Well, not exactly from *my* backyard… more like from my local farmer’s backyard. As you all know, the tomatoes in my own yard didn’t take off much this year. We had a lovely crop (and it’s still coming!) which gave us enough tomatoes for fresh salads and straight eating this summer, but not enough of a crop for me to can them into sauce.
Knowing this, my hubby came home one night after work with three huge baskets full of local fresh tomatoes from John’s Island… Now if you are smarter than me, you will not begin to make tomato sauce at 6 PM. Because then you will end up skimping on how long you simmer the sauce down, and you will wind up canning super watery thin sauce like I did. Still tastes good, but very thin.
Learn from my mistakes. Start your sauce out by mid-day so that it can have an afternoon to get as thick as you like it. Oh, and this “recipe” is more like a guide… I didn’t measure any quantities of anything, I just started adding this and that and taste testing along the way. Have fun creating your very own marinara and let me know how many jars you make! I got 15 quarts canned… 8 of them I processed through the water bath and have in my pantry, and 7 of them I just cooled and put in my freezer because it was almost midnight and I couldn’t bear the thought of water bath processing them at that point!!!
Organic Marinara Sauce
1. Take tons of tomatoes… as many as you possibly can gather, and process them for the sauce. You can do this one of two ways. Easy way is to just take half of them and puree them in a blender, coarsely chop up the second half of them, and throw this all in a large stockpot.
*BUT* if you have young kids, chances are this sauce will go over a whole lot better if you remove the seeds and skins from the tomatoes first. So what *I* did, to save myself some complaining from the troops in the long haul, is to use a tomato mill to get the seeds and skins off. You need to soften the tomatoes before running them through the mill, so in batches, just chop up the tomatoes and boil them on the stove for 5 minutes or so until the become mushy. Run them through your tomato mill and use the tomato puree to make your sauce.
2. With all of the tomatoes processed and in the stockpot, add a tablespoon or so of sea salt to start. Add several chopped cloves of garlic, chopped onion, and chosen spices as desired. Here is a list of spices that might taste yummy in your sauce:
salt, and then some more salt (and then more)
fresh garlic, minced
pinch of sugar
3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for several hours, until desired consistency. Taste frequently, adding your final seasonings. In my sauce, I used salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, a speck of sugar, onion, and balsamic vinegar. Yum!
4. Ladle into fresh, hot, clean jars. You can cool them and pop them into your freezer, or process in a hot water bath or pressure canner. I used a hot water bath, adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to each can to ensure acidity (check your canner’s instructions and go according to them, not me) and then processed them for 40 minutes. Like I said, I was up until almost midnight doing this. Pffft. If your clock reads any time after 11:40PM, chuck ‘em all into the freezer, slam the door shut and give it the middle finger, leave the entire kitchen a complete mess for your husband to clean the next day, and get the heck to bed!
Let me know if you give it a try! xoxo