Sunday, September 16, 2012

What do I do with all of my tomatoes from the garden?

OK - so now that I have all of these tomatoes from our garden...
What do I do with them?

Here is a great recipe that I made twice in the past few weeks - My husband couldn't get enough of it! 

Here's a great website filled with some fabulous tomato recipes! 

I also made this several times - It is soooo good & fresh! No Knife Spaghetti 

And what did I do with the rest of the tomatoes? 
I do what I do best- I make my famous (Spaghetti) Sauce
Here's how: 

I make large batches of sauce to freeze for use later. I like to make food in bulk - it's such a time saver!

Lot's of fresh tomatoes; 10-15 fresh basil leaves; chopped, Fresh Oregano to taste; Salt/pepper; small can tomato paste; 1 large can tomato puree, Olive Oil, garlic, onion. 

First, Wash your tomatoes off (to remove any dirt from the garden)

Cut the tops of your tomatoes off. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a flat pan, drizzle olive oil, fresh basil, fresh oregano, garlic (your discretion) salt & pepper.
  • Put them face down (on the flat side you just cut off) 
  • Last time I made this, I had enough tomatoes to fill 3 pans like shown below. 
  • Make sure to have a pan deeper than a cookie sheet. 
  • Once these are baked, they give off a lot of liquid and they need more room in the pan. 
  • Bake for 1 hour. 

 OK - Once your tomatoes finished baking for an hour, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.

You now need to remove the skins. They come off super-easy now!  I'm usually able to pull them off with my fingers and a small knife or fork.

Here's the optional part, I do NOT normally remove the seeds. However, if you do not like seeds in your sauce, then remove them now with a fork.

So at this point, I usually run out of time, so I take the skinless tomatoes and all their juice... and put them in containers to store in the fridge for making the sauce later. If you don't need a break and can continue on - Let's move onto the next part - Making the yummiest sauce ever. 

I use a large pot like this:
  • Turn heat on medium or medium high. 
  • Pour some olive oil in the bottom of the pot - maybe about 1/8 -1/4c depending on how much sauce you are planning on making. 
  • Add 1 c chopped onions & 4-8 cloves of minced garlic, salt & pepper. 
  • I sauté the garlic & onions for a couple minutes until the garlic starts turning golden. 
  • Add your tomatoes & tomato liquid from when you baked them. I usually have enough tomatoes to fill about 1/3 or 1/2 of the pot. *The tomatoes are still pretty solid, I use a mashed potato smasher to push them down & crush them in the pot. They will smooth out as they cook. 
  • Add 1 can of tomato puree if you need more sauce 
  • Add 1/2 to 3/4 small can of tomato paste for thickening purposes 
  • OPTIONAL - If you do not have your own tomatoes , I use 3 large cans of tomato puree' and 1 large can of crushed tomatoes in place of the fresh baked tomatoes here.
  • Lower heat to medium-low. Let cook for 30 minutes uncovered.
  • Add chopped fresh basil  & fresh oregano. (more salt/pepper if needed)
  • Optional - Add 2-4 tbs of sugar (to taste) if your tomato sauce is tasting bitter - it takes a while to cook off the bitterness sometimes. 
  • Once all of this is done - Cook covered on low or medium/low for 3-4 hours. You are not looking to boil this. If it's on medium or higher, it will burn. Sloow & long cook - tastes best! 

Once cooked, I usually let it cool a little, then divide up into small containers for the freezer. I put enough sauce in each container for us for one night of dinner. Depending on how much you make and how you divide it up, you can freeze a lot of delicious sauce for upcoming dinners! 
I know this may seem like a lot of steps but I wanted to make sure to include everything! 
It takes me no time to do all of this and is so worth it in the end! 
My husband can't eat any other sauce. He says nothing compares! :) 


Enjoy and let me know if you decide to try this out!


  1. We had a huge crop of tomatoes this summer - but the basil grew even better - so that was OK!

    The all black Oystercatcher you saw was a different species to mine - but they are great to watch what ever we call them.

    Cheers - Stewart M - AUstralia

  2. Sounds so yummy! Can you send some sauce to my house?! :o)

  3. Glad you shared the spaghetti recipe, I'm always looking for new kinds to try and that sounds so good! I like to do the same, make a lot and then freeze it for later. Plus, doesn't spaghetti just taste so much better after it has set up for a while?! I always add sugar to my spaghetti and some people have actually laughed about that and even turned their noses up at the idea, glad to know that other people know that it helps with the bitterness of the tomatoes!

    1. Yeah! I experiment all the time - we live in the Italian capital of the country (NJ/NY) and you hear all kinds of variations to gravy/sauce -- this is mine but I know people who make theirs hardcore with beef bones or other stuff in it as well. My husband and I won't touch any sauce that's store bought LOL! Try it out and let me know - you can use canned puree& crushed if you don't have fresh tomatoes (thats what I do most of the year) -

    2. IF i have to resort to store bought for some reason, I always have to add my own seasonings to it, I really don't like store bought! We don't have fresh tomatoes right now so I will use the canned for now. My parents have a garden, but by this time of the year it has died off, too hot and dry. I'll let you know when I try the recipe, I know it's going to be good!

  4. Mmmm ... sounds so good! And I bet the house smells sooo good when you're making it!

  5. Wow, that's a bunch of tomatoes. Im using my leftover tomatoes as decoration.


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