Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tomato overload and lots of tomato paste

Yesterday morning I counted the tomatoes on my table.  51 of them, but not all of them were completely ripe.  Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that I have them as this isn't the best tomato year for many of my friends.  I did the 'tinkle and sprinkle' fertilizing on them, but I sure can't tell people that around here.  :o) 

If you don't know what 'tinkle and sprinkle' is, it's diluted urine.  You have to get past the ewww part of it, but it sure seems to work.  I just whizzed in a bucket and added 10 parts water or so to every one part whiz.  I poured the diluted urine close to the plants when they were still smallish and then watered to make sure it wasn't too strong and to make sure some got down to the roots.  Now it's almost shocking how big and full my plants are compared to everyone else's around here.  Okay, enough talk of pee and back to the tomatoes.

I always shoot for growing enough to last us until next year's harvest.  I didn't get nearly enough tomatoes last year, but this year I might make it.  Yesterday I made 10 pints of salsa, 3 cups of ketchup (Heinz ketchup clone recipe) and 2 cups of pizza sauce.  The rest of the tomatoes are slated to be spaghetti sauce and more BLT's.

Two items that I always buy in the big, institutional size cans, are tomato sauce and tomato paste.  Where I live, it's a huge savings to buy the big can over a bunch of little ones.  The tomato sauce isn't too bad to deal with as I can ladel it into different size containers and pop them in the freezer.  The tomato paste is different.  You just usually don't need too much of it at a time.  I had to open the can as I use some in my salsa, then I just stared at the rest of it for a bit.  I'm rather low on little containers right now.  Then the obvious hit me (only took a few years) - I could just blop big spoonfuls out on some freezer paper or wax paper on a cookie sheet, freeze the blops and then store them in a couple gallon freezer bags. 

The ketchup and pizza sauce were afterthoughts.  Both use tomato paste.  We're a Hunt's ketchup family, but I haven't found a recipe that tastes close to Hunt's.  So I use the homemade stuff in cooking (goulash, meatloaf, etc) and save the pricey stuff for hamburgers or whatever.  The pizza sauce is fantastic, I could just eat it with a spoon.

Here's what I used:

I should add that I don't follow the pizza sauce recipe exactly.  I don't use anchovy paste nor do I add all the separate spices.  I love the taste of Tone's Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning, so I use a teaspoon or so of that instead.  I also use the parmesan/romano blend (the kind of powered cheese in the plastic jar), plus I simmer it for a few minutes.  Use the seasonings that you love.

And the salsa?  Everyone seems to have a different opinion of what 'good' salsa should be.  Mine is thicker, no chunks with a touch of sweetness.  After cooking, I let it cool and then hit it with the stick blender.  I used to can it, now I just put the jars in the freezer.

20 - 22 peeled and cut up tomatoes
Two 6 ounce cans of tomato paste


An institutional size of tomato sauce

Then add:
3 big onions
2 bell peppers
1 cup of white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup salt
9 to 14 jalepenos, half with seeds (more or less, depending on heat level desired)

Rough chop all vegetables (except tomatoes) in food processor.  Mix all ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.  Can in jars or freeze.  Makes about 10 pints.

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