Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting sauced

It's hard to capture how very laden my tomato vines are.
While many tomatoes have ripened, there are still dozens and dozens of green ones that I hope will be ready to pick before the first frost. Even then, I know the harvest will not be done. I'll try the trick of uprooting the vines and hanging them upside-down in my garage, where the fruits can continue to ripen.

Well, I say I'll do that, but it may be tricky with so many sprawly vines tangled up with each other and the trellis.

I've already made one batch of stellar sauce, but it only came out to seven individual portions that I've frozen. So now I'm making more.
I roasted a batch of my own tomatoes and a batch from the farmers market with garden herbs for 10 hours in a 170-degree oven (as low as it will go) until they became a super-concentrated goo (tomato paste, essentially).

I added these to a well-cooked puree of two large onions, four carrots and four celery stalks and about six cloves of garlic, then threw in about eight more pounds of Romas from Costco that I'd peeled, cored and seeded. I also added a box of organic vegetable broth. This has simmered on the stovetop for two days.

This morning I minced and fried a bunch of slab bacon and browned a pound of ground Angus beef, also from the farmers market, and added it to the sauce. It'll cook a few more hours yet. I'll mince some more herbs and cook them in a little, then cool the whole thing and freeze it in small portions.

It takes a lot of time (mostly unattended, happily) to make this sauce, but in the middle of winter I'll be glad for it!

(P.S. This came out to 13 generous portions.)


  1. I froze a bunch whole last year to use in cooking. The littlest ones were super. I canned so much last summer, that I got really tired of processing, so bailed out with whole-freezing. Turned out that was some of the best for later use. Whole peaches, tomatoes, peppers and okra I simply covered with water and froze.


  2. Boy is this a useful post! I've also got lots of green tomatoes but around here (Maryland) we probably won't have a frost until late November so they might have time to ripen on the vine. Your technique ("uprooting the vines and hanging them upside-down in my garage") is great advice and something I've wondered about. I'm not entirely sure that my garage is a squirrel-free zone but I could always wrap the tomatoes in cheesecloth or a similar breathable fabric and that should protect them.

  3. Did you roast the tomatoes whole, or did you peel and slice them? I still have quite a harvest, too.

  4. Dani, I tried freezing a batch whole, but they were a real pain to seed and core when they thawed out. Total mush. So if I do freeze them, I will seed and core first. The skins, at least, do pull off easily after freezing.

    Pam, I've never tried the vine-uprooting method, so I can't guarantee it.But I plan to try!

    Kathi, I cored and seeded first, then roasted the halves. As in this post, where I roasted them for less time at a higher easily when they're done.

  5. Whoops! Lost some text there. Roasted them for a shorter time at a higher temp. The skins peel off easily when they're done.

  6. Sounds delectable! I make tomato chutney a fair bit..sometimes I leave skin on..other times I drop the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute then into iced water and the skin comes off super easy! :D