So far, our tomatoes have allowed us to can whole tomatoes, salsa, pizza sauce, marinara sauce, tomato sauce and ketchup. Okay, the ketchup was kind of a bust. It was the first time we have attempted anything like that (I'm new to the canning/freezing world), and although I love to make my own foods, it's safe to say that ketchup is not really worth making in our own kitchen. Eight pounds of tomatoes yielded maybe 6-8 ounces of ketchup when it was all said and done -- two tiny containers that I plopped in the freezer. There's nothing more dissatisfying than putting a lot of time, energy and physical labor into a project only to get a tiny bit of product in the end.
For those of you out there looking to use seasonal ingredients to make large batches of sauces for freezing, here's a great pizza sauce recipe. We love making homemade pizzas here, and now I'm so glad I have cans of homemade pizza sauce at my finger tips (instead of having to make it each time I make a pizza). Although time-consuming for a day, making this up and freezing or canning the portions ultimately saves you time down the road. So roll up your sleeves, grab a large bucket of tomatoes and get cooking!
Pizza Sauce -- Bulk Recipe for Canning/Freezing
Yield 5-6 pints
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 T. garlic, minced
12 oz. tomato paste
8 cups tomatoes, seeded and pulsed in a food processor *(see note)
2 T. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 T. sugar
1 T. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1. Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add onion and cook until softened, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook about 1 minute until lightly brown and fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, sugar, salt, and pepper.
2. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to cook uncovered at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened to desired consistency, 1-2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. If freezing: allow sauce to cool for 30 minutes, place into freezer containers, chill in the refrigerator then freeze.
If canning: follow instructions for your pressure cooker.
*If desired, tomatoes can also be peeled before being processed. To do so, bring a large stock pot with water to a low boil. Meanwhile, fill a clean sink with ice water and score the bottom of the tomatoes with an"X" using a sharp knife. Place a few tomatoes into the boiling water at a time. Allow to cook for 30-60 seconds until skins start to peel away or crack. Remove tomatoes and place in sink filled with ice water. Repeat until all the tomatoes have been blanched. Using a paring knife, easily peel the skin off the tomatoes.