These late summer months are perfect to start canning some foods. Why do it yourself? Because you know you will buy excellent fresh produce, or maybe you will have even grown it yourself! You will make it as you like it best and most importantly, you won’t overdo on salt or sugar, as most shop canned goods. So how about preparing your own perfect tomato sauce for winter!
Firstly, what tomatoes to use for making a tomato sauce for winter?
One of the best varieties are the San Marzano tomatoes, that are slightly oval. They don’t have too much water and have the perfect balance between sweetness and acidity, so you basically won’t have to add many other condiments.
This said, you can use any tomatoes you can get your hands on! It just might mean you will need to adjust the taste a bit more or cook for longer for the sauce to become more dense.
Skin or no skin?
I always look at videos on sauces made traditionally without the tomato peel, and I always cry a little inside. The skin is actually one of the best and healthiest parts of the tomato, it contains the most flavanols and carotenoids, which are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and have quite a lot of health benefits.
So not only is it more healthy to keep the peels in the sauce, it is less work too! What I do is just blend the sauce very well after cooking, to make it smooth. Preparing your own perfect tomato sauce for winter this way will also be including more healthy things in the jar!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The first step in the recipe will be to cook the onion, garlic and the tomato in some extra virgin olive oil. There is quite a lot of research on cooking in extra virgin olive oil, that has seen how many healthy components become more bioavailable to the body. It means that we will get more benefit from the tomato, if it’s cooked with olive oil. Here some more research on the theme.
Need ideas on where to use the sauce later on?
Tomato sauce for the winter
- Well-cleaned jars
- 3 kg ripe tomatoes organic is best
- 1 whole onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- some fresh basil
- 1 chilli pepper don't add, if you don't like spicy. Add more for more spicy
- salt and sugar to taste
- 3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- In a big pot pour in the olive oil and start the fire. Throw in the onion cut in big pieces together with the garlic. There is no need to chop it finely, as we will blend it in the end.
- Cut the tomatoes in 4 parts and throw them in the pot, turn up the hear and stir until most of the juice has come out and is boiling. Lower the heat and cook until the tomatoes are soft.
- Add some basil, chilli pepper. Keep cooking for a few minutes.
- When the tomatoes are completely soft, almost disintegrated, turn off the heat and let it cool down just a bit before blending. You want it to be lower in temperature in order for you not to get burnt. Hot tomato sauce is a bit like lava…
- Once you have blended it, taste and adjust salt, pepper, add a touch of brown sugar, if it's too acidic. If the sauce is too liquid, you can put it back on the heat and reduce it to the desired consistency.
- Prepare the jars by washing with hot water. I sometimes pour in just a bit of alcohol to have them even cleaner. Fill them with the hot sauce, put the screw tap on and leave them with the tap down on a towel for the next hours until it cools. This way the oxygen won't enter and the tap will become well-sealed.I never sterilise tomato sauce with the jars, because they already have a low pH (acidic), which lowers the chance for any bad bacteria to grow inside.