It’s almost the end of gardening season, and my grandpa’s garden is overflowing with tomatoes. With a bunch of his gorgeous tomatoes, I’ve made a very simple tomato sauce. I’ve never been a huge fan of tomato sauce, but I definitely like it when it’s more creamy and not so acidic. Tomatoes and I have a very special history. My grandparents came to Canada from Vietnam back when I was about 10 years old, so I still have some childhood memories of my grandpa’s garden when I was little, and he has a green thumb like no other person I know. When I was 14, he and my grandma lived with us and I fondly remember picking the cherry tomatoes and eating slices of the massive, plump, red tomatoes and gingerly dipping the slices in chili salt.
We would have tomatoes just fresh and by themselves, with chili salt, in soup, in stir fry, or over fried fish (this was back in my omnivore days). I remember following my grandpa around as he watered the plants, or seeing how to built the structures to wrap around the tomatoes. When he lived with us, he turned 50% of our backyard space into a garden. Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to play volleyball or soccer in the backyard anymore, but hey, I would have much rather spent my time either reading or writing Lord of the Rings fan fiction back then (yep I was a fanfic writer/RPGer).
I always loved the fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden, but I honestly HATED doing the dirty work. Every spring before summer, my mom would make me come out and take out the weeds or clean up the dead plants and I was the biggest complainer EVER. My knees hurt, my back hurt, I was itchy from all the allergens attacking me in every sense possible.
But ultimately, look at those gorgeous tomatoes. After all that hard work. So bright, red, and juicy. Full of flavour, and I’m pretty sure they were organic (I don’t think my grandpa uses pesticides… although I’m not sure.) Most people would peel and de-seed the tomatoes before making them into sauce, but like I said, this is a simple tomato sauce. I am hella lazy, and if I’m gonna blend everything anyway, why bother? I’ll just blend the seeds and skin into oblivion and the extra fibre and nutrients stay in the sauce. Win/Win.
I was also going to can this so I could send Chris a jarful, but with a quick google, I immediately discovered that you can’t just can any tomato sauce willy nilly, you need to make sure the acid levels in the sauce are high enough to eliminate the chances of any botulism spore growth.
So let’s just say I just didn’t can the sauce and I’m going to eat it within a week. I’m already one jar down, and the second jar will be used next week in a deliiiicious post! Anyway, thanks everyone for reading my recap post about the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s 29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival, and enjoy your postponed recipe post!
Yields Makes 1 L of sauce
- - 8 tomatoes and diced (deskinned + deseeded is ideal but I didn't do this)
- - 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
- - 4-6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- - 3 tablespoons olive oil
- - 3 dried bay leaves
- - 1 tsp dried oregano
- - 2 tsp dried basil (or 1 sprig, fresh)
- - salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium low heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients cook down and become somewhat homogenous.
- Remove the bay leaves and use a stick blender or transfer to a blender.
- Blend until smooth and completely homogenous, and add salt to taste.
- Transfer to a clean storage container (I haven't tried canning this, and I wouldn't recommend it because the other ingredients lower the safe levels of acidity in the tomatoes).
- Store in the fridge once room temperature. Keeps for just over a week.