Monday, June 7, 2010

Making Spaghetti Sauce

There are lots of reasons one might want to make spaghetti sauce from scratch. I like to do it because I can control how much sugar is added. I have made it with fresh tomatoes when I am lucky enough to have an abundant crop in the late summer. This tutorial won't show how to use fresh tomatoes; it will show how to use canned tomatoes which I feel are more economical most of the year.

Start by gathering the ingredients. I started with four 28-ounce cans (any brand) of whole, peeled tomatoes. I do recommend draining most of the liquid. Pour them into a large pot. I then added an onion, a carrot, 8 cloves of garlic, a bunch of basil (dried, my fresh basil is still growing), crushed red pepper (don't add too much, it seems to grow hotter as it cooks) and majoram. Stir all the ingredients around, crush up the tomatoes with the spoon. They will release their seeds and juices, don't panic.Bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer it for several hours. I did add some salt and some sugar. If you don't want to add any sugar at all, make sure you don't mind the bitter taste. I can't really say how much sugar I added; maybe 2 tablespoons? Stir it every once in awhile. The idea is to boil away the watery part. No one likes watery spaghetti sauce.
...after about four hours, my sauce looked like this (note how it looks thicker and not so watery):
You can see that it "shrank" as the water evaporated. Then I put it in the blender. This chops up the seeds, onion, tomato skins, etc...
And it ends up nice and smooth. Just like from a jar. Except you made it yourself! And it tastes better! I am considering trying to make it in the crock pot next time. I'm not sure that would allow the water to evaporate, though.

If you know how to put it up in canning jars, one could do that. I have never done that and with a toddler stumbling around all over the house, I am not sure I'm up for that this year. It is an interest I'd like to learn at some point in the future.

This can also be used as pizza sauce!

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