I have made sauce out of three, 5-gallon buckets of tomato “seconds” from our CSA.
If you’ve never made tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, you might imagine that I now have somewhere around a bucket of tomato sauce tucked away in quart jars around my house. Nope.
Tomatoes, very much like apples, have a high water content. In fact, according to livestrong.com, red tomatoes are about 94% water. This means that when they are cooked they shrink A LOT as most of that water escapes through the vent over the stove.
At the beginning of the summer I made some canning plans. The overall goal is to feed the family locally-sourced, nutrient-dense food for as much of the year as possible. My kids don’t love tomato sauce on their pasta (yet), but they do love pizza and they like to use pizza sauce for dipping their other, less desirable foods. And we all like tomato-based foods (chili, lasagna, sloppy joes, baked ziti, etc.). One of the things my mom taught me when I moved into my first apartment was how to stock a pantry with the building blocks of most recipes (thank you, mom!!). She included canned tomato sauce, tomato paste, and canned tomatoes in her list. She was right.
So anyway, back to my canning planning. I really don’t know how much tomato sauce we’ll go through, but I’m thinking that about a pint per week is probably enough. That’s about 26 qts. So far, I think I have 18 pints put up. I’ll be able to add a few more to the total tomorrow – I’ve found another local farmer looking to unload some less-than-beautiful tomatoes!
If making giant pots of tomato sauce in the late summer and early fall isn’t your thing, there are other ways to preserve them:
- Freezing whole – this couldn’t be easier.
- canning whole – the process of blanching and peeling tomatoes is something I really don’t enjoy. the best tomatoes for this are roma tomatoes because they hold their shape well.