You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato Sauce

August 07, 2012

Our garden is bursting with beautiful tomatoes of every hue and size.  God bless home grown tomatoes, but when they come in like gangbusters, clear the decks, it's time to make sauce!

I've re-written one of my favorite posts from last year to make my method a little clearer.  It's all about how to make the very best, without a doubt, the absolute best tomato sauce ever.  It may be the easiest too.  It requires several large roasting pans, or three in my case, olive oil and a specialty kitchen item called a cone shaped chinois strainer.  I highly recommend investing in this tool if you plan on making tomato sauce every year.

Take it from the granddaughter of a commercial tomato grower, this is the best way to make use of your excess garden tomatoes.  Store it in the freezer and use it for marinara sauce, tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, etc.  Enjoy!

Go here for the recipe.

Homemade Tomato Sauce
Yields approximately 8 quarts

Wash one lug of tomatoes, approximately 35 pounds.  Remove stems and core the ones that have a big ingrown stem if necessary, but mostly I didn't bother.  Jumble whole tomatoes, all sizes,  into three roasters.  In between the tomatoes, squeeze in some fresh herbs (I used what I had growing, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and lots of basil) plus 2 heads of garlic, un-peeled.  Pour olive oil over, I used about 1/4-1/2 cup per pan.  Salt and pepper and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to each pan.  Cover loosely with foil.  Roast in a hot oven, 400 degrees F for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  It will be bubbling like crazy.

The skins will be black, don't worry.  Cool for a few hours, and if desired, pick off and discard the skins you can slip off.  Most slip off easily, but don't bother with the skins that won't.  I do not bother taking skins off as they next step will remove them.  For a thicker sauce, drain off most of the water and reserve.  Whirl, skins, seeds and all, in batches in a food processor until smooth.

This is my grandmother's tomato strainer, a perforated chinois strainer. This strainer and stand and what it does, conjures up some of my best childhood memories; those of my kind and gentle granddad, a tomato farmer in southern California.  I loved my granddad so much and think that growing tomatoes must be in my blood.

This type of strainer makes the next step really easy.  There are dozens of expensive, fancy and complicated tomato strainers for you to spend your money on, but I wouldn't bother with them.  This old fashioned one with a holder and the wooden pestle is best and you'll find it easier to use.

Pour the sauce by batches into the chinois strainer and use the wooden pestle to smash the sauce around.  The seeds and skins stay in the strainer (discard) and the best sauce ever comes out the little holes.
You will be glad you made this, it really doesn't even mess the kitchen much, I promise, and it freezes well too!


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  1. Thank you so much! I've always just canned my tomatoes, but I have all those herbs (besides tons of tomatoes) growing in my garden, so I can do this, and it would be ready to use. :-) I'm pinning this recipe!

  2. I'm trying this. I love the idea of roasting them in the oven with all the herbs and garlic. Thanks!

  3. Kristenlinnea, I just found your blog by linking to a project you made from a pattern I am thinking of. Your other projects are so much to my taste that I looked through all of them and then found your blog. Thanks for the sweet and interesting blog to read with all the nice info in it. I just made my first tomato sauce last week, by a different process, but am looking forward to trying yours and reading the rest of the blogs. I am curious if the Linnea part of your name is a Swedish name? I almost named my 1st daughter Linnea but my husband was unfamiliar with it.


  4. Thank you for sharing! I am going to try this!!!

  5. I have to do this! My girlfriend and I are sharing our gardens this year and we're about to have tomatoes coming out our ears! We've already made salsa and marinara. This is next! Thanks for sharing!

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