Tomato Sauce from Scratch!

ingredients

Click here to go straight to the recipe.

My coworkers know I don’t use plastic, and so they ask me lots of questions, such as:

“How do you wash your hair?” (Baking soda followed by a cider vinegar rinse.)

A recent midday email from my boss: “How do you take out the trash without a plastic bag?” (I compost and don’t have much trash.)

“Do you cook everything from scratch.” (Yup, pretty much.)

“What do you do for canned tomatoes?” (Deny myself—I was raised Catholic, so it comes naturally.)

Until now, I’ve mostly done without canned tomatoes and other processed tomato products. So, no ketchup (it’s mostly sugar anyway), cans of tomatoes (cans are usually lined with BPA-infused plastic) or cans of tomato sauce (ditto).

But this weekend, tomatoes appeared in the booth of one of my favorite vendors at the farmer’s market, and I decided to try making tomato sauce myself. It was easy! However, for this method, you will require a food mill. (For those of you who don’t own a food mill, rather than suggesting you run out and buy more stuff, for another post I’ll try making tomato sauce without one.)

ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds tomatoes (bought in a reusable cloth produce bag)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil (the butter does have minimal packaging; I try to buy my olive oil in bulk)
  • Half an onion (produce bag again)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste (bought in bulk in a glass container)

Directions

sliced tomatoes

1. Wash, stem and cut tomatoes in half. When I wash veggies, I immerse them in a stainless steel bowl filled with water. (If I have other veggies or fruit to wash, I toss these in next.) This cuts down on water consumption and I water my Bougainvillea outside when I finish cooking.

3 tomatoes in pot

2. Place tomatoes in a pot, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on medium-high for 10 minutes.

I used my le Creuset Dutch oven for this batch. (I love love love my le Creuset pots. I told my coworkers I want to be buried in a le Creuset coffin, but they pointed out that no one would be able to lift it.) For another batch, I used a stainless steel sauce pan. Both pots worked equally well.

tomatoes cooked

The tomatoes will be slightly mushy (but not complete mush) and the pot will contain some liquid.

food mill

3. Attach the disk with the largest holes to the food mill. Transfer the tomatoes and their juice to the food mill set over a large bowl.

slaving away over food mill

tomato skins

 

20140523_185545_4_bestshot

4. Crank the food mill until you have just tomato skins left. This takes only a few minutes.

everything in pot

5. Add processed tomatoes back to the pot, along with the butter (or olive oil), half an onion and salt. Simmer slowly for 45 minutes, stirring once in a while.

When I made a second batch of this with olive oil, I was busy Skyping with my mum in Canada, and I rarely got up from my chair to stir my sauce. She says she can’t talk unless she can see me. I asked her how she used to talk on a telephone.

sauce finis

6. Remove onion and voila! You now have homemade tomato sauce to use in your favorite recipes. Or freeze or refrigerate it for later. It should keep in the fridge for about a week. If you freeze it in a glass jar, use a wide mouth one and make sure to leave an inch or two at the top of the jar so it doesn’t explode as it freezes and expands (I speak from experience).

10 sauce with olive oil

The jar above comes from the second batch with olive oil.

pasta finis

My daughter MK made pasta from scratch while the tomato sauce cooked.

When tomatoes take over the farmer’s market in July, I hope to buy massive amounts, take a couple of days off of work and cook and can tomato sauce so we’ll have plenty in the winter months. (My coworkers won’t be surprised.)

Tomato Sauce

Yields approximately 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • Half an onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

Directions

1. Wash, stem and cut tomatoes in half.

2. Place tomatoes in a pot, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on medium-high for 10 minutes.

3. Attach the disk with the largest holes to the food mill. Transfer the tomatoes and their juice to the food mill set over a large bowl.

4. Crank the food mill until you have just tomato skins left. This takes only a few minutes.

5. Add processed tomatoes back to the pot, along with the butter (or olive oil), half an onion and salt. Simmer slowly for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Remove onion and use sauce in your favorite recipe or freeze or refrigerate it for later. It should keep in the fridge for about a week. If you freeze it in a glass jar, use a wide mouth one and make sure to leave an inch or two at the top of the jar so it doesn’t explode as it freezes and expands.

