Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Tomato Sauce for Winter

Surely among the top ten slow foods is tomato sauce. The reward for preserving them in late summer will be the essence of luscious vine-ripened garden tomatoes mid-winter in a soup or marinara sauce, with an onion and sausage frittata or mushroom polenta. making tom- sauce 44 I’m a fool for tomatoes and should make myself a tomato cape, something to wear everywhere to signify my devotion.

Since our own backyard tomatoes are behind schedule I thought it would be a good idea to buy seconds from Billy and make a batch of sauce now and then again later this month when ours will finally, I hope, come on like gangbusters. Bob tracked down Billy at the Sunday Market and purchased a big box of seconds, 22# at $2.25 per pound. Since it reduced down to several quarts, this turned out to be some FABULOUS, but pricey sauce. No more than winter tomatoes though, and far superior.

We then rolled up our sleeves and made sauce. Rich and tomatoey, it will be delectable mid-winter. Here’s one way to *make a good sauce.

making tom- sauce 13

A Recipe for Tomato Sauce

You’ll need two cooking pots and two bowls, big ones. Amounts are ambiguous and, frankly, are meant to be. Use as many tomatoes as you have, as much garlic as you like or none at all. A lot of tomatoes will reduce dramatically during the cooking process.

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

In the kitchen sink, fill a bowl with ice water.

Peel and slice one or two heads of garlic. In another cooking pot, sauté the garlic in olive oil for half a minute, turn heat off and let sit. You’ll put peeled and quartered tomatoes into this pot a little later so make it a big one. Not necessary to quarter the tomatoes – skip this if you prefer. They’ll soften and fall apart anyway.

Blanch 8 or 10 tomatoes at a time in the pot of simmering water – leave them for one or two minutes until skins begin to loosen. making tom- sauce 15

Remove them with a large slotted spoon/spatula and place directly into the pan of ice water.

Put more tomatoes into pot and while they’re blanching pull the skins off the others.

Large tomatoes sometimes have a hard core – remove that.making tom- sauce 20

Place peeled and quartered tomatoes into the sauce pot with the cooked garlic, turn on the heat and begin to cook. Add other tomatoes as soon as they’re peeled.

making tom- sauce 30 making tom- sauce 19

Tomatoes will reduce in quantity as they cook so add salt to taste later on.

making tom- sauce 37 Smash tomatoes from time to time or use an immersion blender; you could also use a food processor after they’ve cooled, but watch out. Too much blending reduces texture and diminishes bright color. I prefer to use a potato masher or immersion blender which I purchased last year and love.

Stirring occasionally, allow tomatoes to simmer for several hours until they’ve reduced and thickened to your own liking. The bottom line is to make the sauce of a consistency that will serve your own culinary purposes later on.

Salt to taste near end of cooking time.

I let the sauce cool and then pour into quart-size freezer containers. Store in the freezer, until say November if you can wait that long, and have yourself a taste of summer. Or, process in glass jars, which I’ll do with my next batch. Their presence in the pantry is comforting, so red and regal, ready to add culinary distinction to whatever recipe needs a tomato.

making tom- sauce 47

preserved tomatoes 4 Later in the month  our tomatoes did finally come on like gangbusters and we preserved lots of them.

*Since this was originally posted, three years ago now, I’ve made most of my tomato sauce via roasting, blending, then freezing or canning. Easier and just as delicious.


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2 Responses »

  1. Excellent photos! Sorry the sauce came out a tad on the…um…rich side, but it will taste great this winter. Sure does look yummy.

  2. My mom was the one who got me started on canning tomatoes and tomato sauce and we always did it from either our tomatoes or those from family. The last couple years have left me without a large garden and I have been missing my own home-canned jars of red beauty! But the cost of tomatoes at the farmers market is definately a deterrent to canning any until I get my garden space prepared – which is now top priority for next year!

    By the way, I have laughed often to how connected we are by the season. I’ll have posted something on my blog and then eventially caught up on reading yours to find a similar subject. And in fact I have a bowl of cherry tomatoes waiting to be photographed and written about!

    Happy late summer!