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Old 06-12-2013, 12:07 PM   #1
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The Red Sauce

My wife and I have been trying to slowly cut out as many prepackaged foods as possible and we have run into a problem.

Spaghetti Sauce.
We really like the Ragu Tomato, Garlic, and Onion, Garden Veggie sauce.

But with the stuff out about preservatives and canned tomatoes specifically,--and just as importantly because we want to try to make something from scratch--we are trying to make it ourselves.

So, my question is, does anyone have a simple starter recipe for the red sauce that we could doctor up and make our own?

Also, why do you have to have seeded, peeled tomatoes?
Why can't I just get them from the farmers market and dice them up and cook the mess out of them?

Will the seeds and skin change the flavor, or just the texture?

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Old 06-12-2013, 12:21 PM   #2
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Tomato skins and seeds add nothing to the sauce and can be an objectionable texture.

If you really like Ragu Tomato, Garlic, and Onion, Garden Veggie sauce. Start with olive oil and sauté some onions and garlic, add the fresh tomatoes (preferably peeled and seeded), salt and pepper and simmer for 30-45 minutes. This is a base for your sauce. You can add oregano, basil and any garden veggies you like.

You can also start by browning some meat before creating your base sauce and seasonings to make a meat sauce.

Do you have locally grown tomatoes year-round? Do you plan to make large quantities and can them for year-round use?
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply!
Unfortunately, we will not have fresh tomatoes year round.
We have considered canning or freezing, but can't decide if the investment in jars and lids and all would be worth it.

Also, we want to get the recipe right before canning so that we don't can something we don't want to eat.

I'll try that recipe as a start though, thanks!

How much of a pain is peeling and seeding the tomatoes?
Also, how many should I use and does it make a different what kind they are?

PS-I realize the "how many should I use" question might be a little bit of a newbie question, but since I havn't done it before, I'm not sure how much the tomatoes are going to cook down.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #4
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I normally use canned tomatoes and paste when I make sauce.

In late summer I sometimes use fresh tomatoes. I just wash them, core them, cut them up and toss them into the pot. Once they are cooked I use a contraption similar to the ones below to remove the seeds and the skin.

One of the nice things about being a home cook is that you can cook to suit yourself, if the seeds and skins don't bother you leave them in.

Like Billie Holiday said "ain't nobodies business if I do"


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Old 06-12-2013, 12:57 PM   #5
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If making sauce from fresh tomatoes is what you want to do and seed and skin removal become important, a food mill (second photo) is an excellent investment.

Also, you will have to can something to support your quest for homemade sauce. That means a canner, jars and other gear. Your best bet is probably to can lots of fresh tomatoes (plain) and then use the canned tomato to make sauces and other things. That also gives you the flexibility to use the canned tomato for other things besides pasta sauce.

Plum/Roma tomatoes are considered the standard choice for sauces because they have more flesh and fewer seeds/pulp. Different tomatoes will give you a different flavor.

As Aunt Bea said, paste is a great addition to sauce. Are you going to make your own?
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:59 PM   #6
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I hadn't thought about Paste....

Is it worth the effort?
Do you have a recipe?
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:02 PM   #7
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No recipe, see google. Tomato paste is highly concentrated so it takes a lot of tomato to make a little paste. No seeds or skin in paste.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:50 PM   #8
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You can grate tomatoes to remove the skin. Seeds don't bother me, so I leave those in. Instead of paste, I roast roma tomatoes and freeze them whole in freezer bags. This concentrates their flavor.

You might want to check the labels on sauce products, though. I have a jar of Bertolli Tomato & Basil pasta sauce. The ingredients are Tomato puree (tomato paste and water), diced tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, onions, salt, basil, parsley, garlic and spice. That's it. No preservatives or HFCS. It's just cooked and canned like you would at home, but in much larger quantities Canned vegetables in cans, as opposed to glass jars, are the problem product.
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:27 PM   #9
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Supermarket tomaotes make crappy sauce, so wait till you have them in your garden or farmer's market.

Dip the tomatoes briefly in boiling water (like 30 seconds) and the skin will slip right off.

Ragu has more sugar than other brands, so keep that in mind if you want to achieve the same taste.
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:37 PM   #10
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If you're going to skin the tomatoes by blanching, it helps to cut an "X" into the bottom of the tomato before blanching. Cut it really shallow, just through the skin without getting too much into the flesh of the tomato. Makes a great starting point for peeling. Honestly the best tomatoes for sauce are the Escalon 6-in-1 ground in my opinion. There's nothing in them besides tomatoes and a bit of salt. It's what a good number of pizza and Italian places use and in my experience it's the bee's knees. Only downside? It's practically impossible to find them in most markets; luckily it's easy to buy online direct from the company and shipping charges are extremely reasonable. If you have a Costco Business Center (not regular Costco, gotta be the Business Center) nearby you can buy #10 cans from there as well.

Oh yeah and good tomato sauce doesn't cook for more than 20-30 minutes. Any more than that and you're dulling the flavor of the tomato.
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