Tomato Sauce

I like going into fall with 6 gallons of tomato sauce in the pantry. I add it to stews, I braise with it, make barbecue sauce, chili and, of course, I use it for pasta sauce among many other dishes. With the garden in full production right now I spend everyday harvesting drops and ripe paste tomatoes for the pot.

Tomato Sauce 001These are San Marzano paste tomatoes but I also grow Amish paste, Big Boys, Goliath, Sweet 100s and Sun Gold. When there are more ripe tomatoes than we can eat, they all end up in the pot at one time or another. I use mostly ripe tomatoes but I can’t let a good hard green one get away.

I used to peel the tomatoes and de-seed them before beginning the process of reducing to a thicker liquid consistency. A few years ago I read that the pulp mass surrounding the seeds has excellent flavor and so decided to try a different approach. Now, I simply cut the tomatoes into smaller wedges

Tomato Sauce 002and pitch them into a large pot. To get them boiling faster, I use a potato masher to free up some of the tomato liquids. I leave them to boil for a while, separating the skins from the meat and thickening the liquid.

Tomato Sauce 003In stead of using a moulis or similar device, I use a large tamis that nests nicely in a stainless steel bowl.

Tomato Sauce 004When the skins are soft and the pot simmering away, I scoop out some of the hot tomatoes and push them, using a bench scraper, through the tamis  into the pot below.

Tomato Sauce 005The tomatoes are hot and working in smaller batches saves your fingers from being scalded. The juice and meat go through the screen with the skins and seeds remaining behind.

After scooping out all of the tomatoes you are left with mostly liquid that you pour onto the tamis and will discover that many of the seeds separated during boiling.

Tomato Sauce 006

Once all of the tomatoes and remaining liquid are through the tamis make sure, using a clean bench scraper, to scrap the solid tomato remnants from the bottom side of the tamis.

Tomato Sauce 007You now have clean tomato juice, reduce by gently simmering on top of the stove. I use a 7 pint stock pot and fill it right to the top, after it has reduced 3 or 4 inches I will add the remainder of the tomato juice.

Tomato Sauce 008Once all the juice is in the pot and reduced to the desired consistency, I go until my wooden spoon stands straight up, you are ready to can.

Tomato Sauce 009This batch was 5 pints after processing. I sterilize the jars and lids in a 250° F. oven for 30 minutes. Then I fill a hot pint jar half way with simmering tomato sauce and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice before filling the jar to the top with more tomato sauce. Newer hybrid tomatoes are not always as acidic as the heirloom breeds so I add the lemon juice as a precaution.

Once sealed and the ring tighten down on the lid, I process the filled pints in a 217° F. oven for 12 minutes.








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