Tuesday, September 7, 2010


It's that time of year again when all the tomatoes are at the peak of ripeness, and I start my sauce-making (much to my son, Devon's delight!) Of course I chose one of the hottest days to go over to "Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze" and pick the lovely San Marzano tomatoes that Steve Cooper has grown specifically for sauce-making...my friend Kathy and I nearly died! Hours later, the tomatoes on the bottom of the bushel basket were still warm from the sun's rays!
I am fairly new to the sauce-making game and since my son is pretty much a purist, I tend to make a basic sauce to which I can add roasted garlic, fresh herbs, sauteed ground beef, etc. to depending on what recipe I am using the sauce for. We ran out of my homemade sauce fairly early in the season and so I decided that I would make a whole bushel-worth of sauce and then go over this week to pick another half bushel for diced tomatoes....I got 11 Litre jars and one 500mL jar out of the bushel.
Here are some tips that I have picked up on the way and am passing on to you budding sauce-makers out there!
  1. Get a pot of water to a rolling boil, cut an "x" in the bottom of each tomato and drop them into the pot. (I found that these tomatoes needed to be in the boiling water for 3 to 5 mins. to make the skins peel off easily).
  2. I never seem to have enough ice on hand so when I create my ice bath in the sink, I use the ice packs that I keep in my freezer - they work just as well and are reusable! Keep the tomatoes in the ice bath for at least 3 to 5 minutes so they're cool enough to handle!!!
  3. After peeling the skins off and trimming the stem end, I seed the tomatoes over a sieve which is placed over a large bowl. This way the tomato water from the juicy seeds drips into the bowl. When your tomatoes are in the pot, just add the tomato water to the pot for a super-flavourful sauce!
  4. Instead of transferring hot tomatoes to a blender or food processor, I just use my immersion blender to puree up the tomatoes as they are cooking.
  5. Reduce your tomatoes by half for thick sauce and a 1/3 for thinner sauce. Make sure that you don't have the heat too high otherwise they will scorch to the bottom of the pot. If you feel that it is taking too long or your pot is too full, transfer half the mixture to another pot so the sauce doesn't have to cook for too long and you risk scorching.
  6. BE CAREFUL when you are transferring the sauce into the jars - I gave myself a nasty burn on my hand when some of the sauce splashed back out of the jar....thank goodness for "Traumeel"!!!

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