RECIPE BY LEANDRA ROUSE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAM EMMONS
There is a world of difference between homemade and canned tomato sauce—from flavor to nutrition and price. You do not need to be a canning expert to make a versatile tomato sauce.
Today we share one of our favorite preserved vegetables: sun-ripened tomato sauce. The beginning of fall is the perfect time to purchase very ripe (and nutritious and very tasty) tomatoes at a discounted price. These extra juicy fruits make the best sauce and are a staple in home-cooked healthy eating. This end-of-season tomato sauce will bring tangy tomato flavor and nutrition into your cooking throughout the year.
Visit your local farmers market and ask about purchasing a flat of overly ripe tomatoes. These are often available at a discounted price and the ripe flavor is perfect for turning into a flavorful and nutritious tomato base. This recipe is for a simple and versatile sauce. So whether you are making your favorite tomato based pasta, curry, or soup, this is a base you can take in many directions.
To make a smooth sauce (without all the work of peeling tomatoes), a food mill is a fantastic tool to invest in to create consistency. However, a strong blender can get you close.
To store the tomato sauce, use either glass mason jars, deli containers, ziplock freezer bags, vacuum sealer bags. Other more sustainable and convenient options include silicon soupers. Remember to only fill the container only 3/4 of the way to the top to leave room for liquid expansion. A great tip for maximizing valuable freezer space is freezing in bags in a flat position and then once solid, storing upright. Additionally, freezing a batch in ice cube trays means you will have tomato concentrate on hand to boost any recipe. Choose the storage method that best fits your kitchen capacity and family’s needs.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large white onion
5 garlic cloves
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeds discarded
15 cups super-ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped (approximately 10 lbs)
2 bay leaves
To begin, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, be careful not to let the oil smoke. Dice the onion into ½ inch pieces. Add the onion into the pan, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Finely chop the garlic and put aside. Cube the bell peppers into ½ inch pieces. Add the garlic and bell peppers to the onion in the pan. Cook all of the ingredients together for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until soft.
Chop the tomatoes into quarters and add to the pan. Stir all ingredients well and reduce the heat to a simmer or about one hour, partially covered and stirring occasionally. The total volume should have reduced by ¼ to ½. If the sauce looks too dry, water can be added ½ cup at a time.
Turn off the sauce and let it cool to room temperature. The sauce is now ready to use in your favorite recipe, like pasta, topping a pizza or in a stew or casserole. If freezing, transfer the sauce to your choice of container and freeze.
If frozen, when ready to use remove the frozen sauce from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for approximately 1 to 3 hours or microwave on the defrost function. Heat on the stove and use as a base in your favorite tomato recipe.
Makes 8 pints or 40 servings. ½ cup serving size per person.
NUTRITION FACTS (PER SERVING):
Total fat 0.5 g
Saturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbs 1 g
Fiber 0 g
Total sugars 0 g
Added sugars 0 g
Sodium 0 g
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.