Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What To Do With All Those Tomatoes

If you're like me and decided that it was an excellent idea to plant five tomato plants for two people, you're probably 

1) sick of eating tomatoes, and 
2) stuck with a bumper crop of 'Mortgage Lifters' that weigh around a pound a piece. 

Here's a great way to put those to good use and pack them away for the winter. 

We like to call this "Love Sauce" (a very simple and tasty marinara). 

I've always found that the simple stuff tastes a whole lot better than anything with a thousand fancy ingredients. Just take a few quality simple ingredients and let them shine. 

This recipe will make one pint (16 oz). Multiply at your discretion. 

Marinara "Love Sauce"

You Need

1/2 peck* Tomatoes
1 tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped, to taste
1-2 Garlic cloves, minced or crushed, to taste
1 tsp. Salt, or more to taste

First you will need to peel, seed and juice the tomatoes. It's messy, but I assure you, this sounds like a bigger pain than it is:

Boil a pot of water. Plunge your tomatoes in, two at a time, for exactly 10 seconds. Take a paring knife and core the tomato. The skin should slip off easily. Slice the tomato in half cross-wise through the tomatoquator (not through the stem) and very gently squeeze out the seeds and juice. 

The Sauce

Roughly chop the tomato pulp and put it in a large pot. Cover and simmer on medium-low until the tomatoes begin to soften and render more juice. Uncover and mash with a potato masher to break up the pulp. Add about 1 tsp of salt. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce reduces by about half or more, to your liking (this will take some time--go and watch Law & Order or something), mashing and stirring occasionally. 

I like chunky sauce, so I don't do this, but you can run it through a food mill at this point if you want smoother sauce. An immersion blender works well, too. 

This recipe requires a lot of tasting. Add more salt to taste. Add basil and garlic to taste. Slowly simmer about 5 minutes more.

Store by packing into hot jars and processing** in a boiling water canner*** for 35 minutes, freezing, or refrigerating. Done!

Tip: If you're interested in trying this out but lack the aforementioned "tomatolanche", I recommend purchasing the tomatoes at a farmer's market or even a roadside fruit stand. You can buy "seconds" (fruits that are blemished, bruised, cracked, or otherwise imperfect) that are not only just as delicious in sauce form as their more aesthetically-gifted counterparts, but have the added bonus of being significantly cheaper as well. 

 *What the heck is a peck? A peck is an outdated unit of dry volume used by the old-schoolers to annoy "kids these days". If you haven't bought them in peck form, then 1/2 peck is basically a 1 gallon bucket full, or about 6 pounds. 

**What is this "processing" you speak of? Ok, so this means "canning your stuff". If you're interested in home canning, go to Ball's Fresh Preserving to learn more. This is the online-version of the ubiquitous holy text known as the Ball Blue Book, with all the modern conveniences of things such as a pectin calculator and links to buy supplies. 

***Canning tomato products using the boiling water method requires a bit of added acid. Add 1/4 tsp of citric acid (look for it in the "canning supplies" section) or 1 tsp bottled lemon juice to each 16 oz jar before pouring in your sauce. I think this might be a new thing because I hadn't heard of it until recently, but it's possible I haven't been doing it because I was absent that day in pioneering class. 

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  1. Sounds easy enough. I still want someone else to make it for me, while I laze around. Who will make me love sauce?

  2. Now why didn't I think of making tomato sauce when someone gave us a whole bunch of tomatoes from their garden? Duh! This is a fantastic idea. (Visiting from Turn It Up Tuesday)

  3. What a lovely marinara sauce! There's nothing like marinara sauce made from fresh garden tomatoes. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe with us at the Hearth and Soul hop. Pinned :-)

  4. I don't have the right sunlight for growing tomatoes, but when I did, we used to make a TON of canned salsa. I loved it because I could have salsa all year long. Thanks for sharing on #yuckstopshere link up. Please come share again next week.

  5. Sounds great to me. Only have a few tomatoes left at this point which I think I will take off the vine and let ripen. I do love your recipe and thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & twitted.

  6. Great recipe! appreciate your sharing :) We are trying to remove all prepackaged items from our diet so having a great marinara is awesome!

  7. Your Sauce looks fabulous, I will sure give this a try. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday and have a fabulous day!
    Hope to see you soon,
    Miz Helen

  8. I have not had as many tomatoes this year as usual. They were very slow to take off. Finally picked enough to make a small batch of sals tomorrow. Would love to make this sometime when I have more tomatoes! Thanks for sharing the recipe with SYC.

  9. Very helpful! Thanks for sharing via Mommy Monday.

  10. Hopefully I won't get in this predicament by mistake since I have your tip for not playing 5 plants for just two people. On the other hand, canning the sauce for the future sounds like a really great idea so I had to pin this! Thanks for sharing with us at the Creative Style Linkup!

  11. Congratulations! You've been featured on Wicked Awesome Wednesday! Thank you for sharing your Love Sauce recipe! Feel free to drop by the website to pick up your "I've Been Featured!" button.

  12. I have a batch of tomatoes I put in the freezer and plan to make some salsa with later. Maybe I will try this too. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a lovely week! ~Deborah

  13. This is a big event at my parents house every year. Tomatoes as far as the eye can see, we're all lined up like as assembly line, preparing tomatoes, cooking them, jarring them. Good times!

  14. I do enjoy garden tomatoes and can't wait for the day when I can grow them myself. I like to try different tomato sauce recipes like this too.
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