Monday, August 18, 2014

Homegrown Garlic and Herb Tomato Sauce

I have never been a big fan of summer, but growing and preserving food has given me a new perspective on the season.  An in-season fresh tomato does not compare to a store bought tomato, bred for transport, harvested green and ripened with ethylene gas.  I love putting in time over the summer to capture that freshness to enjoy later in the year.

This was my most successful garden attempt in Georgia, which is fitting since it is my last garden attempt in Georgia (we will be moving this autumn).  I started most everything from seed, transplanted the seedlings and direct sowed the rest.  I picked off pests by hand and fertilized with composted chicken manure and Neptune's Harvest.

Tomato Hornworm that got away from me 
Bigger than Colin!

The tomatoes, squash and green beans produced nicely, the cucumbers did alright and the peppers lagged behind, producing a few fruits.


The tomatoes are my favorite part and I am so glad they did and are doing so well.  We have many tomato centered dinners these days or just have them on the side.  When it starts to seem that there are too many tomatoes, I know it's time to make sauce.  I keep this one simple with fresh herbs and garlic.  This batch was destined for lasagna, but it would go equally well on pasta or pizza.

Homegrown Garlic and Herb Tomato Sauce
Yield 1 Quart

5 pounds Plum or Paste* Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 small Red Onion, 2 ounces, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 sprig Rosemary
2 sprigs of Thyme
1 teaspoon Honey
12 fresh Basil Leaves, cut or sliced into thin strips
1/4 teaspoon Salt or more to taste
Pepper to taste

1. Wash, core and crush the tomatoes into a dutch oven or large stock pot set over medium heat.

2. Once all the tomatoes are in the pot, increase the heat to high and bring the tomatoes to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the tomatoes for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Ready to puree

3. Run the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the seeds and skins or process in a food processor and press through a fine mesh strainer.  Collect the puree in a large measuring cup or bowl.

Ready to get saucy
4. Heat the oil in your now empty pot over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the diced onion and cook until translucent and starting to brown, about 7 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5. Add the vinegar to loosen up any brown bits, scrape those up with your spoon or spatula.  Return the tomato puree to the pot along with the rosemary and thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low.

Cooking down
6. After 30 minutes, remove the rosemary.  Continue to cook until sauce is thickened, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Remove any thyme twigs left in the sauce, add the honey, basil, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Enjoy!

Fresh sauce for lasagna

*If you want to make this recipe but you only have slicing tomatoes, go for it!  The yield may be less but the sauce will still be delicious.

Shared at Clever Chicks Blog Hop and Eating Inside the Box.

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