Anyway. For those of you who haven't noticed, it's August (already!). What does August mean? Tomatoes! Technically the tail-end of the tomato season, especially considering the crazy heat we've been having in Oklahoma. But that just means there are lots and lots of delicious, juicy, but maybe not completely perfect tomatoes available at the Farmer's Market (and perhaps in a backyard near you)!
I love tomatoes. I tend to buy pounds and pounds of them this time of year--pounds and pounds that I can't possibly eat before they dissolve into icky tomato mush.
So I turn them into a basic tomato sauce for freezing. Fast, simple, no messing around with canning and acidity levels and botulism. I have plenty of room in my freezer for a few flat baggies of sauce. Because the sauce is unseasoned, it can be used in all kinds of recipes later--to add a tomatoey punch to taco meat, summer flavor to tomato soup, or, of course, as the base for all kinds of pasta sauces.
If canning intimidates you but you want to store up some of that summer-fresh produce for winter, do this. Trust me.
Just Tomatoes Sauce for Freezing
Adapted from this recipe at The Girl's Guide to Guns and Butter.
And by adapted, I actually mean that mine's just a smaller batch, I think.
Start with some tomatoes. It doesn't really matter how many you have; this will work fine with two pounds or ten, so long as you have an appropriately-sized pot.
Core the tomatoes and chop them into pieces. Large bite-sized pieces are about right; this might be quarters or eighths or halves, depending on how big your tomatoes are. Feel free to toss grape tomatoes in whole.
De-seed the tomatoes if you want, though I like them left in. Don't worry about the peels, as those will be shredded when you blend them anyway.
Add just a splash or two of water. You want enough to help the cooking get started, not dilute the flavor.
|Not much water at all.|
|About halfway done.|
The tomatoes should break down and get juicy (I told you you didn't need to add much water), but shouldn't cook down or get thick.
To use a regular blender or food processor, pour your cooked and somewhat cooled tomatoes into said appliance and blend until smooth.
If you have an immersion blender (and you should, if you like sauces and soups and all other kinds of things), you can blend right in the pot. Or you can pour the cooked tomatoes into a bowl that's better shaped for pouring; this will make it easier to pour your sauce into plastic bags for freezing.
Once the sauce is fully cooled, you're ready to bag and freeze it. You'll need freezer bags, not just storage bags. These use a thicker plastic and a better seal to keep everything fresh and tasty in the freezer.
You could always use plastic or glass containers with lids, too, of course, making sure to leave plenty of headroom for when the liquid expands as it freezes. I like plastic bags because they freeze flat and airtight, making them easy to store and keeping the sauce from getting freezer-burn.
Label your bag with the contents, amount, and date (so, not anything like the one in the picture).
|You will want to label your bag better than this.|
|Cup o' sauce.|
Seal the bag, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Then shimmy it around so it lies flat, like so:
|Flat for storage.|
And that's it! You now have summer-fresh tomato sauce for all your winter cooking needs.