When the Crankee Yankee and I planted our garden, I begged him to take it easy on the tomatoes. I would remind him of all the bags of frozen tomatoes in our freezer from last year, not to mention all the containers of frozen tomato sauce in our freezer. But did he listen? No, he did not: we ended up with twelve tomato plants, and each and every one bore loads of tomatoes. At this point, I have lost count of how many containers of sauce I have made (swearing all the way).
But, being the Yankee that I am, I just can’t not pick the tomatoes…it goes against my grain to waste anything. Yesterday morning I started what I devotely hope is my last batch of tomato sauce, and I grumped all the way through it. We have fobbed off as much of the sauce as we possibly can to our friends and neighbors; it’s close to the point where our they all make themselves scarce if they see us coming with a big container of sauce.
But the Crankee Yankee loves spaghetti and sauce (with or without meatballs), so what am I going to do? At least we are ingesting loads *lycopene like no body’s business, so there is that.
So here is what I do (while swearing all the way): I take out our largest pot and splash in some olive oil, then chop up garlic, onions, green peppers (and yes, we also have a ton of pepper plants that also won’t quit producing). While that’s cooking I wash all the tomatoes and chop them up and throw them in the pot. Once everything is bubbling away, I throw in s few basil leaves, rosemary and parsley. I also like to throw in a splash of red wine as well. To give the sauce more “punch” I always add in a can of tomato paste which helps it thicken.
Once everything has boiled and bubbled, I get out my trusty immersible blender (this is one of the best kitchen doo-dads EVER) and blend it all together. And there you have it: thick, delicious and healthy tomato sauce that you can use for spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and whatever else you like. It freezes well, and is perfect for the old “what will we do about dinner?” situations.
Now, that said, our poor freezer is chock full of containers of sauce. I devotely hope that the batch of sauce I made yesterday is my last for the season. At this rate, we may be eating it on cereal next. Wish me luck!
*From Web MD: Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may help protect cells from damage. This is why there is a lot of research interest in lycopene’s role, if any, in preventing cancer. Lycopene is a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables a red color. It is one of a number of pigments called carotenoids. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelons, red oranges, pink grapefruits, apricots, rosehips, and guavas. In North America, 85% of dietary lycopene comes from tomato products such as ketchup, tomato juice, sauce, or paste. A serving of fresh tomatoes contains between 4 mg and 10 mg of lycopene, while one cup (240 mL) of tomato juice provides about 20 mg. Processing raw tomatoes using heat (in the making of tomato juice, tomato paste or ketchup, for example) actually changes the lycopene in the raw product into a form that is easier for the body to use. The lycopene in supplements is about as easy for the body to use as lycopene found in food.