Basic Tomato Sauce (or, the first 6 pounds of 25)

This is what 25 pounds of tomatoes looks like...


It’s tomato season. My favorite. Well, stone fruit too. But tomato season is a close second to cherries and nectarines. The best thing about tomatoes in my humble opinion is the variety: the types and all the many things you can do with those lovely types. Pineapple, yellow, orange, cherry, juliet, plum, grape, purple cherokee, early girl, and oh so many more…

This weekend I bought 25 pounds of tomatoes from a farmer at the market selling his #2s for super cheap. This box is huge. The first thing I’m doing with the tomatoes is a very basic tomato sauce. I make a ton of it and stick it in the freezer. When it’s time to defrost throughout the year, I mix them up and make it different each time. I’ll attempt to do different variations here to keep track of along the way. So here we go with the first 6 pounds…

When I left for college sophomore year, I moved into my first apartment. I may have mentioned this before, but that summer I was home for a couple of weeks and my mother and I spent that time on the basics in the kitchen. One of those basics, was tomato sauce: with ripe tomatoes, with canned tomatoes, with herbs, and several other variations. While this is the base for most of the other tomato sauces I make, there are a couple that start differently too. This first tomato sauce is seriously the most basic- no minced garlic, no wine, no herbs. There are 2 different ways that i like to do this one.

Basic Tomato Sauce (the base for all else…)
6 lb tomatoes, quartered
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped finely
1 medium-large yellow onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, whole and bruised with the back of your knife
1-2 bay leaves

Saute the onions and carrots in 2 TBSP olive oil until soft. Do not let brown. Add the quartered tomatoes and whole garlic cloves (for a more garlicky sauce, chop and add a little later- but I do that as a variation from the jar of this plain stuff). Cover partially and cook over low-medium heat until completely soft, about 45 minutes-1 hour. Now you have 3 options:

Food Mill Option

Put it through a food mill, which is what I did. I love that it separates out the skin and seeds. I’m obsessed. Before I bought my food mill, I pushed it through a sieve. Some of the carrot and onion pieces won’t go through either, that’s okay. The 3rd option is to cool it down a little, and take away at least some of the skins, then blend it all together in a food processor, blender (I burned my chest once this way so prefer to not do this), or hand held blender.

Another option, if you don’t have a food mill and don’t like the other options, is to peel and seed the tomatoes first. How to Peel a Tomato!Do this by boiling a large pot of water. Drop a few tomatoes in the water and boil for just about 30 seconds.
Remove, and dunk into cold water. The skin should come off easily.Cut the tomato in half across the equator and use your finger to dig out the seeds over a colander to reserve the juice. Cut into quarters and cook everything the same as above and blend at the end or food mill it up.

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About Salts Kitchen

I write. I eat. And I cook. I write about what I cook and eat. I love finding new foods, being inspired to make something I've never made, and most of all I love feeding other people things that they have never tried before. I like disproving myths about food and what it means to eat well, to eat healthy, often on a budget, and for some of us- to eat with a bunch of food allergies (and still eat well!).
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One Response to Basic Tomato Sauce (or, the first 6 pounds of 25)

  1. amelia saltsman says:

    Photos do a great job of showing what peeling and seeding should look like!

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