Did you plant tomato plants this year? How are your plants producing? My plants are producing a ton of tomatoes this year, many more than we can eat on sandwiches or in salads. What do I do with the rest? Some I share and the rest I turn into delicious tomato sauce for use later in the year. Here is my super simple method for making tomato sauce with your summer harvest.
Bring Out the Crockpot
The first necessary kitchen gadget is a crockpot. The crockpot allows you to roast your tomatoes all day without having to watch them. It also gives you the freedom to go about your day without having to worry about the stove. Ease and convenience are the nature of the crockpot.
Prepare the Tomatoes
I will be the first to admit, I do not employ a super scientific method to preparing my tomatoes. First, cut the tomatoes in half or quarters if they are large. Next squeeze them over a bowl to remove the seeds and excess liquid. Sometimes it is necessary to pull apart the membranes to remove the seeds. If you were to watch the process in my kitchen, it looks like I am playing with playdoh. I manipulate the tomato pieces until the majority of seeds are gone.
Everything in the Pot
Toss all the prepared tomatoes into the crockpot. Set the temperature to low and the timer to 8 hours. If you do not have a timer, choose the longer of the two settings. It is now time to forget about the tomatoes for the next 8 hours. The crockpot will do the work.
Time for Another Gadget
At the end of the 8 hours it is time to bring out another of my favorite kitchen gadgets – the immersion blender. Using the immersion blender, puree the tomatoes and blend together with the liquid that emerged from the roasting process. Blend until there is no longer signs of chunks or pieces of tomato.
I am a preserving novice, so I do not know how to can my sauce. My super simple solution is to ladle sauce into mason jars and freeze. Due to the amount of space the jars are taking up in my freezer, I will be using quart size freezer bags for the next round of sauce. Your other options are to use it right away for spaghetti sauce or chili or refrigerate for up to a week for a later meal.
If your tomato crop is booming, it is time to try making and preserving your own tomato sauce. I guarantee it will taste better than anything you purchase in a can at the grocery store. By the look of this year’s crop, I should be able to go at least 3 or 4 months without using store bought tomato sauce. Sounds like a good plan to me. Happy Cooking!