last weekend gigi and i headed out for an early morning at the farmer's market. thanks to our csa and my garden i didn't really need to get anything, other than a breakfast burrito. i thought about getting some apples, but then i saw these tomatoes ($19 a box!) and had to have them. when i planted my tomato plants last spring (actually summer, which is part of the problem) i had visions of canning all sorts of sauce from their fruit. well, i didn't plant them early enough, and our summer was incredibly short, at least in terms of summery weather, and so my dreams of canning my own tomatoes were dashed. there was just no way i was going to get 40 lbs of tomatoes from my two plants. i know this now and am making note of it for next year's planting... so naturally i bought two boxes, never mind the fact that my husband had just had dental surgery, so i was doing everything around the house, plus caring for him and gigi.
all i can say is thank goodness for moms. my mom came over and brought her old victorio strainer. when i was born my parents were living on a farm in the country where they had a big garden, kept chickens, raised a calf for meat, and raised irish wolf hounds. i of course have no memory of any of that since we moved when i was one. i hadn't ever seen this strainer gadget before, but i am sure glad my mom kept it for all of these years.
it magically separates the pulp and juice from the seeds and skin. mom helped me with the first box and then i did the second box the next day. after doing all of the second box by myself i think i might invest in the kitchen aid strainer attachment for next year. all of that cranking and pressure really kind of took it's toll on my back. although i bet gigi would like to crank it next year... well, we'll see where we're at next fall. anyway, it's nice that there are all sorts of options, especially when i was initially thinking i had to blanch, peel and de-seed all of those tomatoes by hand. no thank you.
then i put the pot of tomato puree on the stove and simmered it until it was reduced by half. i did two batches and it took many hours. oh, and my stove looks like a nightmare. i decided not to add any additional flavorings (onions, herbs, etc) so that i'd have more flexibility in the dishes i could use the sauce in. now i can turn it into marinara sauce or enchilada sauce. i think my biggest surprise is that 40 lbs of tomatoes turned into 10 pints of sauce. i just might have to see if i can get another couple of boxes to make some more sauce, because 10 pints isn't remotely going to get us through the year.