sauce too long will result in losing the fresh flavour. I add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, along with salt and fresh basil to my sauce. Sometimes I also add garlic and a bit of dried oregano. That way it’s all ready when I take it out of the freezer for pizza sauce or whatever recipe I make.
Let the sauce cool to room temperature, then pour 2 cups into a medium-sized freezer bag for pizza sauce or 4 cups of sauce or more into a larger bag. These can be stacked on top of one another in the freezer to save room.
If you like this recipe you may also want to check out my Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato recipe.
- 8 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, preferably organic
- 1 or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or according to your taste
- garlic, onion, basil, oregano may be added to the sauce if desired.
- Remove stems from tomatoes and wash if not organic, otherwise rinse off and
- cut tomatoes in half.
- Place the tomatoes in a large stock pot and simmer on the stove without water added for 15-20 minutes on medium-high heat. Stir a few times without disturbing the tomatoes as much as possible. If the tomatoes are large it may take longer. You want to be able to see clear liquid coming up the sides of the pot.
- Turn off heat and place tomatoes in a large colander to drain into an another pot or bowl. You will want to save this clear liquid for making soup.
- After 10 minutes of draining, transfer tomatoes to tomato press (or a food mill) and follow the direction that came with the press or food mill.
- Remove the clear liquid from the stockpot and save. The stockpot may need to be rinsed out. Place the tomato sauce back into the pot and add lemon juice, salt, basil or other herbs or garlic, and simmer on med-high heat for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Be careful not to simmer too long or the tomatoes will lose their fresh flavour.
- Turn off heat and let the sauce come to room temperature. Pour into medium sized freezer bags using around 2 cups per bag (or more for large amounts). Remove air from the bag and freeze. Keeps for three or four months.