To be fair, a chunk of that harvest was donated by my generous mother-in-law who also has a flourishing kitchen garden. When my mom and I took stock of our ripe tomatoes early this week, we decided to sauce on Tuesday. Now, neither of us has done this before – either processing tomatoes or canning. And, unfortunately, my experienced friend was out of town. But, when the tomatoes are ready, what choice do you have?
We settled on a seasoned tomato sauce recipe that I hoped would pass for a basic spaghetti sauce. I doctor up store bought spaghetti sauce for our meals, and hoped this would be a replacement for that purchase. But, the recipe called for 45 lbs of tomatoes. My mom, a very confident cook, suggested we make no adjustments. What’s wrong with a little extra flavor? In fact, she insisted we add more garlic than the recipe called for and also had me add 3 tbsp of her personal spice mix (which I’ll admit smelled perfect).
I chopped pretty little purple onions from my mom’s garden, when we ran out of her store bought onion stash. Aren’t the stems pretty?
My mother cored and quarters about a million tomatoes. We could barely fit them into 3 large pots. I had to squish the tomatoes down with my hands in order to add the seasonings! Instead of blanching the tomatoes to remove the skins and seeds, we simmered them as is in spices for 20 minutes. Then, we used a Vitamix to puree the mixture – seeds, skin and all. It came out incredibly smooth, and I figure we saved time and food.
Can you guess the results? Oooh, spicy! I tasted the sauce before we cooked it down by half, so I can only imagine how crazy-hot it is now. There is absolutely no way we could consume it as is, but my mom says to think of it as spaghetti sauce in a condensed form! I’ll be adding tomato sauce to it when I’m ready to make spaghetti.
By the way, 35 lbs of tomatoes + 1 whole day of cooking = 8 quarts of SPICY tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce. Somehow that jar of organic spaghetti sauce seems worth purchasing now! Still, I’m proud to be eating local, organic food that we’ve raised ourselves. It’s very “Radical Homemaker”, you know?