Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mater-palooza (part 1)

It has been Mater-palooza around here. I have been harvesting  anywhere from 10-20 lbs of tomatoes EVERY 2 days. When life gives you tomatoes you gotta make sauce.

I had 10 lbs in just Roma's!
So I set up my food mill because I like a very fine puree (no seeds and definitely no peel!) I know some people use the whole tomato but I think using the peel causes the sauce to have a funky texture and bitterness.

You can't get any more basic then this. All I did was wash and de-stem the tomatoes. Cut off any bad spots, quarter feed them through the hopper. A little manual arm cranking to run the tomatoes through the extruder. Just use the guide and gently snush the maters into the mill opening. Don't smush the 'mater to hard or juice will go squirting everywhere. Ask me how I know! And you can probably see 'mater splashes everywhere in the background...oops!

The juice and puree comes through the screen and runs down the funnel into my bowl.

The peel and seeds get sent out the side and are collected in another bowl.

When I am done running all the tomatoes through the mill I will take the seedy pulp and run it though one more time to get the last bit of the juice and puree.. Then the seeds can washed and saved if heirlooms or if hybrids it goes in the compost pile.

Add the juice/ puree to a mondo sized non-reactive stockpot. It will be a bit frothy at first and that is ok.

I had a total of 35 cups of juice/puree (1st batch).

Let this cook down by at least 1/3 before adding anything. Be certain to stir, scraping sides and bottoms to avoid any of the sauce burning.

Once the liquid had concentrated I added...
 24 ounces of a really good commercial or home-canned tomato paste (natural thickener and flavor enhancer)
1 c. of lemon juice (to acidify)
1/8 c. sugar (to offset any bitterness)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
4 tablespoons garlic powder
4 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons nutmeg
(I don't add basil or thyme because I have family members with allergies)
Let this cook for a minimum of 30 minutes.

The reason I wait until the last 30 minutes to add the herbs and spices is they can become bitter when exposed to prolonged heat. Also if using fresh herbs cut the amounts in half as to what is listed (or what suits your taste).

I like to use a variety of tomatoes  but when making sauce I use a 1:1 ratio of roma's to other tomatoes. Roma's are really meaty, not much juice but the complexity of flavor comes from all the varieties combined.

 Follow all safety guidelines and recommendations for food preservation as per USDA. Prep your jars and hot pack. Process in a water bath for 45 minutes or pressure can for 15 minutes at 11 lbs. pressure (for quarts). This made 7 quarts. Actually slightly more and I just froze the extra amount.


  1. Tonya,

    Looks wonderful! Don't forget to save the skins to dehydrate for paste later on.

    Wish I had that many tomatoes to work with!

    1. DFW--If y'all lived close to me I would surely give you some! I am swimming in maters. Would you believe I haven't used my dehydrator yet?!

  2. Nice job!!! For some reason I thought tomato sauce always had to be pressure canned. I didn't realize it could be water bathed! Cool! Looks yummy!

    1. I should have mentioned to use 1/2 inch headspace! Yes you can water bath but it kinda sucks. Tomatoes are borderline in acidity, which is why you add vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid to lower the pH. 45 minutes is a long time and you need to be diligent the water level stays above the lid rims (especially for the quart jars). If you are gonna WB, keep an extra pot of water boiling on the stove, to add as needed to maintain correct water level in canner. And it is always better to over-process to ensure the contents were thoroughly heated and proper seal achieved. All said I would rather pressure can my tomatoes.

  3. Cripes-I haven't had a ripe tomato yet. I'm dying for one and at the rate it's going, I won't have one before our first frost in early September.
    LOVE the idea of using a food mill. I'm with you on the skins/seeds. I don't care for them in my sauce either. What a simple way to do this--thanks!

    1. Thanks Sue! Sorry you haven't had any 'maters yet. I would share with you too! The food mill is super simple and not very expensive. Depending on what brand you can find new for $29-$49. If you are a good bargain hunter you can find vintage for much less. I chose to go with new because I really want to make sure it was clean! This has several different screens for salsa, pumpkins and berries, as well as a grape spiral. It is rather versatile!



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