The end of August/beginning-mid September is the typical moment of the year when tomato sauce is made 🙂
It’s the best way to be able to make great pasta recipes also during the winter 🙂 and it’s a looong work! Count to use a whole day for that, in my case we did it this Sunday.
First of all you have to carefully choose the tomatoes: of course the best is if you use your own tomatoes from your own garden (as my parents and grandmother do in Italy), that has also the best value obviously, otherwise choose carefully fully ripe tomatoes, and not the types which are too watery (you’ll lose more weight).
The best in my opinion are the San Marzano type, here in Hungary I use to do it with the Lucullus type, easier to find here. But obviously other types are good too, the important thing is that they must be ripe.
I’ll tell you soon that if you count the time and also the gas I’m not sure if it’s economically worth it 🙂 especially if you have to buy the tomatoes and if I consider for example the price in Italy of a Mutti tomato sauce (one of the best Italian industrial brands), well, it’s not so much different 😀 but the main reason to do it at home is for personal satisfaction, to know which tomatoes you use and to know that there are no preservatives/additives (well, I noticed that this is a thing in some not Italian brands, but in Italy most of the main brands use just tomato and maybe but not always just a bit of salt, but no preservatives because they are simply not needed if you work correctly). And for me that’s rewarding enough 🙂
We usually use about 15-20 kg of tomatoes and I usually add a basil leaf in each bottle, as tradition in many areas in southern Italy. Someone like to add already also some flavors like onions, carrots, celery, but in that case you’ll have less freedom in the future recipes, moreover those vegetables are available all year long so I don’t like to add any. I also don’t use salt, I’ll add it when I will use the sauce.
Consider that you will lose some of the original weight: usually I noticed that the final tomato sauce yields between 45% and 60% of the original tomatoes weight, depending on what kind of tomato you use and how much ripe they are.
Let’s see how to make it.
- Ripe tomatoes, that’s all 🙂
- fresh basil leaves (optional)
- First of all you have to carefully wash the tomatoes.
- Then cut them in big pieces and put them in the biggest pots you have.
- Start boiling them at middle heat, and keep mixing them regularly. They are ready to be squeezed on a tomato press (or a vegetable mill if you don’t have it) when the peels can be removed easily from the pulp. For me it took about 20 minutes.
- Then you have to squeeze the tomatoes in the machine and obtain the “passata”, removing peels and seeds. I use to re-pass the peels another time so I can extract really everything from the pulp.
- Now collect your liquid “passata” and put it again in the pots. Boil it until you reach a good thickness. I did it in 3-4 times using a large pan with high sides, in this case the larger surface makes the liquids evaporate faster. I boil it for other 25-35 minutes about (again, depending on the tomatoes), at medium/high heat.
- While boiling the tomato sauce you have to sterilize the bottles (I do it in the dish washer).
- Now that the sauce is thick at the right point you can put it in the jars/bottles. Before I added 1-2 leaves of fresh basil in each bottle.
- Fill the bottles until about 2 cm from the edge, and take care not to make dirty the edge.
- Close well the bottles.
- Now we have to pasteurize the bottles. Take again your larger pots, fill them with cold water and place the bottles containing your tomato sauce inside. The water must cover the bottles. I suggest you to put some towels between them so they will not brake while moving. Switch on the heat and count 30-40 minutes from the moment the water starts to boil.
- Then switch off and let the bottles cool down inside the pots, all night long in my case.
- Your homemade tomato sauce is finally ready 🙂 a correct “passata di pomodoro” should be perfectly homogeneous and you shouldn’t have separated liquids staying on the top of the bottle and the pulp staying on the bottom. Store it in a cool room and enjoy it in the next winter 🙂
There are a couple of other good methods too, maybe I’ll show them next year 🙂