August 30, 2012

Homemade Tomato Sauce

This is for all you out there who have been slaving away, blanching and peeling your tomatoes to make sauce from your garden tomato harvest (or from store bought tomatoes) - STOP!  You don't need to do that anymore.....I have a much easier way to make sauce, and all it takes is this one kitchen gadget that will change your life forever!

In case you don't know already, this is called a food mill.  This tool will do all the hard work for you.  There's no real "recipe" for this, but I will walk you through the steps.  First, you take out a large sauce pan.  Next, cut all your tomatoes up - for large tomatoes, quarter them then cut each quarter in 1/2 (no need to chop) and for cherry tomatoes, just cut them in half (my sauce is always a mixture of all the different tomatoes I grow).  You can fill the pan right up to the very this:

This is a 6 quart sauce pan, so I fill this to the top, then add 2 tsp of salt (which of course you can leave out if you prefer).  Place it on the stove-top and turn the heat on medium-high.  Let it come to a boil, stir, then lower the heat to medium-low.  Now you want to let it simmer (you don't want to let it boil at a high heat for hours because the flavor can become bitter) for at least two hours, but you can definitely let it go as long as you want - make sure to stir about every 1/2 hour.  What you want is for most of the water/moisture to boil off and evaporate.  The longer it simmers, the more moisture will cook off, and the thicker your sauce will be.  If you only let it go for 2 hours, you may need to add some tomato paste later to thicken it up, but this is all a matter of personal preference.  

Once it has cooked down, you want to turn the heat off.  Take the food mill and place it over a deep bowl, then start spooning your tomatoes into the bowl of the food mill.  Keep turning the handle on the food mill until all the tomatoes are processed through and all that is left are the tomato skins and seeds in the bowl of the food mill, or until no more sauce is coming out the bottom (don't forget to reverse direction a few times so it doesn't get clogged up). 

After you put all the tomatoes through the food mill you will be left with just the sauce, no skins and no seeds!  Now you can add all your herbs, onion, garlic and any other things you want in there.  I make about 4-6 batches of sauce every summer and freeze some of it.  I love pulling it out in the dead of winter.....makes me feel good knowing I can have my homemade sauce even when it's snowing outside.  This whole process has made my life easier, and hopefully now yours too!