Lazy Man’s Tomato Sauce
By Daniel Strauss, Lockport, New York
“Give a difficult job to a lazy man and he’ll find an easier way to do it.” So was the quote from an old issue of Reader’s Digest. It always seemed to me a waste of time to cook down tomato juice into sauce, so while I was lurking on an online homesteading forum, I found a neat hint about how to make tomato sauce without all the bother of cooking it down on the stove for hours on end. The suggestion was so useful, I had to relay it to the readers of this magazine.
First, core and quarter your tomatoes, place in pot and cook on stove until cooked through.
Secondly, run the tomatoes through a food mill extracting the juice. I usually take the remaining waste and run it through my food mill again to get as much of the pulp out as possible. Now you will have tomato juice. Pour juice into a colander lined with a tight weaved fabric, like a piece of old sheet — flannel works nicely.
Now stir the juice with a spoon, scraping the bottom of the fabric to allow the liquid to pass through. The tomato fragments will remain behind, caught by the cloth.
When finished, you have the liquid separated from the tomato and a thick sauce. If you wish, you can continue to work the tomatoes until it is almost paste. If you go too far and wish it was thinner, just add back some of the liquid removed. Add your favorite spices, or oil if you want it. Now it can be immediately used or canned for later use, or be the base for ketchup.
The beauty of this is it can be made from already canned tomatoes. Don’t have time during harvest to make it? Just can the stewed tomatoes or the juice and finish during the winter season.
Lastly, if the leftover liquid is left to sit over night, the clear liquid rises to the top and any leftover juice settles to the bottom. The clear liquid can be ladled away and the juice can be used to drink. The amount will depend on the weave of the fabric. The clear liquid can be used in soups or to cook rice or beans in.
There you have it, the lazy way to make sauce. I hope this helps you save as much time as it did me.
Originally published in the May/June 2015 issue of Countryside & Small Stock Journal.