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This week, the CSA gave us 5 pounds of beefsteak tomatoes- in addition to about a pound of cherry tomatoes- plus we didn’t even finish all the tomatoes we got last week! Clearly, it’s time to make tomato sauce. We saved the cherry tomatoes for salads and decided to use the large tomatoes for sauce.
Last year, I made tomato sauce in the crock pot. I remember blanching tomatoes then peeling them and putting them in the crock pot, adding onion, garlic, and fresh basil, and letting it simmer overnight. It turned brown before it was done, and it was still thinner than commercial sauce, but still very tasty. I also pureed it with the stick blender before freezing it, since we were planning to use it for making pizza.
Before I had a chance to do any of that, Leah got started on making the sauce herself. After blanching the tomatoes, she sautéed onion and garlic in olive oil in our medium sized soup pot. She peeled, chopped, and seeded the tomatoes while the veggies were sautéing, then added the tomatoes and let it simmer on low-medium heat for a few hours. She got some basil from the garden and added that early in the cooking process. It was covered most of the time, but I left the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape so it would get thicker.
By bedtime, the sauce was done. It was still bright red, and probably as thick as it was going to get. She didn’t want to puree it, as she likes chunkier sauce for eating on pasta and such. I filled one small glass jar with the sauce and put that in the fridge. Then I put the rest into zipper sealed “snack bags.” I put all the little bags into a gallon sized freezer bag and put the whole thing in the freezer. Now we can easily thaw just enough for one bowl of pasta or a few pizzas.
If we get more tomatoes, and I make more sauce, I’ll probably puree the other batches. We mostly used the homemade sauce for pizza last year, and smooth sauce works best for that. I’m not sure if I’ll make it in the soup pot or the crock pot, though. The soup pot seemed to work better, but then I had to handle all of it in one day instead of being able to leave half the project for the next day.
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