Making Heirloom Tomato Sauce

On Sunday afternoon during hurricane Irene I made heirloom tomato sauce with the box I got earlier in the week from my CSA. Everyone I talk to has a slightly different method of making sauce. Some use a food mill, some boil the tomatoes to remove the skins. This is my version and it turned out pretty darn delicious.

First, I rinsed and chopped 18lbs of tomatoes. With the tomatoes sliced in half, I squished them (flesh side down) through a sieve into my cooking pot. Any seeds I couldn’t remove from the flesh through the squishing process got a very light rinse under the faucet. The remaining skin and flesh get thrown into the pot. I repeated this process till all the tomatoes were gone. I chopped three carrots, added a diced vidalia onion, 4 cloves of slivered garlic, a bunch of basil, thyme and S+P. I cooked the sauce down on low for about two and 1/2 hours. I could have stopped there. But I thought the sauce was a bit too chunky and I gave it a couple spins in the cuisinart. I boiled up a pot of linguine, topped with sauce, grated parmigiano-reggiano over the top and enjoyed the fruits of my labor. So delicious and simple. The remaining sauce will get canned for winter.

update: for notes on adding lemon and canning please read comments.

Heirloom tomatoes for sauce

Heirloom tomato

Inside tomato

Inside an heirloom tomato

Pressing tomatoes through sieve

Tomato being squished

Squishing with my hands

Tomatoes in the pot

Carrots, onion, garlic and basil added to the pot.

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  1. hello Katy !
    In germany we had no hurricane,but I also was making some tomato sauce on the weekend.You can put the sauce also on a pizza .That is also very yummy…….
    Hurricanning.its a new word I learned in english !
    I also would like to be in New England on a winter day and eat some spaghetti with tomato sauce and parmesan !



  2. This is so delightful to see! Irene provided many an indoor activity. As for me, I purée carrots, celery, garlic cloves and onions in a food processor and add that to the pot with olive oil. After this has sautéed for 15 minutes, I add the tomatoes. Your photos are perfect. What camera are you using?


  3. Thanks for sharing the process! Your photos of each step are stunning and make me want to run out and buy a beautiful navy cast iron pot asap. The last photo especially.


  4. I am on a west coast so no hurricane for me, but I heard some east coast canning folk called it Hurricanning! Sounds like a great way to pass the time.
    Re: acidity…
    Balsamic vinegar sounds divine actually. And yes lemon juice is a must for acidifying tomatoes, but it’s the carrots that freak me out. On the other hand, worrying too much about canning safety is not healthy for your head, so just put’em up!


  5. Hi Katy! I made tomato sauce on Hurricane day too! I decided that canning was too much of a pain so instead I’ve decided to freeze the extra. I put them in ziplock freezer bags so they should last us through the winter! Yummy!


  6. Ha ha. I knew it! I’ve been there. I still have paint on my camera from when I was stripping paint off hinges and trying to photograph me peeling the paint off at the same time!


  7. Hi Olga,

    Thanks for the note. After a little research I found out adding lemon is the safest bet because the acidity level of tomatoes can change if they fruit is over ripened or decaying:

    In Canning Preserving with Ashley English she adds 3T balsamic vinegar as well as 5T lemon juice.

    I made it without lemon last year and was just fine but to be safe I guess we should be adding lemon.


  8. Looks great! I don’t think there’s anything better than opening a can of summertime in the middle of a cold New England winter.

    Process question: When you’re squishing with your right hand, is the camera in your left or do you have a personal photographer?


  9. I think because you put carrots in, you will have to add vinegar to make it safe… Tomatoes have borderline acidity and need lemon juice to be safe for canning, but the carrots are low acid, so I think you better take precautions (in vinegar form).