Friday, August 24, 2012

Using Up Your Tomato Surplus

I now know why I buy tomato sauce.  On one hand, this little experiment was a great way to use up all those extra tomatoes one always has in August - 25 roma tomatoes to make 1 quart of sauce.  On the other hand, it took a couple of hours, which I could have spent sewing, painting, or even sleeping.  And my kids were completely disgusted by the peeled tomatoes, so for once, I had no little helpers in the kitchen.  Anyway, this was my brief foray into the land of homemade tomato sauce - next week I'm picking up Ragu on sale. But, it looks good, doesn't it? 

First things first, use good ol' Google to answer all those nagging questions you might have about making tomato sauce - such as, how many tomatoes do you need?   I should warn you that nearly all canning recipes are written to keep you in whatever you might be "putting up" for the ENTIRE winter.  This recipe looked promising and had great step-by-step instructions.  I Googled how many tomatoes are in a pound (24-30 romas), and discovered I had about enough tomatoes for 1/6 of the recipe - perfect!  My dad has this awesome thing you hook up to your mixer - shove whole tomatoes in one end, get puree out the other - less the seeds and skin.  I don't have that.  So, I used the boiling-briefly-then-ice-bath method to peel the tomatoes - works like a charm, and did you know you cn peel potatoes that way, too?  Lil Blue Boo told me so.  (Ice bath is on the right, peeled, draining tomatoes on the left.)
After peeling, quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds.  Then, I put all the peeled, quartered, seedless tomatoes in my wire colander and did my gosh darndest to push all the liquid out.  In hindsight, I did a terrible job.  At the time, I felt quite accomplished.  It was at this juncture that my kids wandered out to see what I was doing, and were completely revolted by the bowl of squishy tomatoes.
I put my (still way too watery) tomatoes in a pot with all the seasonings.  It really was quite amazing - in a matter of 30 minutes, it went from big chunks of tomatoes to a nice saucy-looking bunch of stuff.  I also added spices and stuff - a tablespoon or so of fresh basil, same of oregano, some sage because my sage looks like it is on steriods, so I'm always trying to use it.  I also threw in 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic and the same amount of salt and pepper.  
I poured it all in the jar and it looked just beautiful . . . but then, I made spaghetti with it a couple of days later and upon adding it to my noodles, well, it wasn't even picture-worthy.   Way too watery.  My husband is the kindest food tester, and he assured me it was still good.  I disagreed.  It should have been FABULOUS for the hours of squishy labor that went into it.  Ah well, the failures help us appreciate the successes, right?


1 comment:

  1. Oh gosh that sounds like way too much work! Just throw them into ready made sauce for some extra flavour.....that's what we do with ours... =D

    P.S. You could also save yourself all that hassle and just make soup cook everything together (no peeling just chopping)..throw in blender/liquidizer to puree....job done...

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