Two weeks ago I used up our last jar of homemade spaghetti sauce, so I ran to the store and… No just kidding. That would be funny to my children who know that homemade/ homegrown spaghetti sauce is my specialty, and we eat lots of it. Even now that it is just my husband and me at home we average using one to two quarts a week. Not only do we use this sauce for spaghetti (we use the term loosely to describe any pasta, i.e. rigatoni, mostaccioli, rotini, topped with spaghetti sauce ) we also use it if we make lasagna, ravioli, stuffed cabbage or stuffed peppers.
Each year we grow lots of paste tomatoes, most of which I make into sauce, we also grow the oregano, basil, parsley and of course garlic, that I use in the spaghetti sauce. Since making tomato sauce is very time consuming, and when the tomatoes are ripe I find myself with more tomatoes than time (to make them into sauce), the last two years I have resorted to quicker methods of preserving tomatoes. I have frozen tomatoes and canned tomato juice, because I can always make those in to sauce later. Once I even dehydrated tomatoes because I couldn’t let them go to waste and slicing them up for the dehydrator was the quickest thing I could think of.
My plan for making sauce last week was to cook down tomato juice. I figured I would probably have to cook down 5 quarts of tomato juice to make the enough sauce (about 2 quarts) and it would take most of the day. In the morning before I started I came across this post about dehydrated tomatoes on one of the blogs I follow http://selfrelianceadventures.com/dehydrated-tomato-chips/ and was reminded that I had dried some tomatoes last summer and they were just sitting in my pantry waiting for me to think of something to use them for. I then had an idea.
Maybe I could use the dehydrated tomatoes to thicken the tomato juice. Now when I dehydrated the tomatoes they still had the skins on and the seeds in them and I really didn’t want chunks of tomato with skins and seed in my sauce so I would have to experiment. I took out a handful, about 10 or so, dried tomato slices and put them in my Nutri Bullet blender. I then added about half a quart of tomato juice. I plugged it in and let it run for a minute or so. When I poured this combination into my sauce pan it was a thick sauce – no chunks, no seeds, no skins. SUCCESS! I then added 2 1/2 more quarts of tomato juice and let it simmer for a couple hours before adding the rest of my ingredients.
This worked so well I’m sure I will repeat this process and use the rest of my dried tomatoes in the next few weeks. It wouldn’t really be necessary to add tomato juice to the dried tomatoes – water would work just fine, and in the correct proportions, though I’m not sure what they are right now, cooking the liquid off would not be necessary.
I am so thrilled that I have discovered this method of making sauce. I decided to share it with you in hopes that someone who reads this might find it helpful just as I did with the above post from Self Reliant Adventures.
Oh, and I suspect I will be dehydrating lots more tomatoes this summer. 🙂