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Real Life :: Making Marinara Sauce.

I love a well stocked freezer.

Actually, it helps to have a garage that you can put the mid-size energy efficient stand alone freezer your parents made you buy at an estate sale. But I love that freezer and the bounty of time saving joy it brings me in the form of frozen goodies.  CHOW’s old food editor swore that the freezer was the best kitchen trick she had to producing great food fast.

It’s one of those things that helps me sleep at night.  I always have a couple of quarts of frozen chicken stock and usually a couple frozen dishes for later.  But that’s my baggage from my college summer job working as a costumed interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village. (Don’t worry, I am SO going to write about that later…)

I noticed the wonderful glut of cheap organic tomatoes at the farmer’s market and thought, “hey–why don’t I make my own marinara that i can freeze and pull out when I want! It will be so much healthier and cheaper and not canned!”

Sure. Why not? Because I have all this free time. HAHAHAHAHA  (wipes tear away from laughter…)  Oh. and a million other projects that need to be finished and linen closets to clean out and. . .

Like THAT ever stopped me before. Over the past weekend, I made marinara from scratch. And it was crazy easy.

Here is what I’ve learned: making marinara sauce from fresh tomatoes to freeze is easy, but takes times.  Because of the steps. Oh, yeah. The steps. I basically used this recipe from Former Chef.

Here’s how it went:

I started with ten lbs of glorious tomatoes that I bought for a steal at the farmer’s market.

I thought this was going to be a serious pain in the kiester, but it wasn’t. Just drop each tomato in boiling water until the skin starts to look kinda wrinkly then pop it in icy water and pinch the skin off. Not too hard.

Next step was to ditch all those seeds, which was kinda fun believe it or not.  But messy—I’m not going to lie to you about that. And I’m glad I didn’t have any cuts because I’m sure the tomato juice would have not been too pleasant to get into a cut.

Then, just chop the tomatoes into quarters and run them through a food mill. So far, the whole experience has ten about an hour with a good size chunk in the middle. And at this point I decide to call it quits and put the nice puree into the fridge and deal with the rest of it Sunday.

The next morning, I pulled out the tomatoes and got cracking again.  I sauted a large onion until translucent. Added garlic and saute for a minute. Added tomatoes and some yummy dried herbs–oregano and basil and a bit of red wine.  And with some great bread my brother brought from his favorite bakery, we tasted it until it was perfect.

Afterward, I left the sauce cool and we put the sauce in jars the next day and popped in freezer.

Yes, that’s right–stare at the nice orderly jars of marinara sauce–not the bathroom floor. Or the linen closet. Or my closet. Don’t even look in the direction of my attic. Or garage. Or… Well,  Let’s just be happy about the sauce, alright?

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Posted in Kiddo Cooks, Real Life : Dottie.


7 Responses

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  1. Lynn Landry says

    oooo, i have a lovely bunch of dying tomaters in a bowl and need to go out and buy a food mill and some ball jars TODAY!!!!

    • Dottie says

      You don’t really need the food mill–a blender will really do just fine! And heck, if I didn’t have the bell jars, I was gonna just put ‘em in some ziplocks!

  2. Alix says

    Yum, yum and YUM! I’ll be coming over for some tasty Italian, just you wait!

  3. Jenny (VintageSugarcube) says

    LOVE this post. I remember some pics of yours from Instagram on this and was sooo impressed. I’ve never tried making homemade sauce, as I thought it would be too hard. I like the way you photographed the pics with the recipe. Makes it seem muchooo easier.

    • Dottie says

      Darling Jenny! You are a wunderkind baker and cook extraordinaire, so I know you could do this with your hands tied behind your back. I too was distraught that I could never make home-made sauce. But after reading the recipes I wasn’t so hard!

  4. Eartha Kitsch says

    You make it look so easy. Might just try it! There is something so satisfying about seeing rows of jarred liquid sunshine in tomato form.

  5. Kristina at FormerChef says

    I’m so with you on the freezer in the garage trick. We bought one last year and it’s been one of the best purchases ever!
    BTW, you can also freeze the sauce in tupperware containers or even in heavy duty zip lock bags (if you are concerned about plastic look for BPA free products).
    Another option for those who don’t have a food mill (I don’t) but still want a smoother sauce would be an immersion (stick) blender that goes right into the pot. Personally, I don’t use either, I just leave it a little chunky.
    Glad you found my recipe helpful. :-)



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