Summer’s Bounty – Easy Tomato Sauce

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Summer, my friends, is my hands down favorite time of the year. And once August hits, it gets even better, because all of the stuff I planted earlier in the season is now finally beginning to bear fruit!

Picture of various size tomatoes, peppers, herbs

As if that weren’t already good enough, neighbors and friends begin heaping parts of their harvest on me as well! I do not turn down free organic produce offerings if I can help it.  You could use some of them to make delicious guacamole or turn them into a delightful homemade tomato sauce.

Have you been intimidated by the thought of making and preserving sauce? Actually, it’s much easier and a lot less time consuming than you may think! No canning required.

Today I’ll show you how to turn this somewhat sad, but nice and ripe pile of gifted tomatoes into a yummy sauce that is as delicious fresh over tonight’s pasta as it will be in a tasty veggie soup or pasta sauce later this Fall. Just freeze and thaw as needed.

Let’s get started!

What you see here in these pictures amounts to roughly 4-5 lbs of tomatoes.

Picture of diferent size tomatoes

Rinse your tomatoes and cut off any unsightly, soft spots as well as the little hard core.

Picture of tomatoes being rinsed with water

Picture of cored tomato held up

Have some garlic cloves you don’t know what to do with? Peel and toss them in! I also added some of my fresh basil leaves for added flavor.

Picture of tomatoes, garlic and basil laves arranged in a single layer on a sheet pan

Arrange everything on a deep, parchment lined cookie sheet, (I actually prefer to use my sheet cake pan) in a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with olive oil. Since the amounts of tomatoes can vary, I pretty much eyeball this part, but about a 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil sound right.

Picture of bottle of olive oil and canister of gray sea salt

Picture of tomatoes in oven

Put tomatoes in a preheated oven at 350 for approximately 45 minutes until they look like this:

Picture of cooked tomatoes on sheet pan

At this point I like to drain some of the liquid off the tomatoes. Reserve the liquid and freeze separately. It makes a flavorfull addition to any soup.

Heat the broiler and return tomatoes to oven for 4-5 minutes or until they look like this:

Picture of charred tomatoes after broiling

I don’t care for tomato skins in my sauce, so I will try to remove as many as I can with a fork or just my fingers, ’cause I’m tough like that – not really,  just let them sit and cool for a bit.

Picture of roasted tomatoes, skins removedPut them in your blender in batches and puree to the desired consistency.

Picture of tomato sauce in blender

Alternately you could mash them with a potato masher for a more “rustic” consistency. Use immediately, refridgerate up to 3 days or freeze for later use.

If you opt for freezing, You may find it helpful to lay the closed freezer bag containing your sauce on its side on a large cookie sheet for freezing. This way you wind up with sauce that is nice and flat to store and easy to thaw.

Picture of tomato sauce in freezer bag on cookie sheet

You can easily divide this amount into 2 or 3 bags. I generally freeze in bigger batches, because I cook in bigger batches.

That’s really all there is to it. This is a method I have used for many years. You can use other veggies like zucchini, yellow squash or eggplant alongside your tomatoes as well to give your sauce added depth!

Do be sure to let me know how this turns out for you!

I leave you here with this cute picture of one of my eggplant blossoms. Love the delicate colors, don’t you?

Picture of eggplant blossom.

 

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