Tomato Time

Tomatoes are my favorite garden vegetable to grow. They're my favorite for a couple of reasons: firstly because I enjoy eating them raw or in almost any preparation, and secondly, after the initial planting they are almost worry free...give them sun and water and you're guaranteed a good crop by August. At any rate, I always seem to plant too many and get a little overwhelmed when they all start to ripen at once...faster than I can consume them. So for the past 5 years or so I've started making a large batch of basic tomato sauce and freezing it, and it usually lasts most of the winter. The flavor is incredible. I usually season it lightly with onion, a couple peppers, garlic, salt, fennel, basil, and a little sugar. This way if I want to use it in another application (such as an Indian dish, or Cajun, or Lebanese) the flavors are mild enough that I can adapt it.

Anyhow, the process goes something like this: pick and wash the tomatoes, cut them into large pieces. I used to peel painstakingly peel them, but I found that using a blender the peels puree fine (and supposedly the skins are where most the nutrients reside). I then simmer them down in a large pot, add sauteed onions, garlic, and other seasonings, and puree it. The texture of a homemade sauce made with fresh tomatoes is so much different than that of canned's almost fluffy. I then package it and freeze it. Then when it's in the middle of a bitter Buffalo winter I'm able to eat tomato sauce and remember the dog days of summer.