I'm a bad bad bad person. Look what I found in the freezer. Yes, it's frozen tomatoes....a whole heck of a lot of them. It's easily over 10 pounds of beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes.
Last year, I had a flush of ripe tomatoes at the end of September...right before I was leaving town for a while. I didn't have time to make sauce back then so I froze them whole on a cookie sheet then placed them into ziplocs for safe keeping. I fully intending to make my sauce with them. Fast forward to today. *hanging my head in shame*
Lucky for me, these babies were still good. No ugly frostbite and no weird freezer tastes. I thew the tomatoes whole into a pot.
Okay, I really needed two pots for the amount of tomatoes that I hoarded.
I simmered them until they defrosted and cooked down. Then I let the sauce cool for a while.
I strained them through the food mill to remove the skins and seeds. I was left with tomato juice and pulp. Since there were a lot of heirloom tomatoes and not a lot of paste tomatoes, the sauce was watery. I put it in the slow cooker overnight uncovered to cook off the water and thicken it up. I had so much sauce that it didn't all fit into the slow cooker. I had to simmer a pot on the stove overnight.
In the morning, I added the rest of the ingredients to the pot. I added garlic, onions, bell peppers, fresh mushrooms, fresh basil from the garden, fresh parsley, oregano, bay leaves, salt, sugar and pepper. I simmered this all day. I used this recipe from last season. This time I also added some dried celery leaves from last season to give it more flavor.
I ended up with 12 cups of sauce plus enough for dinner. I freeze the sauce once it cools. Feel free to add your meat to the sauce before it goes into the freezer if you like, but I like to freeze my sauce without the meat. It allows me flexibility in cooking. Sometimes I enjoy adding ground turkey or beef or even sausage. But sometimes I like to add spinach or Swiss chard or zucchini to make it vegetarian.
Tonight my dad's request for ground beef won out. MMMmmm...slow cooked goodness!
**Linking up to Robin's Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard at The Gardener of Eden**