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This week’s post will earn you the “Homemaker of the Year” award from your family!
Last week, a good friend offered me some heirloom tomatoes from her grandfather’s garden. I came home with a 1/2 bushel of juicy, ripe tomatoes. What to do with all these garden goodies? Make spaghetti sauce of course! I’m going to share my “recipe” for sauce, and some tips you’ll need along the way. (tips are in red, in case you’re skimming)
Warning: You may not want to make this, because I guarantee you will never enjoy commercial tomato sauce as much, ever!
1. First, peel the tomatoes. Have you ever tried to peel tomatoes? Yeah, me too. So here’s what you do:
- Boil some water in a large pot, like a dutch oven or a soup pot.
- Put the tomatoes in and blanch for about 3 minutes, or until you see little splits in the skin.
- Take them out with a slotted spoon, and put in a colander in the sink.
- Rinse with cool water, and let sit till they’re cool enough to handle
- Peel away! The skins should come right off.
2. Chop the peeled tomatoes, put them into the large pot, and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, simmer for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are liquid-ish. You may have to mash them a little with a potato-masher.
4. Add all other ingredients. I am not a precise measurer when I cook, especially Italian food. So you may have to experiment a little to get the taste you want. If you want exact amounts, look up a recipe in a cook book, but here’s mine:
- This is for about 1/2 bushel of tomatoes
- 4-5 cans of tomato paste, depending on the thickness you like
- 1 onion, lightly sauted
- 3 green peppers, lightly sauted
- lots of garlic (the jars of oil-packed garlic is fine if you don’t want to chop it. I hate chopping garlic!)
- Italian seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, thyme, etc)
- about 1/2 cup sugar
- salt and pepper
Here’s a tip for getting all the tomato paste out of the can: open both sides of the can with a regular can opener, then push one lid through to the other side. The lid scrapes the sides as you go! This also works for cream soup and cranberry jelly.
5. Let simmer for another 30-45 minutes, until the flavors combine well. Keep tasting, you’ll know!
6. Can the sauce in a water bath or pressure cooker. Don’t have a canner? Freeze it in plastic containers or bags. When you’re canning, if you need a wide-mouthed funnel, cut the top off of a milk jug or juice bottle.
Enjoy! You will not regret the extra time it takes to make this sauce!
Are organic or vine tomatoes too expensive in your store? Check out your local farmers market or produce stand. Many times, they will give you a discount if you buy a 1/2 or whole bushel. I watch my local produce stand for when they are about to go bad, and then ask if I can have the whole box at a discount.
If you read my post last week on Harris Teeter and the Grocery Game, I must brag tell you that today, I got $172.57 worth of groceries for $83.81