Tina Ferris is a freelance writer, teacher, and creator of the recipe journal, More Please Recipes. Her photographs and recipe selections are inspiring and reflect a deep love and respect for whole ingredients and slow cooking methods. Currently, Tina is developing content for a new blog centered on unprocessed foods and products due to go live at the beginning of the new year. You can reach her through her Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest pages.
From-scratch tomato sauce is an absolute necessity in my home. It’s great to have tomato sauce on hand when making pasta dishes, soups, or chilis. And the best thing about this recipe is that you know exactly where every ingredient came from. Often times, grocery store tomato sauce offerings (even the organic ones) are filled with sodium and (for the non-organic ones) even sugar. Other bizarre ingredients that can be found in tomato sauce include high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and natural flavors. One of the most important reasons to eat unprocessed is that it’s a simple demonstration that you are a well-informed consumer. Simply put: why would anyone eat weird ingredients they’ve never heard of when they could eat unprocessed?
With an ingredient list like water, tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and optional olive oil, you can be certain this recipe is entirely in your hands. To make sure it is even more unprocessed during your October challenge, select organic, pesticide-free tomatoes from your local farmers market. They will taste better and be super fresh. They may even be cheaper if you select “old uglies” as my favorite farmer describes them. These are the types of tomatoes that maybe fell off the stem a bit earlier, are bruised, or are so ripe they are about to burst. These are the tomatoes you want. If your “old uglies” are abundant, opt specifically for roma tomatoes for your sauce. Roma tomatoes contain a small amount of seeds and are very meaty.
As for equipment, you’ll need a stockpot of boiling water, tongs, large bowl for ice bath, and a large skillet. The taste of this sauce is pure, a bit like sunshine, and something you can feel good about eating gobs of.
This recipe is really a tomato sauce base. The amount shown here only yields a small batch of about four cups. But, the more you make, you can jar it for the future and freeze it. When you’re ready, reheat it on the stovetop with your favorite spices or just use it plain.
- 4-5 pounds very ripe tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
- Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.
- One by one, use tongs to place each tomato into the boiling water. Leave each tomato for about 30-45 seconds. Then, use tongs to remove each tomato and place immediately into an ice water bath in a large bowl.
- This is my favorite part. The skins of the tomatoes will crack and start to peel; all you have to do is simply peel the skins off completely. (You can save these skins to make your own hearty tomato paste!)
- Using a knife, quarter each of the tomatoes and cut away ant of the hard pieces.
- Now, it's time to squeeze out the seeds and excess water. Place an empty bowl on your work surface and squeeze out the seeds and liquid. Place the drained tomatoes in a strainer and allow them to strain longer. Don’t worry if you don’t get every seed out. The point is not perfection; the point is rustic, homemade goodness.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Place the tomatoes in the skillet and bring to a boil.
- Bring the heat down to a simmer. There is no need to break apart the tomatoes. Over time, they will simmer down and break apart. Simmer for at least 45 minutes. You may simmer longer depending on your desired thickness. Less time results in a chunkier sauce whereas more time will result in a thinner one. At the end, finish it off with a pinch of organic sea salt and stir it in. Enjoy!