$3.99/kg Tomato Sauce -April 2010

Making Sauce

My friend Lisa and I committed ourselves to the joys of bottling and decided it has high time to use the bottles we had been collecting over winter for a classic tomato sauce creation that we could enjoy over summer.
Admittedly we hadn't done that well on the growing front so we ended up with a sauce that we called our "$3.99/kg Tomato Sauce".

A visit to some of our favorite vegetable stores locally supplied us with what we needed-10kg of nice ripe  beefsteak tomatoes and 3 kg of good tart cooking apples. It is not s recipe you want to make in the middle of winter when tomatoes skyrocket to over $10 kg and if we had been really organized we would have been reaping the rewards from our gardens rather then relying on someone else's green fingers.
Back home to begin the process, we debated the whole peeling and seeding process but instead decided to just throw it all in the pot and strain it later.
We cooked off the onions first a touch to soften them and help release their natural sweetness then added handfuls of tomato and apple and allowed them reduce down before adding another handful.
We opted for a touch of spice in the way of smoked paprika. I enjoy its smoky hint and I feel it is such a perfect partner to tomatoes but lIsa felt that next time she would prefer to go without so each to their own. Even the same quantity of hungarian unsmoked paprika would bring out a more musky tone in the tomatoes adding a little more depth if you aren't looking for smoke at all.
The whole cooking process took around 4 hours of gentle stirring, reducing, reasoning. You need to get it thick enough to be worth your while when it comes out of the bottle and flavorsome enough that it will stand up to the flavors of a big gutsy sausage.
The second part took a little more man power and clean up. We strained the whole lot through a medium sieve to get rid of the skins and seeds so a great deal of spoon work and strong arms. It seems such a waste to throw all that tomato and apple goodness away too so we recommend a compost bin or worm farm friend to hand it all over to.
The resulting sauce though was beautifully rich with alight tartness of the apple and smoke from the paprika. Thick enough to coat well whatever it is that we may be eating as well as runny enough to get out of the bottle and not have to be renamed a chutney.

A hard days labour of about 6 hours total once we sterilized, packed and wiped down but so rewarding when we broke it out 6 weeks later and tried it.

Beautiful photos by Lisa H. I like there Kodak 1977 feel.
Making Sauce
$3.99/kg Tomato Sauce

10kg ripe preferably vine ripened tomatoes, washed and chopped  roughly
3kg tart cooking apples, deseeded and chopped roughly
5 onions, peeled and chopped finely
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2-3 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (optional)
2-3 tablespoons white sugar

In a large heavy based pot or two smaller sized pots, soften the onions in a little grape seed oil.
Add handfuls of tomatoes and apples and allow to soften and reduce a bit before adding the reminder on a medium heat.
Stir well at intervals and keep an eye not he heat so it done not burn or catch at any stage.
after 1 hour cooking, add in the sugar and paprika, stirring well to help the sugar dissolve.
Cook for another 2 hours, stirring often.
Check for seasoning and add the above amount of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed for your tomatoes and taste.
Cook for a total of 4 hours.
Sterilise your bottles either in the oven or in a pot of boiling water-dont forget to sterilize the lids too!
Strain the sauce through a sieve, discarding all the skins and seeds. Push through as much sauce as you can from the skins so you aren't wasting anything.
Pour into bottles and I use the overflow method to get rid of excess air. Place the lids onto and tap them gently to again break up any air bubbles.
Store for at least 6 weeks in a  cool dark place before trying. 

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