Jan visited her friends in Fresno this weekend. One of them owns a farm and tomato bombed her. What am I going to do with 15 pounds of small Roma tomatoes?
Many of the recipes I found on the internet called for seeding and peeling the tomatoes before boiling them down. Most of these tomatoes were only 1-2 inches, so that was a non starter. Blending and straining was the obvious way to go.
Many of the internet recipes called for making tomato pasta sauce, with garlic and spices. Daughter Miriam is currently off garlic and onions, so I did not want to go that route. Simple tomato would allow me to season the sauce as the meal needed.
Karl’s Tomato Sauce
15 lb. Roma tomatoes
1 Tbs. Kosher salt
1. Rinse the tomatoes well.
Tip: Put the tomatoes in a colander to drain off as much surface water as possible.
2. In small batches—2-3 cups—put the tomatoes in a standing blender.
Tip: Discard any tomatoes that have soft spots or trim off any blemishes.
Note: To not de-seed the tomatoes. Much of the flavor in tomatoes is in the “jelly” that surrounds the seeds.
3. Blend the tomatoes until most of the skins have broken up into tiny bits.
Tip: About 4-5 minutes of processing on the highest speed.
4. Put a sieve over a large heavy bottomed pot.
Tip: You want a sieve that has holes small enough to trap the seeds, but not so small that bits of the skin will block up the holes.
5. Use a rubber spatula to press the tomato puree through the sieve.
Tip: You will be left with the seeds and a small portion of the skins that did not break up enough to go through the sieve.
Note: Discard the seeds and remaining skins.
6. Continue until you have processed all of the tomatoes.
Note: The tomatoes I had produced about 8 quarts of puree.
7. Bring the puree to a boil and add one tablespoon of salt.
Tip: This recipe is to create a shelf stable tomato sauce. You may always add sugar, more salt, spices, and oil later when you use the sauce in a recipe.
Note: If you are planning to can this sauce for longer storage you should add some lemon juice to increase the acidity—this inhibits bacterial growth. I decided I did not want to mess with the tomato’s flavors.
8. Reduce the temperature to a high simmer with the lid ajar.
Tip: leaving the lid cocked allows most of the steam to escape, but prevents the sauce from splattering over your stove.
Note: You want to scrape the bottom of the pot frequently to prevent the tomato solids from sticking and scorching.
9. Continue simmering until the sauce is as thick as you like it.
Tip: As the sauce begins to thicken reduce the heat and increase the frequency of scrapping the bottom of the pot.
Note: This can take some time—I simmered the sauce for five hours, to produce a fairly thick sauce.
10. Sterilize enough jars and lids to store the sauce.
Note: I boiled the sauce down to 3 quarts.
11. Store the sauce in the refrigerator and use within a week or freeze the sauce and use in three months.
Note: Do not freeze the sauce in glass jars—the sauce will expand and shatter the glass. Transfer the sauce to plastic bags or plastic tubs that will expand slightly.