FINALLY!!! Tomatoes are starting to ripen, and after fretting over them all summer, they are ripening like crazy and demanding attention. If you are in the same boat as I am, I hope you enjoy this reader’s favorite post from last summer. It’s truly the easiest and most delicious tomato sauce I’ve ever made. Throw it on the stove or into a crockpot (Neener’s favorite method), blend the living daylights out of it, and freeze. No seeding, no peeling – just pure tomato.
As much as it pains me to say this…and it does, I may owe the success of our tomato harvest to Neeners. I have not yet reported this, but I finally succumbed to her constant nagging to “Cut those tomato bushes back – they need the sun!!” When I mentioned to her that I had recently read an article in Mother Earth News that said just the opposite, you may imagine the response I received. “To Hell with Mother Earth. I AM MOTHER EARTH!!! Listen to me!!” I noted that Mother Earth was not a person, but a magazine. She snorted “Then I am going to send her a letter and tell her how messed up she is and she is no kind of Mother Earth in my book.” At that point I gave up on the whole entire business, handed her some clippers, and told her to snip to her hearts content. As you can see below, because she finally got her way she was happy. Neeners had sworn to me that she would only cut back the foliage, and not touch any tomatoes. As evidenced by the photo, she has just cut herself a big handful of MY green tomatoes. When I mentioned this, all I got was an “Oops”, and then an evil grin.
We had a huge crop of tomatoes this year, and I was desperate to find a way to use them. We were giving them away hand over fist, and still were buried alive in the little gems. I have canned tomatoes for nearly forty years, and was desperate to find an easier, less messy and time consuming way to deal with them. But something had to be done – and fast. Necessity being the mother of invention, one day I just threw a bunch of tomatoes in a pot and started cooking. Take a stroll with me through this posting and find out what happened. But first, I just have to show you these beautiful creatures.
And now you see why non-red tomatoes are my favorite. There are so many colors and flavors to choose from. And when you slice them open, a whole other world opens up, right before your eyes. But then, of course, we need to get down to business – but it is easy business. No peeling. No seeding. Just cut the stem ends off and trim off what I like to call the tomato rump if there are any spots on the tail end. Put about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of a large pot. Turn the heat to medium, add some salt, and let them go.
They will give up a lot of juice right away. This is a good thing, so let them go about their business.
Soon they will get all broken up. Use a potato masher to help them along if you like. Notice how high up on the pan the mixture is..
At this point you can turn the heat to medium low and just walk away for awhile. You’ll want to check back from time to time and give it a stir to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, even though it’s pretty doubtful that will happen. After about 3 hours of simmering, the sauce to-be was reduced by nearly half, and looked like this:
Nice and thick, colors and flavors INTENSE. Let it cool for a little while, then put into a blender. I usually do about 3 cups or so at a time to make sure the blender has plenty of room to work. We are going for maximum blending since we are pulverizing the tomato skin and seeds. Let her rip! Take a peek into the blender and see what I’m talking about.
All that’s left is putting them into jars. Fill about 3/4 inch from the top to give them room to expand while freezing. Thick, rich, and super sweet. And did you know that the skins and seeds of tomatoes are some of their healthiest parts? You are now a total tomato smarty pants!
This also works with red tomatoes and Neeners has been all over this, making her own recipe using a slow cooker. She just put a little water in the bottom of the cooker, adds salt and a nice big sprig of basil, turns it on high, and let’s it go. Once it starts boiling, you can remove the lid so moisture escapes and it cooks down to the consistency you like. Then just blend it up and off you go. Here is one of her first batches, and now her freezer is full of sauce. She uses hers to make chili, or ‘man bait’ as I like to call it. Watch out all you eligible, or even non-eligible men out there over the age of 21 (she will require somebody who can take her out for cocktails). If Neeners offers you chili – RUN.
This sauce makes a delicious spaghetti sauce also. Here, at the end of a very long day, I just tossed a batch of red sauce in with some pasta, added some cheese, and threw it in the oven to bake through. It was awesome. Food doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious, as we all know. Dig in.
Here are just a few more photos of some red tomato sauce. We didn’t even take the stems off of these little guys.
Happy saucing everyone! xoxoxox
- Add about ½ inch of water to the bottom of a Dutch Oven (or slow cooker).
- Remove stem and rump end from large tomatoes. Small tomatoes can go in with stems on.
- Add salt to taste. You might want to start with about 1 teaspoon.
- On the stovetop: Start cooking over medium high heat. When mixture boils, reduce heat to medium low and cook until reduced by nearly half.
- If using a slow cooker, allow to come to a boil (this might take a couple of hours. (Neeners also adds a big sprig of fresh basil). Remove lid and let it continue to cook until reduced and thickened to your taste.
- Allow to cool slightly or all the way - your call. Blend with a blender until skins have been fully blended and are not visible.
- Freeze glass or plastic freezer bags.