Recently I had another batch of tomatoes that needed to be processed. Too many just for eating, but not large enough for canning. Our garden this season has really suffered from the extreme heat that we had in June. Fortunately we have tomatoes, but they’ve been smaller in quantity and size. To complicate matters, I’d recently taken a nasty fall (flip flops are dangerous!) and standing for long periods of time was impossible. I needed to process but it had to be easy.
Usually at the end of the tomato season I’ve tried everything; sun-dried tomatoes, fried green tomatoes, freezing whole, salsa, even tomato jelly! Actually tomato jelly is very good. I’d never made tomato sauce. I think in the back of my mind I thought it was too hard and time-consuming.
I decided to try using the crock-pot to cook down the tomatoes. This would allow a long cooking time without worrying about watching a pot all day or stirring to prevent burning. I did some research. Did I need to blanch first and remove the skins? Some recommended that’ but these tomatoes were pretty small, so that would be time-consuming and labor intensive. Some recommended leaving the skins in for extra fiber. Some recommended picking the skins out after the tomatoes have cooked down. Because I had to go in town for most of the day, I decided on the simplest method possible.
1. Fill the crock pot 2/3rds full with tomatoes cut in half but skins remaining.
2. Add a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Italian seasoning is a spice mix consisting of Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary, Savory Sage, Oregano and Basil. I could have added onions and garlic, but this was quick and I needed to get going.
3. Put the crock pot on low for 6 hours. If it still looks like there is too much liquid, the lid can be removed slightly for another 30 minutes and it will cook down.
4. I tried to remove a peeling once it was done, but, once again, takes too much time and effort. I got out my immersion blender and waala! Perfect!
5. Instead of canning the results, I froze and wrote down the quantity and dated the bag.
Not only was this easy, it tasted great. It’s always nice to know what is going into your food. You can control the salt and the contents. I ended up with 7 1/2 cups of sauce. Well worth the effort.