25 Comment

  1. My mouth is watering… 🙂
    I need to plant tomatoes [and learn how NOT to kill them!] and do this.

    1. That would be so delicious and satisfying to grow the tomatoes yourself 🙂

  2. I’m impressed! And finally I get to see how to properly use a food mill! PS, with that shampoo recipe, do you dilute the apple cider vinegar first? It does seem a bit strong or are you just careful to keep it out of your eyes? I have recently read some things about using this & thought you might be a good person to ask, too! Thanks in advance!

    1. Thank you! The food mill is very easy to use.

      As for the “shampoo,” I dilute the baking soda and the cider vinegar (and yes, be careful not to get it in your eyes–I have and it stings a bit). First, I add about a tablespoon of baking soda to a jar, fill it with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, pour that on my hair and scrub my scalp, run my fingers through my hair and then rinse. I then add just a small amount of cider vinegar to the jar, maybe a teaspoon or less, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, pour that on my head and run my fingers through. I stick my head under the shower head for a millisecond after that (not sure if it’s necessary, but it has been working).

      My older daughter didn’t like this method, but it works so well for me. It costs next to nothing, I have no plastic bottles to dispose of and it makes me just a tiny bit more self reliant…That was a pretty long answer to your question. Let me know if you try it and like it!

  3. […] 15. Tomato sauce. I made this from fresh tomatoes and it’s easy. Here’s the recipe. […]

  4. Thanks!

    1. You’re welcome 🙂

  5. Home made sauce is the best! I have about 24 tomato plants in my garden and can’t wait to make sauce and can it. Enjoying your blog!

    1. I’m jealous! I would love to make tomato sauce with homegrown tomatoes. That’s ideal. I’m glad you enjoy the blog. Thanks for checking it out 🙂

      1. I’m blessed to have two fairly large gardens. Thanks for checking out my blog as well. I look forward to sharing lots and learning lots!

      2. You’re welcome. I look forward to it too 🙂

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  7. Die Lebensmittel Mühle heißt bei uns “Flotte Lotte”

    1. Thank you. I put this into Google translate. Now I know a German word 🙂 My Flotte Lotte works really well.

      1. Ob Gemüse Mühle oder Flotte Lotte,die Hauptsache ist, sie funktioniert gut 🙂

      2. It does work well. It actually belongs to my daughter who is away at university. I think she overlooked it when she packed but I’m not going to mention it 😉

  8. Is it ok to put a normal glass “jam jar” in the freezer? I always assumed you could only use Pyrex (or similar type) glass. That would be so handy! K 🙂

    1. I use all types of jars but stick to wide-mouth ones. I broke a glass bottle once in the freezer by filling it too high with liquid (broth probably). The liquid froze, expanded and broke the bottle cleanly at the top. It was a really nice bottle 🙁 It’s the type of mistake you make only once. Now I stick to wide-mouth for everything. I also prefer wide-mouth because I can reach my hand in to clean them easily.

      1. Many thanks for all the great advice. Agree totally with the cleaning of glass jars- narrow necks are impossible to get squeaky clean 🙂

      2. They really are. I have a bottle brush but I still hate cleaning the narrow-neck ones. They tend to linger in the sink for a while until I finally have no choice but to wash them.

  9. Christine says: Reply

    What can you use if not got a food mill? May sound daft I know! 😀

    1. Hi Christine. That’s not daft at all 🙂 Our food mill belongs to my daughter and I’m sure she’ll reclaim it one of these days. If you don’t have a food mill, in an ideal world, you could first blanch and peel the tomatoes and then remove the seeds. Then I would make the sauce and puree it in a blender. You could skip the peeling and seed removal but I think the sauce would turn out better if you at least peeled the tomatoes.

  10. […] Make more Zero Waste tomato sauce for curries and pasta dishes. Zero Waste Chef has a great recipe! […]

  11. Christine says: Reply

    Are you cooking the tomatoes in water, or is the liquid shown in the cooking pot photo just from the tomatoes themselves? If you did add water for the cooking, how much? I’ve never tried this before and don’t want to burn them by doing it wrong. Thanks.

    1. Hi Christine. I didn’t add any water at all. That liquid is just from the tomatoes. Enjoy! ~ Anne Marie

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