Growing Chefs! Ontario Agri-Food Education Spring 2021 | Tomato Sauce

Agri-Food Education Spring 2021 | Tomato Sauce

Nothing beats tomato sauce made from scratch! Whenever you are canning, be sure to consult reputable resources to keep canned goods safe. It is important to add lemon juice to this canned tomato sauce to be sure the sauce is the proper PH for safe canning.
10 pounds Italian plum tomatoes, blanched, skins removed, and diced2 arge onions4 cloves garlic1/4 cup olive oil1 bay leaf2 tablespoons sugar1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried)1/4 cup fresh basil salt to taste lemon juice (2 tablespoons for every 1 litre of sauce, if canning)
Large potCutting boardChef's knifeParing knifeMeasuring cupsMeasuring spoonsSlotted spoonBowls, various sizesWooden spoonBlender or immersion blenderTasting spoonsDish towelFor canning: (optional)Clean and sanitized mason jars, new sealing lids, and ringsCanning tongsStock potFunnelLadle

Get Organized!

Gather all your ingredients and equipment before you get started! 

Get Prepped!

To prepare the tomatoes: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Remove the stem of the tomato and gently score the bottom of the tomato with an X.” Set up a large bowl of ice water. In batches, carefully drop the tomatoes into the boiling water, 5 – 6 at a time until the skin starts to pull away, about 15 – 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to the ice water until cold. Remove the tomatoes from the ice water. Repeat this process for the remaining tomatoes. 

Remove the skins from the tomatoes. If the skins do not easily slip off, repeat the process. Roughly dice the tomatoes. 

Cut the onions in half and remove the skin. Slice off the top end of the onion and make thin cuts from root to tip, keeping the root end in tact. Turn the onion and slice through again to dice.

Smash the garlic to remove the skin, and finely mince. 

If using fresh herbs, remove the leaves from the stem and then chop. Discard the stems. 

Measure out the olive oil, sugar, and bay leaf. 

Get Cooking!

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the diced onion and sweat the onions until they are translucent, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute more. 

Add the diced tomatoes, sugar, bay leaf, chopped herbs, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook for about 60 minutes over low heat, until tomatoes have broken down and sauce is slightly thickened. 

Using an immersion or stand blender, blend the sauce to your desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and transfer back to the pot. Continue to cook 15 – 20 minutes more until sauce has thickened slightly. 

If canning sauce, transfer sauce to clean and sterilized mason jars while hot. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to every 1 litre jar of sauce and stir with a clean spoon. Add the sterilized mason jar lid and water-bath can according to a reputable canning source, like your local health unit. Make sure to label and date each jar. 

Alternatively, sauce can be cooled and frozen. Lemon juice does not need to be added for this preservation method.