How to sauce garden tomatoes

Every since my my tomato plants have kicked into high production mode, our family has been making gallons of tasty Marinara sauce each week. While making great tasting tomato sauce is simple to do, there's a bit of a trick in making sauce that won't puddle around the pasta when it is served up at dinner. Here's how it is done.

Peel and core. Prepping tomatoes for saucing starts with removing the peel and core. An easy way to remove the skins is by first immersing the tomatoes in boiling water for 45-60 seconds, the transferring the tomatoes to a large bowl. Once they are cool enough to handle, the skins slide right off. Quarter the peeled tomatoes and place in a large stock pot without any added water or added seasoning.

Boil. Slowly bring the pot to boiling, and then turn back the heat to a simmer. Use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes as they cook. After 20-30 minutes, the tomatoes should start turning to pulp.

Strain. My family doesn't care for seeds in our tomato sauce which is why I always run the stewed tomatoes through a strainer. An old fashioned vegetable masher (also known as a cone-shaped colander or puree sieve) is the best tool for straining. A vegetable masher strains out the seeds and bits of skin while also turning the tomatoes into puree. The strained tomatoes should then be returned to the kettle to continue cooking.

Boil some more. Bring the puree to boiling, then turn down the heat to a slow simmer. Take note on the side of the kettle at the water level; the goal is to reduce that level by one-half before adding seasoning to the sauce. You will notice a difference in how the tomatoes simmer as the liquid boils away and the sauce becomes thicker.

Add the seasoning. One the liquid levels have dropped by half, add fresh herbs to the sauce along with other savory veggies such as chopped onions, peppers, and garlic. Simmer an additional 15-20 minutes before removing from heat. Salt to taste. Let the sauce cool before transferring into freezer-safe containers.

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