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Other than Brewing => All Things Food => Topic started by: cornershot on August 30, 2013, 03:28:29 PM

Title: Tomato sauce
Post by: cornershot on August 30, 2013, 03:28:29 PM
The tomatoes are piling up and it's almost time to make sauce. I use a food mill to separate the pulp and juice from the seeds and skin, then cook it down for several hours to reduce it to a nice thick consistency before canning. It tastes great but always seems to separate so that I have thick stuff sitting on top of my spaghetti and watery juice runs out below. What is the secret to keeping it homogenized?
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: 1vertical on September 01, 2013, 07:43:13 PM
The tomatoes are piling up and it's almost time to make sauce. I use a food mill to separate the pulp and juice from the seeds and skin, then cook it down for several hours to reduce it to a nice thick consistency before canning. It tastes great but always seems to separate so that I have thick stuff sitting on top of my spaghetti and watery juice runs out below. What is the secret to keeping it homogenized?
Go with the flow, let it seperate and remove it from the watery portion....IMO.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: gmac on September 01, 2013, 08:00:18 PM
Nothing to add, just want to follow this thread since I just made 5 big freezer bags of stewed tomatoes (I don't can, I freeze).  My tomatoes are literally rotting on the vine because I have so many so I'm keen on trying your tomato sauce recipe.  Made some tomato juice too so it's gonna be homemade Bloody Mary's tonight (would make homemade Caesar's but it's hard to find clams in Ontario). 
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: Alewyfe on September 01, 2013, 09:04:41 PM
When it's cooking, I take a stick blender and kind of homogenize it. Just finished a batch of sauce and it looks great. No separation. If I leave the tomatoes in chunks it separates.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: cornershot on September 02, 2013, 12:57:15 AM
When it's cooking, I take a stick blender and kind of homogenize it. Just finished a batch of sauce and it looks great. No separation. If I leave the tomatoes in chunks it separates.

I'll try this but it already comes out of my mill as puree.

The tomatoes are piling up and it's almost time to make sauce. I use a food mill to separate the pulp and juice from the seeds and skin, then cook it down for several hours to reduce it to a nice thick consistency before canning. It tastes great but always seems to separate so that I have thick stuff sitting on top of my spaghetti and watery juice runs out below. What is the secret to keeping it homogenized?
Go with the flow, let it seperate and remove it from the watery portion....IMO.

Been going with the flow for years. We love our sauce. It's a weekly staple year round. But we'd like to improve the consistency a bit. It doesn't separate in the jar or when heated. It doesn't seem to separate until I put it on pasta or pizza.

Gmac, my "recipe":

1.5 bushels of plum tomatoes, strained through a food mill. This yields about 9 gallons of puree which I simmer slowly for several hours until it's reduced to a nice consistency, about 6 gallons.
About 6 large onions and a lot of garlic(can you use too much garlic?) are sauteed in olive oil until softened and added with 15 minutes left to simmer(cook like a brewer!) Sometimes we also add green peppers or wild mushrooms.
A big pile of fresh parsley, oregano, and basil are added at flameout.
Kosher salt to taste and can all but enough for dinner.
Everything but the olive oil and salt are homegrown. Great on pasta, lasagna, chicken or eggplant parmesan, or pizza, etc. I know some people simmer with soup bones for some extra umami and others sweeten with sugar.  But we like to keep it simple.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 02, 2013, 01:20:55 AM
Your recipe looks great Big Al.    I do much the same but on a smaller scale - I don't can it,  but just make it for individual meals. Canning makes more sense though.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: cornershot on September 02, 2013, 01:43:07 AM
Your recipe looks great Big Al.    I do much the same but on a smaller scale - I don't can it,  but just make it for individual meals. Canning makes more sense though.

Thank you! We do this twice in August and September for a total of 50-60 quarts. It's a lot of work now for easy cooking later. That's important for the days I want to brew instead of cook! :D Do you have any issues with your sauce separating?
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: HoosierBrew on September 02, 2013, 01:51:16 AM
No. I think it must just happen over time in the jars.  I juice and seed mine (as you do), cook down to a nice consistency and it stays together nicely.  However I do it in the very short term as mentioned.  BTW some fresh spicy Italian sausages slow cooked in the sauce, and served over pasta is mighty fine. The sauce flavors the sausages, and vice versa.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: Alewyfe on September 02, 2013, 02:44:42 AM
When it's cooking, I take a stick blender and kind of homogenize it. Just finished a batch of sauce and it looks great. No separation. If I leave the tomatoes in chunks it separates.

I'll try this but it already comes out of my mill as puree.

The tomatoes are piling up and it's almost time to make sauce. I use a food mill to separate the pulp and juice from the seeds and skin, then cook it down for several hours to reduce it to a nice thick consistency before canning. It tastes great but always seems to separate so that I have thick stuff sitting on top of my spaghetti and watery juice runs out below. What is the secret to keeping it homogenized?
Go with the flow, let it seperate and remove it from the watery portion....IMO.

Been going with the flow for years. We love our sauce. It's a weekly staple year round. But we'd like to improve the consistency a bit. It doesn't separate in the jar or when heated. It doesn't seem to separate until I put it on pasta or pizza.

