Home Made Tomato Sauce

My Dad used to make huge batches of his own tomato sauce when we were little. Might not sound unusual if you’re from Italian or some such heritage. But we’re not and Dad never really did anything else in the kitchen. It was a random, annual occurrence!

tomato sauceRecently, my Sister’s first vegie patch started to produce tomatoes…lots of tomatoes. So I thought I’d try my own sauce. I was planning on using Dad’s recipe and starting a family tradition, but I couldn’t find it (they’ve just moved house so my timing wasn’t ideal). However, I found a range of recipes on the internet and combined what I liked from each to make my own.

The result? A sauce that is really, really tasty! It has depth of flavour, a hint of sweet, a glimpse of acid and it goes well with steak and chicken. I was expecting something nice, but this sauce is really, really good. Its quality even took me by surprise. Not bad for the first go, I reckon.

It’s not a long recipe or a hard one. However, the whole session will take you some time (say 3 hours max with breaks here and there) because you need to clean and sterilise jars, which is a bit time consuming. Let me tell you, it is worth it!

Makes around 2L.

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg tomatoes – chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 3 white onions – peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 140g (1 tub) tomato paste
  • 200mL white vinegar
  • 150mL water
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 6 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
  • 2 to 3 red chillis – chopped
  • 6 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper – ground
  • 1 tsp black pepper – ground
  • white sugar to taste

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Chopping board and knives
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Stick blender

Method

  1. Heat pot, add olive oil and sweat garlic and onions until soft (around 15 to 20 minutes). Ensure you don’t brown them.
  2. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, vinegar, water, chilli, herbs and salt and pepper.
  4. Cook on medium heat until tomato breaks down and becomes “mushy”.
  5. Remove bay leaves and herb sprigs.
  6. Blend using stick blender.
  7. Taste and adjust accordingly. Tips on what to add for the flavour you want to enhance below.
  8. Once you’re happy with the flavours, bottle while hot and seal immediately. I think it’s better to store your sauce in glass jars as you’ll find it easier to get it in and then out when you want to eat it.
  9. Refrigerate. Will last for several months. However, always check preserved goods before serving.

Tips for adjusting flavour

  • More tang required? – add more vinegar
  • Need salt or need to remove any bitter flavour? – add salt
  • Requires sweetness? – add sugar
  • Like spice? – add white pepper
  • Like it hot? – more chilli

How to steralise jars

  1. Choose unblemished containers that are made of glass and have a very good sealing. You’re steralising them to ensure nothing grows in your sauce. I bought cheap jars from The Reject Shop.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 100 degrees Celsius.
  3. Wash jars in warm, soapy water. If you they have rubber seals remove them. If they have metal lids, wash and place in oven too.
  4. Place cleaned jars on clean oven tray (upright) and into the oven for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove and allow to cool (only very) slightly.
  6. Add hot sauce and seal immediately.
  7. NEVER EVER add cold sauce, preserves or water to hot glass or you may cause it to shatter (sometimes explosively)!