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Secret Sauce

We’ve been setting aside some of the tomato harvest (plums and Juliets) to try and make sauce.

Plum and Juliet tomatoes

Plum and Juilet tomatoes we set aside for sauce.

In the past, our homemade sauce has tasted more like tomato soup than tomato sauce. It has a delicious tomato flavor, but tastes nothing like the jar sauce we usually use (Whole Foods’ 365 brand marinara) or any other I’ve tried for that matter. For this attempt, Anne borrowed a Victorio food strainer from a friend.

Victorio food strainer

The Victorio food strainer. Whole tomatoes go in the hopper; pulpy juice comes down the chute.

We ended up with about 7 quarts of tomato juice that was very watery. After adding onions and garlic, we let it simmer for hours. When it was reduced to about 2 quarts, it was still thin, but the texture seemed right. We’re wondering does it really take that many tomatoes to make two measly quarts? What’s the secret? Anyone? Bueller?


I don't know for certain, but I suspect it has to do with the variety of tomato and its "meatiness to pulpiness" ratio. (I made that up.) That's my guess, anyway-- perhaps I should do my own research on the subject....

We always chop and drain the tomatoes and then only add the liquid as needed. Also, try frying a bit of good quality tomato paste in olive oil and chopped onions before adding the fresh tomatoes. Finely minced carrots and celery also do wonders for flavor.

Yoko, You’re right that meaty is good, which is why we grew plums this year, which are very meaty and suitable for sauce, but not a lot of meat survived the Victorio.
Jim, Some recipes we consulted specified chopping the tomatoes, but we wanted to try the Victorio. I tasted it today, and it is delicious; nothing like tomato soup. I think it needs a touch of sugar. I don’t think it’s too late to add carrots and celery; thanks for the suggestion.

It sounds like you have plenty of tomatoes to work with, and all the right machinery. I find that I usually need to add 2 cans of tomato paste, those tiny little cans.

Sparky, Jim also recommended tomato paste. Next time... I added finely diced carrots and celery and the final sauce was truly excellent, bursting with tomato flavor without tasting like tomato soup as our efforts usually did in the past.

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