Thursday, August 11, 2011

Freezer Tomato Sauce

When August arrives the tomatoes come in heavy.  So do the squash, eggplant, and peppers. Rather than canning tomatoes or tomato sauce, we make a ratatouille and freeze it in one quart containers.  We don't cook it down at this point, while the weather is hot.  In the winter when the wood cookstove is going, we thaw out two or three quarts of ratatouille, cook it down to the consistency of tomato sauce and use it on pasta or homemade pizza.

Also we don't add the garlic or other herbs to the mix before freezing, as freezing degrades their quality.

Here is the process we use.  We use whatever vegetables we need to process, rather than following an exact recipe.

First of all we parboil the tomatoes by cooking them
for 45 seconds in rapidly boiling water.

The skins become very loose in the parboiling process.  Once they are cool enough to handle, cut out the stem area and green "shoulders," and slip off the skins. 

Cut the tomato into quarters and hold over the compost bucket. With your thumb, push out the seeds and liquid.

Cut you tomato quarters into chunks and add them to a large saucepan or dutch oven. Start cooking your tomatoes down over medium heat,
stirring often to avoid scorching.

Adding shredded zucchini will help to thicken the sauce.

Add cubed eggplant, sliced summer squash, chopped onions and peppers.  Cook down till vegetables are heated through but still somewhat crunchy.
Now you have a great basis for ratatouille or marinara sauce.  Allow to cool and then pack into containers and freeze.  When winter comes, add minced garlic, dried oregano and basil, and cook down to the consistency you like for tomato sauce.  Make use of the cooking down energy to heat your home!


alyssa said...

Jane, what variety of tomato do you use? The tomatoes you served with burgers at Jesstock last year were divine...I still think about them!

Jane said...

Last year we grew quite a variety of tomatoes. For slicing, on a sandwich or burger, I'm pretty sure it would've been "Brandywine" or "Cosmonaut Volkov." The latter is a Ukranian heirloom named after a Russian cosmonaut who is no longer with us.

"Brandywine" is famous for being the winner of the blind-folded taste test conducted by Mr. Collins on a bunch of Jess' teen-aged friends, back in the day.

alyssa said...

aha, well it was a show stopper at Jessstock!
you should become friends on facebook with "Open Air Modern", mine and my boyfriend's shop in Brooklyn--we have a great big container garden and grew huge cherry tomato plants, eggplant, broccoli, etc and have posted lots of photos! I think youll enjoy!