Over the past few months,I have filled my wheel barrel with vegetables more times than I can count.
My patience with the tomatoes proved fruitful. I still have boxes of tomatoes in the garage waiting to be canned, frozen, or cooked down into more marinara sauce.
You’ve probably noticed I’ve been absent from my blog. I didn’t want to waste a thing from the gardens. I’ve been freezing, canning, dehydrating, cooking, and baking.
I started with a small batch of tomatoes, and I made some marinara to freeze.
First I rinse the tomatoes. I never use chemicals in the garden, so the rinsing is simply to remove loose dust.
I then cut a small x-slit in the bottom of the tomatoes.
Next, I drop them–approx. 6-8 at a time— into boiling water. I replace the lid and leave in for about 2-3 minutes. I work in batches.
I quickly remove the tomatoes and drop them into a large bowl filled with water and ice cubes. The skins will slip right off with a bit of a rubbing, and then I plop the peeled tomatoes into the food processor. You may chop them if you do not have a food processor. Some people simply throw them in the pan and allow to cook down and break up with a wooden spoon–this will give you a chunky sauce.
Now I have my smoothly chopped tomatoes ready to cook down. Some people choose to remove the seeds with a seive, but Mark and I don’t mind them. I have tried it both ways, and really don’t notice the bitterness some people do.
I toss a few minced cloves of garlic and some crushed red pepper flakes (opt) into about 1/4 cup heated of olive oil.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Toss in some fresh chopped basil and any other seasonings. You may also add salt and a little sugar if you like. I keep it simple in order to make it work later in a variety of dishes.
Freeze in 2 cup containers.
This batch made about 8 cups of marinara sauce.
I serve it re-heated over cooked pasta and top with fresh grated parmesan reggiano, over chicken parmesan, use it as a soup base for minestrone or other soups, you can add cream for creamy tomato soup, add oregano and a bit of sugar for pizza sauce, and a variety of other recipes–be creative. Don’t forget a glass of vino!
NOTE: Italian plum tomatoes are best for sauces, but I use plum mixed with my Early Girls. My plum varieties include: Juliet and Mama Mia’s.