A VERY PRODUCTIVE DAY
As I woke up this morning the smells of yesterday’s busyness still lingered in the air. The smells of garlic and tomatoes. Now to some of you this may not be a pleasant thought to wake up to these smells, but to me it is a reminder of a good day!
Over the years our tomato production has evolved into a much easier process. The actual processing, I mean. These last two years in our new house we have had to move production to the garage. So there is so much more prep to begin…bleaching and cleaning and setting up tables. In our old house we had a large kitchen and an outdoor kitchen, perfect for what we needed to do.
As far as the evolution of processing, we have gone from a “hand cranking” the tomatoes in the mill, after they are roasted, to an automatic mill that does the tomatoes in literally a few minutes a pan. This has been an amazing improvement.
This year in addition we have purchased a large pressure cooker/canner. It will hold 18 jars and helps us process even faster!
ON TO THE SAUCE
To begin our tomato day, we wash and cut all the tomatoes, put them in tins (easier cleanup), and toss in some olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. The tomatoes are then roasted in the oven until they become a little crisp, turning during the cooking process, until you get a nice roasted tomato. We will also get a good amount of liquid in this process and we will then drain liquid and save (MORE ON THAT LATER IN THIS POST). The tomatoes will then go through the mill and give us that nice pulp that will become our sauce.
“SAUCE” OR “GRAVY”
Now a little aside here, “Sauce” or “Gravy”, what do we call it…well in our house it is divided. Roger and I both grew up in houses where our moms are Italian. I grew up calling it “Sauce” and Roger grew up calling it “Gravy”. The bottom line is whatever you call it, it is GOOD!!! And although through the years I have maybe a time or two reverted to saying “Gravy”, I still think of it as “Sauce”.
Back to our Sauce…after we have put the tomatoes through the mill we put a pot on and saute some garlic and olive oil and saute this for a few minutes, then add our tomatoes, more Italian seasonings, salt and pepper and some wine. And we simmer and taste and adjust our seasonings, add more of this and add more of that. This process is a family affair, yesterday we had Roger’s Mom, his sister, Tracy, Olivia and Gabby. So we had many “tasters” to get it just right. So much fun!!! There is really no recipe for this, from year to year the tomatoes change and there are so many factors that affect the sauce so you just have to go by “taste” to get it right.
Once the sauce has simmered and we have it just where we want it, it is time to begin canning. This is great when we have many hands, it goes quickly and then it is all done but the processing. This is where the process slows down a bit. But I might just say with the pressure canner this year, it moved right along!!
This year from 14 bushels of tomatoes we yielded 120 jars of sauce. For us this is a perfect amount.
Yesterday’s Discard is Today’s Delicacy
You have heard me talk about our “Liquid Gold” or as we are now calling it Kimmyscucina Gold. This year I was more excited about making this as I was about making sauce.
Last year we had so much of this liquid “waste” that we were throwing away because we didn’t want sauce to be too watery. Well at some point I thought why are we wasting this, let’s try to boil it down and see what we get. Well can I say we were AMAZED. What we got from this was a deep, rich tomato sauce, or I would be more inclined to say gravy. There is a depth to the taste that is so delicious. It is just what you would want to throw in a crock pot with some beef and make a beef stew. We have also put this on pasta as our sauce and it steps up the flavor that much more.
Now, I might add that this is not a job for the “faint at heart”. You need a lot of patience and time for this sauce. Waiting and waiting to get it to the right consistency. So a day later we still have this pot boiling away and have condensed down from pot to pot, until it becomes a thick sauce.
Oh well, enough of my ranting on about this…all i can say is that it is GOOOOOOD!!!!!