Thursday, 10 November 2011

How to make home made tomato sauce! Yum!

My Father-in-Law, as it turns out, has no problems growing tomato's and gave me a bagful last time I dropped in for a cuppa. I wasn't going to use that many, even in salads, before they went off and so I decided to whip up a batch of tomato sauce!

I loosely follow the Edmond's Cookbook recipe for tomato sauce, (link to recipe here) and since I didn't have 8 pounds (or even 3 kilos) of tomatoes, I made it by feel.

Here's what I did...

I chopped up all the tomato's and popped them in the pot - all of them the green, the bruised and the ugly! But cut out the cores and took of the leaves and the green calyx.

I didn't weigh these, which was a bit slack, but I'm guessing there was about 1-1.5 kilos of tomato's in my bag. I put in a splash of malt vinegar - maybe a 1/4 -1/2 cup and started it boiling. The tomatoes will mush down - so don't add too much liquid at this stage. I had discovered I didn't have any apples and so would need the body of the tomatoes to provide the viscosity or thickness of the sauce. 

Them I peeled and diced 2 medium sized onions and 2 cloves of garlic - If you love garlic - go for it and pop in a few more cloves!

Fairly quickly, you end up with lots of yummy smells in the house - at this point I added 1/2 teaspoon of cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon, quite a few grinds of pepper, 2 teaspoons of salt and a tablespoon of sugar. (You'll need the sugar too balance the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar) But dont panic too much at this point about how much what to put in. When its about to be bottled is the best time to taste it and adjust the seasonings.

While the pot is lightly bubbling away - don't forget to stir it a lot so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot - wash out a couple of bottles to put the sauce in when its ready.

I pop mine into the microwave to sterilize and heat up. I put in as much water as I can with the bottle on its side and then zap it for 2 minutes. The water boils away merrily inside and the steam and heat do the sterilising without any real mess! When you pull your bottle out of the microwave, it will be incredibly hot. Use a tea towel or oven gloves to remove it.

Once you have mush, you will need to remove the skins and render the whole pot  into a lumpless sauce.

I have the most wonderful invention called a Mouli. Have a look at a mouli here! You put the sauce in the top with a ladle and turn the handle and you get this out of the bottom. - It crushes the onion, tomatoes, garlic and herbs through tiny holes and makes your sauce smooth and lumpless. If you don't have a mouli or a neighbour with one, check out the second hand shops or simply use a colander and wooden spoon to mash it up through - it will just take longer. if you don't, you will have the skins and seeds in the sauce, along with the diced garlic and onion... not quite like Mr Heinz and Mr Watties turns out! 

Place your nice hot bottle close to the pot, pop a funnel in the top and start ladling the hot sauce into the hot bottle. If you bottle is cold, the hot sauce will make it crack. They both need to be bottled hot to avoid cracking the glass and to maintain the sterilisation of the sauce.

Watch the level of the sauce carefully when you get to the top, as the hot sauce may overflow out of the bottle if there too much in the funnel and not enough room left in the bottle. Its a waste of your lovely sauce and really hot and messy to clean up.

So I got 1 1/2 bottles (750ml) out of a kilo or so of tomatoes - if you popped in up to 4 medium apples (cored and diced) in as well you'd have got the full 1.5 litres I reckon. Pop the lids on and screw them on tight. Wash the bottle if you split any sauce on the outside and leave them to cool for a few hours.  

Pop a label onto them with the date and store in your pantry or larder until opened. Once opened, store in the refrigerator.

Score card:
: 5/5 Homegrown vege glut preserved in recycled bottles for later - VERY Green!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 Cost was really a handful of spices, a couple of onions and a splash of vinegar. Bits that we all usually have in the cupboard
Time cost: 1-2 hours all up and managed to clean out the fridge at the same time!
Skill level: Fairly easy, if you like to cook.
Fun-ness: Good fun! Love making sauces!!! You cant go wrong - plenty of opportunity to correct the taste. 

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