Those of you who grow several tomato plants every summer will be no stranger to the image below. It is that time of year in the northern hemisphere when the tomatoes keep coming, and coming, and coming. It is what we planned when we sowed all those seeds and said yes to the seedlings our friends didn’t have room for. This year I ended up with 18 plants. I am not sorry.
Last year I started making my own basic tomato sauce and keeping it in the freezer for sauces, meatloaf, soups, etc. Any time a recipe calls for a can of tomato sauce, instead of fishing out the can opener, I go to the freezer. The sauce I make is simple, just tomatoes, salt, and sugar. It can be fancied up later depending on what dish I will be using it in. I have also roasted and dried tomatoes to store in the freezer, but find that the basic sauce is the most versatile. Summer is a busy time and I need easy to get it done. Here is what I do:
1. Fill up a large pot with clean, whole tomatoes. I use a 5 1/5 quart pot. Fill with just enough water to cover the tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
2. As soon as the water starts to boil, turn the heat off and let cool for a while. After the tomatoes are cooled pass them through a food mill. I use the finest setting so that few seeds make it through.
3. Return the tomato liquid back to the pot. Add salt and sugar to taste. Remember you can always add more later. I usually add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar when beginning with a full pot of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook down until you reach your desired consistency.
4. Let cool and then fill containers for freezing. Don’t forget to label your containers and include the date.
5. Make a note of how much tomato sauce you made (something I did not do). This way you will know when you’ve made enough (or too much) to take you through until next summer.