It’s taken me a few years to figure out the easiest and quickest way to make good thick tomato sauce. I used to blanch the tomatoes, peel the skin, and take out the seeds, which is a long and painful process—especially when you have two little kids tugging at your legs. So after experimenting with different tools and techniques I have finally settled on the following method.
Here are the ingredients and tools you will need:
- Metal food mill and wooden thing (a wire sieve or strainer might work too)
- Hand blender
- Glass canning jars and lids
- Wooden spoon
- Canning funnel (not necessary, but helpful)
- Large heavy pot—stainless steel or glass are preferable
- Salt (optional)
Wash your tomatoes
Remove the stem and cut off any questionable spots. You don’t have to remove the core or the place where the stem attaches.
Cut the tomato in half and throw it into your large pot.
Continue until you have used up all the tomatoes or your pot is full. Tip—I use a pot that is about the same size as my crock-pot so that it all fits in the crock-pot after you cook it briefly on the stove in the large pot.
Set your pot full of halved tomatoes on the stove on low. Mash them down add a little salt and stir them around for a few minutes to get the juices going and so that they don’t burn on the bottom.
Let them simmer on the stove with the lid on for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are looking pretty cooked and falling apart.
Take your handy hand held blender and blend the tomatoes up until the large chunks are gone—about a minute.
Turn your crock-pot on high
Place your food mill and food mill stand over your crock-pot and ladle the tomato sauce into the food mill.
Once it’s full just take the wooden thing and press all the sauce through, leaving behind the seeds and skins.
Cook the tomato sauce on high with the lid off all day. Stir it occasionally.
I usually turn it down to low if I go to bed or leave for a while during the day. Depending on if you want a thick sauce, or tomato paste, you might have to cook it for 24 hours. I usually am pretty happy with the consistency after about 15 hours in the crock-pot.
The crock-pot might look a little like blackened tomato sauce if you don’t really scrape the sides down good each time you stir, but the thing I love best about making tomato sauce in the crock-pot is that it is really easy to clean off.
To can your sauce:
Ladle into clean (sterilize if you must) jars (leave about ¼ inch of head space), wipe the rims, place the lids on, submerge in a pot of boiling water, and then remove after about 12 minutes or so.
Voila! And you didn’t have to peel of the skins, pick out the seeds, and stir the sauce all day long.
To find local tomato growers in your area check out www.pick-a-pepper.com.
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