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How to make fresh tomato sauce

Dawn Viola is a research and development chef and food writer. She serves on the board of directors for Slow Food Orlando, and works with local and national companies as a healthy recipe consultant with a focus on organic, local and sus...

How to make fresh tomato sauce

With warmer weather here for the next few months, we’re promised a hefty crop of vine-ripened tomatoes from early July through late September. Whether you’re into instant tomato gratification or prefer preserving summer’s flavors well into the fall and winter, a basic tomato sauce will feed you now and later.

Fresh tomato sauce

Step 1: Blanch

You’ll need a medium pot of boiling water and a bowl of ice water on standby. Using a paring knife, remove the core of the tomato by inserting the knife about half-inch into the tomato on either side of the stem and turning the tomato in a circle around the knife. Score a small “X” into the bottom of the tomato, being careful not to cut too deep. Gently lower the tomato into boiling water for 20 seconds and then plunge the tomato into the ice water. Repeat until all tomatoes are blanched and shocked. How many? About 10 large tomatoes will yield 3 cups of puree.

Step 2: Peel

Remove all of the tomatoes from the ice bath and gently pat dry. Peel and discard the skin. Place the tomatoes in a blender and puree to desired consistency (chunky, smooth or in between).

Step 3: Strain and store

Strain the tomato puree through a fine mesh sieve, divide into desired portion sizes, store in air-tight containers or plastic freezer bags. Use immediately or freeze up to 10 months.

Step 4: Use it

When you’re ready for your garden-fresh tomato sauce, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat with one tablespoon of crushed garlic, red pepper flakes to taste, salt, pepper and fresh oregano. When the garlic is fragrant, add the tomatoes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve with vegetables, pasta, as a pizza or bruschetta sauce; serve chilled as a summer soup; or spike with vodka and blend with cucumber and celery for the ultimate summer cocktail.

What to do with your fresh tomato sauce? Find out how to make a no-bake pizza below!

More food how-tos

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How to confit a tomato
How to use edible flowers

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