Gmac, my "recipe":

1.5 bushels of plum tomatoes, strained through a food mill. This yields about 9 gallons of puree which I simmer slowly for several hours until it's reduced to a nice consistency, about 6 gallons.
About 6 large onions and a lot of garlic(can you use too much garlic?) are sauteed in olive oil until softened and added with 15 minutes left to simmer(cook like a brewer!) Sometimes we also add green peppers or wild mushrooms.
A big pile of fresh parsley, oregano, and basil are added at flameout.
Kosher salt to taste and can all but enough for dinner.
Everything but the olive oil and salt are homegrown. Great on pasta, lasagna, chicken or eggplant parmesan, or pizza, etc. I know some people simmer with soup bones for some extra umami and others sweeten with sugar.  But we like to keep it simple.

Never sugar, but I do add a few carrots and celery sticks, chopped very fine in the food processor to the Onion/Garlic saute. It really adds an undefinable but nice roundness to the sauce. Some red wine, I often use vermouth and finish with a few tablespoons of Brandy.....way tasty. And yes, it's my go to meal on brew nights too! or any other time I'm just plain hungry and tired.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: cornershot on September 03, 2013, 02:52:48 AM
Alewyfe, thanks for the tips. Made my sauce today. I didn't add carrots because my wife's allergic. No celery because I had a bad experience adding too much to a batch of veggie stock a couple years ago. I did beat the $#!+ out of it with a stick blender and added some red wine. Wife and I really like it.
Hoosier, thanks. No doubt some sausage or meatballs will end up simmering at some point.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: morticaixavier on September 03, 2013, 02:35:02 PM
The only thought I have on the separation issue is to cook it longer and a bit hotter. if there is to much liquid in the sauce then you haven't removed enough.

I suppose you could try cutting off water to your tomato plants for a couple days before harvesting but depending on your climate this might not be possible.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: Jimmy K on September 03, 2013, 02:45:12 PM
I know some people simmer with soup bones for some extra umami and others sweeten with sugar.  But we like to keep it simple.
I was thinking that simmering with bones would add gelatin, which should thicken it and help with separation.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: redbeerman on September 03, 2013, 07:02:36 PM
If you are putting whole tomatoes through the mill, you will get all the water stored in the fruit.  We par-cook the tomatoes, then skin and seed by hand.  That way we only have the pulp in the sauce.  There is a lot of liquid in the seeds that won't get removed when you mill them.  Our canned tomatoes and sauce do not separate.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: cornershot on September 03, 2013, 08:16:47 PM
The only thought I have on the separation issue is to cook it longer and a bit hotter. if there is to much liquid in the sauce then you haven't removed enough.

I suppose you could try cutting off water to your tomato plants for a couple days before harvesting but depending on your climate this might not be possible.

I stop watering my tomatoes before they begin to ripen. I have considered putting a tarp over them on rainy days...

I know some people simmer with soup bones for some extra umami and others sweeten with sugar.  But we like to keep it simple.
I was thinking that simmering with bones would add gelatin, which should thicken it and help with separation.

It might coagulate and get gelatinous too. Not sure I want that...

If you are putting whole tomatoes through the mill, you will get all the water stored in the fruit.  We par-cook the tomatoes, then skin and seed by hand.  That way we only have the pulp in the sauce.  There is a lot of liquid in the seeds that won't get removed when you mill them.  Our canned tomatoes and sauce do not separate.

I used to do this but for 10-12 gallons of sauce it's a lot of work. I plant mostly plum tomatoes but also some beefsteaks and when it comes time to make sauce any and all ripe tomatoes go in the mix. Maybe this has something to do with it.

Thank you all for your comments.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: gmac on September 09, 2013, 04:42:36 PM
Cleaned out the tomatoes and the sauce is reducing as I type. Just going with onions and garlic plus oregano and Basil. Maybe a couple chilli peppers for a touch of heat.
We shall see how it turns out.
Thanks for the recipe.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: denny on September 09, 2013, 06:03:02 PM
We make a sauce/paste that can be used as the base for many sauces.  Just cut tomatoes in half if they're large (we use Romas) and put them along with a bunch of garlic cloves on a sheet pan.  Roast in the oven at about 350 until garlic and tomatoes are soft.  Whiz 'em up in a food processor and freeze.  The advantage of this method (besides being dead easy) is that after you thaw it and heat it up, you can add whatever herbs you want for whatever you're making.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: gmac on September 09, 2013, 06:20:39 PM
We make a sauce/paste that can be used as the base for many sauces.  Just cut tomatoes in half if they're large (we use Romas) and put them along with a bunch of garlic cloves on a sheet pan.  Roast in the oven at about 350 until garlic and tomatoes are soft.  Whiz 'em up in a food processor and freeze.  The advantage of this method (besides being dead easy) is that after you thaw it and heat it up, you can add whatever herbs you want for whatever you're making.

Sounds easy and no need for all the boiling. It's been boiling for a while now and probably has 3 more to go.

Will try the oven method with the next few assuming they ripen up. Picked most of the ripe ones for today's batch.
Title: Re: Tomato sauce
Post by: cornershot on September 16, 2013, 09:37:15 AM
I made another 9 gallons of sauce this weekend. This time I used all Romas. I cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and placed them on sheet pans, cut side down and roasted at 500f for 25 minutes until the skins became almost blackened. Much of the water had drained out into the pan- I got a gallon of this juice and canned it for future cooking. I put the roasted tomatoes along with roasted garlic through my food mill and cooked down the sauce. The result was a thick, intensely flavored sauce. I finally got the results that have been eluding me for over a decade!
Thanks again to everyone for the comments! I didn't necessarily use anyone's exact technique, but you all helped shape my thought process and guide me to tomato nirvana!