Sunday, September 7, 2014

When Life Throws Tomatoes, Make Sauce!

Let's just say today's blog will be
in the kitchen!
The temperature was so perfect today! I had my whole day planned out the second my feet hit the floor! Then I received the text, “I have tomatoes for you; when shall we meet?”

Let’s back up a few months….I didn’t have much of a garden this year.  There were many contributing factors but I will save them for another blog. Anyhow, when it came time for canning certain things this summer, I wasn’t able to pull from my own garden; I had to use my farmer friends’ fresh produce.  They have been happy to both sell and share, but I have missed my daily tromp off the back deck to go gather a handful of something (green beans, cherry tomatoes, etc.) to eat while I work!
Box one was loaded onto the truck

When my friend mentioned he had tomatoes for me, I had no idea that HE HAD TOMATOES FOR ME!

Yup! .....another.......

Over 100 pounds went into my truck……And, there were plenty more where those had come from! He had planted over 500 tomato plants this year and was having more than enough to eat, sell, and give away!
Fresh Mozzarella!

All I had wanted were a few tomatoes to enjoy with my fresh Mozzarella di Bufala. I had finally found a place that sold wonderfully moist cheese.....not that horrid stuff from Kraft. 

The thought of a cold Insalata Caprese with fresh, garden grown garlic and basil had started my mouth watering.  

Garden fresh basil to go with my
Insalata Caprese.....perfecto!
My herb garden is filled with annuals
and perennials. I love walking past and
getting a whiff of the oregano or plucking off a leaf or two of basil and rubbing it between my hands.....
that Mediterranean smell conjures up so many wonderful childhood memories.
I think if a body lotion came in the fragrance of "Basil", I'd buy it!  lol!

Boxes (large boxes) were being placed in my truck. To top it off, onions were being loaded into my truck, too!  I finally found the words to say, “whoa”.

Gorgeous onions smelled heavenly!!
My mind began to race and I came up with the idea to try tomato sauce this year.  Every year we do make salsa for ourselves and to give away. We love how “fresh” it tastes.  So, canning with tomatoes wasn’t foreign to me.  And, I always make sauce from scratch when we have it for supper, but I make as I need basis. The thought of how to work with this many tomatoes in my kitchen at one time was a bit daunting!

The Roma tomatoes looked and felt perfect!
Slashed mud never hurt anything!

I thanked him and headed home.  Wow! The rest of my day was spoken for!!

I used the wheelbarrow to transport
them to the house. I had sprained my
elbow a few weeks ago and the
thought of carrying those boxes
made me shudder!

I searched through cookbooks, canning books, family recipes, and on-line tips.  Then, I decided to call my Grandmother.  I should’ve done that first!  I enjoyed our conversation reminiscing about her canning days. She explained that both she and my great-grandmother had used Ball’s Blue Book of Preserving.  She was surprised to hear that I have and use that same book.  We compared notes, and I finally decided on the one I am sharing. 

Famous Book!

Nana’s Tomato Sauce

Yield: about 16 pints or 8 quarts
50 lbs tomatoes
6 cups chopped onions
12 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon black pepper
Bottled lemon juice
Fresh Oregano from the garden is wonderful!

Wash tomatoes; drain.  Remove core and blossom ends.  Cut into quarters; set aside.  Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepot.  Add tomatoes, oregano, black pepper. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Puree tomatoes using a food processor.  Strain puree to remove peels and seeds. Cook pulp in a large, uncovered saucepot over medium high heat until sauce thickens. Stir to prevent sticking.

Add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each pint jar (2 tablespoons to each quart jar).  Ladle hot tomato sauce into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process pints for 35 minutes (quarts for 40 minutes) in a boiling-water canner.

braided rope of garlic
to hang in kitchen

If anyone has a recipe that they would like to recommend or share, please do so!  



  1. I am trying to print off some of your blogs, but am having trouble. This one I must have.

  2. Thank you. I am glad you are enjoying them.