Tula Mae Homestead

Small Batch Tomato Sauce

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We’ve had insanely hot weather here in Vermont recently–like in the 90’s and crazy humidity!  It was like, all at once my tomatoes, decided that TODAY WAS THE DAY!  They were destined to be ripe!  Well…they all didn’t decide that at once, which is why this is a small batch recipe.  I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes, some Cherokee purples, and random Better Boys from both our farmer’s market and garden.  Some ripened super quickly and needed to be used immediately.  Genius idea–small batch tomato sauce!  Now…when I saw tomato sauce, I mean just tomatoes.  The stuff you put on pasta is pasta sauce and, while I do have a butt kickin’ recipe for that, it’s not something I can do on a school night.

One of the places I go to for most of my questions is my Instagram community.  We’ve cultivated this great group of homesteaders from around the globe and varying in experience.  They are my go-to peeps.  While I could easily ask Google my questions, I much prefer seeking advice from someone I “know.”  I have a fabulous friend who introduced me to THE BIGGEST tomato sauce hack–the Crock Pot.  Y’all…I am a sucker for the Crock Pot.  There are three in my house, all with their own purpose.  I am also pretty lazy when it comes to kitchen things.  There are recipes I do that take time and I am willing to put it in for the amazing outcome.  But…I’m not standing over a stove reducing tomatoes down after skinning them on a hot September day.  Just ain’t doin’ it!  So, let me clue you in on a game changer:  wash your tomatoes, quarter them, and throw them in the pot.  I can hear y’all gasping to yourself while you mentally go over the painstaking task that is peeling tomatoes in your head.  Don’t bother!

Lookit that right there!  I didn’t even cut some of them up!  Heck, there’s a couple that I picked a wee bit too early and are still a little green!  Trust me, throw them in there skins and all!  The tomatoes slow cooked from about 8 p.m. to about 6 a.m. on low with the top on.  This is the glorious sight I woke up to:

I know it doesn’t look like much, but just hang in there.  Now…these will be SUPER watery.  What you want to do is turn your lid so that it’s not completely covering the crock. I honestly just turn it completely the other way and let a bunch of steam out.  For this recipe, I kept it on low from about 6 a.m. until I got home from work at around 4.  Don’t worry about it burning a lot, there is enough juice in there and with the Crock Pot on low, you will be fine!

Not much to look at, I know.  I ended up taking my ladle and scooping out as much liquid as I could.  Next, bust out your trusty food processor/blender/etc and dump those maters in!

I whir it around until I am satisfied.  I am a huge texture person and the skins literally just disintegrate in the food processor!

Now, there are still seeds and stuff so if that bugs you, by all means strain that sucker through a fine sieve.  My family isn’t too picky, so I just skip that step!  I ended up just using a quart and half pint mason jar to freeze the tomato sauce in (leave about 1/2″ of headspace)  I let the jars cool on the counter so I didn’t have a tomato sauce explosion to clean up in the freezer.

Because this is strictly just tomato sauce, it could be turned into a variety of different things.  I do love making a huge batch of pasta sauce and processing it, but it’s also nice to have the plain stuff around.  I make ketchup, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and add it to soups.  It’s definitely a handy recipe to have when you’ve got a small amount of tomatoes about to turn on your counter.  Nothing tastes better than fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes!

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