Bird in Hand Farm

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Canning Tomato Sauce

We don't eat many raw tomatoes.  A few, but not enough to keep up with the garden.  As they ripen on the window sill, I hull them, slice them in half and toss them into a bag in the freezer.  Then on a late August day when we have no where to go, I make sauce.

There are a million sauce recipes out there.  This is not one of them.  This is more about what I have learned over the past several years of making sauce.

1. You can add onions, peppers, garlic, etc to your recipe and it does not matter that much because when you are ready to cook with the stuff, you are adding ingredients then.  I decided to be a purist this year and go for a pure tomato taste.

2. Using several different types of tomatoes makes for a better sauce.  I think the chef people would talk about subtlety and complexity of flavor profile.  I think it tastes better.  That and we did not eat the cherry tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes from the CSA so they got frozen and put into the mix.

3. Many canned tomato sauce recipes come out too thin.  Or you need to boil forever...  Last year we cheated and added tomato paste.  It worked.  This year I tried different approaches to cut down the fluid levels.

The first thing I did was defrost the tomatoes overnight in colanders.  I put pot lids on top of the tomatoes and weighted them down with some cans.  Overnight they dripped out 3+ quarts of tomato juice!  I am bringing the juice to a boil and will freeze it for use in place of chicken broth in recipes.

The second thing I am doing is roasting the raw tomatoes.  I cut the Romas  in quarters and drizzling some olive oil over them.  Then I baked them at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 min.  Some I left in the oven with the oven turned off to further dehydrate.  It cut way down on the fluid content and I'm hoping will add a nice flavor to the finished sauce.

4.  I did not measure or weigh the tomatoes.  I just kept going until the big stock pot was full.

5. The moment people find out that you do any sort of home canning, they will bring you jars.  Lots of jars.  They cannot bear to throw them out, but most people don't can.  Check them for chips around the rim.   I will probably never need to buy a jar again.  Lids and rings, yes.  But we have a lifetime supply of jars.

This time we got 5 and a half quarts of sauce.  I'm happy.


  1. Yum! You'll have fresh tasting sauce long after fresh, local tomatoes are gone! Jealous.

  2. You don't blanch the tomatoes before you freeze? Just slice and freeze? I need to do that....