Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer's End Tomato Sauce

Hi Haley,

I was sorting through my pantry cupboard and thinking of you, and of last year when you and I tackled the job of reorganizing your kitchen…I’m getting sentimental, particularly when I think of those raisins strewn throughout your pantry. Pantry cleaning is very boring without you. My pantry doesn’t have nearly as many hilarious surprises (ten bags of half-finshed oats). Although, I did find a small bag of peanut butter chips. I don’t even like peanut butter chips, but I made the mistake of undoing the twist tie and suddenly they disappeared. You know what it’s like embarking upon a distasteful task; food is such a comfort.

Anyhow, the point of this post is to pass on to you my end-of-summer tomato sauce. I know we are supposed to be posting nostalgic recipes from childhood but this recipe just couldn't wait.

Your garden is likely overrun with tomatoes, whereas Caleb and I celebrated the growing of three single tomato plants this summer. We actually were really happy because in our absence these last two months, they didn’t receive a lick of water, except for what was sent from above, yet they managed to survive and bear fruit, but not enough for a pot of sauce. So I went down to SunWing farm and picked up a giant flat.

I like to can the sauce but you can also just toss it in your freezer. I jar it because I don’t have a large freezer, and I also like to have it right on hand, no defrosting necessary, so when I’m home from work and out of ideas for dinner, I can just toss it in a pot with some veggies.

The recipe calls for 5 pounds of tomatoes. I wouldn’t attempt doubling that unless you have a very large pot. Also, don’t use an aluminum pot or a cast-iron pot or your sauce will taste funny as tomatoes don’t do well in these materials.

And I think that’s all.

Except for the Sauce.

Basil Tomato Sauce

5 pounds tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
one handful fresh basil

Wash and quarter the tomatoes

Heat the oil in a large pot and add the tomatoes and basil.

Let simmer until the tomatoes are soft, about 30 min.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill. (You can buy a food mill at any kitchen store or at a thrift shop. They have a handle that turns and pushes the food through a seive. This way, you end up with a suace and the tomato skin and seeds are left behind. You cannot use a blender in place of the food mill.)

Return the sauce to the pot, turn the heat up and reduce the sauce to the consistency of a thick juice. Voila, you are done.

If you would like to can the sauce, place clean jars in a canning pot as you make the sauce. You must boil them for 15 minutes to steralize the glass. Keep the jars hot before filling them with the sauce. Return the jars to the canner and process in boiling water for 30 minutes.


  1. Hey Rach,
    Never though about the aluminium thing. Makes sense. And I don't have a food mill, but have found that mashing it through my sieve with a wooden spoon works well and is kind of fun.
    How scary is canning? It's on my list of 'good-to-know' things, but the hot water bit freaks me out and makes my foot tingle.

  2. I'm with Heather - the idea of canning is scary..
    though intriguing at the same time. Rach- I'm going to stick it out one more year with the ol'deep freeze - until next year when you can come teach me your learned ways. I might disregard your food mill advice and try Heather's sieve and wooden spoon advice.

  3. This looks delicious...makes me want to save some of summer too.

  4. Hi,

    Just an FYI, according to current safe canning guidelines, two tablespoons of commercial lemon juice should be added to each quart / liter. Reason being most tomatoes grown today have been bred to be less acidic that those grown by our grandparents back when.

    Here's a link that might be useful: