Saturday, August 28, 2010

Preserving the Harvest: Tomato Sauce

I began yesterday morning sorting through the tomatoes on the windowsill and counter pulling out the ones that are ripe. I washed them well, pulled the stems and piled them up for processing into sauce later in the day. I also grabbed a few of the frozen gallon bags of tomatoes from the downstairs chest freezer and placed them in the sink to thaw out:

We ran a few errands, did some groceries, and picked up some more freezer containers and canning jars for the weekend.

Once the groceries were put away, I chopped some garlic and onions and set them aside while we got busy with the tomatoes.

Have I mentioned that I love my new food strainer? It really cuts down on a lot of steps to making sauce. All I do is cut the raw tomatoes into small chunks and crank them through the strainer. The skins, seeds are separated out from the juice and pulp. Mine is a Victorio Food & Vegetable Strainer, but there are other similar products:

I got busy cutting up the tomatoes, and K cranked them through the strainer. It took about an hour to process all the tomatoes into juice and pulp and it filled my two largest pots. The house smelled so good as the sauce simmered all day and into the evening. It cooled overnight and was transferred into freezer containers this morning and stored in our chest freezer downstairs.

There are still a lot of tomatoes on the counter and more coming in each day. Another batch of sauce will be canned later for longer storage. I am also planning on making some salsa and a batch of ketchup.

First, I’ll be making a batch of relish and canning some of the bean harvest that came in this week.


  1. Welcome to my world ;-)

    Actually, I've ripped out all of my heavy producers, and our nights have cooled down, so production here is finally manageable. I'm actually having tomato withdrawals. I do think I'll have to invest in a Victorio strainer next year.

  2. I so love my strainer too. I've had it pretty much forever, but I don't know what I'd do without it. I actually cook my tomatoes a bit before I send them through (though not dethawed ones). It makes them mushier and they go through really fast. I suppose if I had someone on the crank it wouldn't matter. I've occasionally dreamed of one that has an electric crank so I can chop and just toss them in and have them finished by the time the next tomato gets tossed in. That would make things go so fast. My husband is not into such things so I have to crank my own.

  3. That strainer looks like a fine tool. If only I had enough tomatoes to bother with. If I keep freezing them in dribs and drabs, maybe it will help. I like Daphne's self-cranking idea. Wonder if Kitchenaid has an attachment. . .

  4. A strainer like that would certainly be a big help to my sauce making efforts, and maybe i'll get one from santa...That would be nice! I'm amazed at how many perfectly ripe tomatoes you have - as mine just ripen in spurts.

  5. Granny: I have just begun preserving this year. The tomato plants have stopped growing, but they are filled with fruit that is ripening a bucketful at a time. The strainer is great, you can use it for apple sauce too and purchase additional attachment including a berry screen that screens out small seeds for jelly making.

    Daphne: I was so thankful that K volunteered to help. He thought the strainer was cool and didn’t mind cranking it for me as I chopped. It was fun to have him involved for a little while.

    Stefaneener: I planned on a lot of tomatoes for sauce making. Last year I didn’t have a single ripe tomato, so I am so happy to have some this year to try out the new strainer. Kitchenaid DOES have an attachment.

    EG: My parents always ask for a Christmas list, so I put the strainer on the list last year. I haven’t been able to use it until now, but I love it! There are also a kit that you can purchase separately with a berry screen that screens out small seeds, a salsa screen that chunks up the tomatoes a little larger, a grape spiral that screens out seeds and skins, and a pumpkin/squash screen.

  6. You are getting a great tomato yield this year! The strainer will certainly come in handy. I've wanted one of them for a couple seasons now. They can be used for so many things!

  7. Oh you guys with your big tomato harvest make me so envious. I had my first experience with tomato growing this year, and I hope to grow lots more next year (more variety and plants) so I can try my hand at tomato processing. I'm making small progress in the garden, but I'm dreaming big! :) I've actually been looking at some strainers on the internet the last couple of days, and came across something that looked very similar to yours. Glad to hear that it's working well for you!

  8. Cool strainer! I'm going to have to pick up one of those for next year because I plan on having a lot more tomatoes!

  9. Dan: I am very excited about the tomato yield this year especially after not harvesting a single tomato from the garden last year. The strainer is such a nifty gadget. I am amazed at how easy it is to use.

  10. Thyme2garden: I didn’t start out with so many tomato plants when I first began gardening. I don’t like tomatoes, so my garden didn’t have ANY tomato plants at first. I DO like tomato sauce and salsa, so most of my tomato growing effort is for preserving enough sauce and salsa to get us through the winter.

    Kimmi: The strainer is such a time saver if you are planning on processing a lot of tomatoes. The strainer can also be used for other things as well.