Seasons In the Sun

Tomato season is exhausting, not gonna lie.


Pounds and pounds of tomatoes pass through the kitchen, needing to be processed as soon as possible to preserve them while they’re still full of sunshine.

I spent yesterday making tomato sauce, and I’ll be doing it all over again in a few days. We use about 40 pints of sauce a year, so I do two batches of 40 pounds each. If you eat less, or just want to try out a small batch, this recipe can be divided and your cooking time will be shorter. If you decide to go for the full 40 pounds, you will need a giant pot.

You’ll notice that I do not remove the seeds or skin from the tomatoes. Just about every sauce recipe does, but to me it seems a colossal waste of time. You can, of course, do it whichever way you prefer.

This is a very simple sauce, and we use it as is for lots of things, but if you want to add more ingredients – peppers, meat, anything – do so when you’re ready to eat it, not when you’re preparing this recipe. Changing the ingredients may result in an unsafe product, and adding meat definitely would.

Tomato Sauce

40 lb tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 120 tomatoes)

2 cups onion, diced

16 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Dried oregano to taste

1 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice PER PINT JAR (This is important. Tomatoes vary in acidity. The lemon juice increases the acidity, which keeps your food safe.)

Prep 22 pint jars

Core tomatoes and cut in chunks.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in giant pot until translucent.

Add tomatoes.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender.

Add basil and oregano.

Bring to a boil and cook til reduced by half. This can take anywhere from 5-7 hours. It’s done when you feel it’s thick enough. Stir often to prevent sticking.

Put 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice IN EACH JAR.

Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Remove air bubbles with a very clean tool.

Process in water bath for 35 minutes.

Yield will be 18-22 pints, depending on thickness.

2 thoughts on “Seasons In the Sun

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