August 12, 2023

Pizza Sauce: New Recipe!

Why pizza sauce? Why not tomato sauce, or pasta sauce, or marinara? I suppose because pizza is the main thing I use it for! Spaghetti sometimes, or ravoli, or lasagna. Well, sometimes with gnocchi and meatballs, but mostly on pizza. And this year, I'm using my new recipe. 

You may recall that last year, after I purchased my power blender, I discovered fresh tomato sauce. Until then, I didn't know that a blender could pulverize the skins and seeds which would automatically thicken the sauce. My previous method called for a day of running the tomatoes through my Roma juicer and then three days or so cooking it down in my slow cooker. Then finally, the next day I could can it. So that was roughly five days worth of tomato processing and sauce making and preserving. With this method, I can get the whole thing done in an afternoon! What a savings of time! And of electricity for cooking it down. 

What I wasn't sure about, was how well my new method would work with frozen tomatoes. I tend to toss extra tomatoes into the freezer, and after I get several full gallon bags of them, I pull them out, defrost them, drain them (saving the water), and make sauce. 

Tomato tip: Frozen tomatoes peel super easy as they defrost,
meaning you don't need gallons of boiling and ice water!

Freezing, though, tends to toughen the skins, and I wondered if that would be a problem for the texture of the sauce. I really didn't feel like spending all day with my manual juicer though, so I decided to experiment. 

Result? No problem! All that was left was to season, heat and can it!

Liquefied thawed tomatoes.

For the sauce seasoning, I tried another experiment. I simply added chopped onion and fresh herbs to the last batch of tomatoes going into the blender. 

Raw onion and fresh oregano and rosemary.
I also added salt, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar.

Then it's heating the sauce to a boil and water bath canning as usual.

What's really noteworthy, is how the blender sauce looks compared to the cooked down method. 

On the left is a jar of last year's pizza sauce, made by cooking it
down for several days. On the right is the fresh blender pizza sauce.

I had some left over that didn't quite fill the last jar, so that night we tried it on gnocchi and meatballs. No picture, but I can assure it it was delicious. The rest went onto Friday night's pizza. I did get a photo of that!

I love that our homemade pizzas have at least some homegrown
ingredients. On this one, it's the sauce, mozzarella, and the pepper.

This method is definitely a keeper! Faster, easier, and so much tastier. The only thing I will do differently in the future, is to make sure the little stems are removed from the cherry tomatoes before I pop them into the freezer. Slicing tomatoes should be cored before freezing. Those two things will make sauce making even faster. 

I also wanted to mention the bonus by-product, i.e. the drained water from the frozen tomatoes. It's not juice, but it's quite tomato-ey in flavor, so I don't waste it. Part of it went as liquid for canning black turtle beans. The rest I canned on it's own and labeled it "tomato broth."

Canned tomato broth

I use it for soup or to make tomato gravy or Spanish rice. 

What's everyone else doing with their tomatoes? 


daisy g said...

Oh, how I do miss my homemade gravy. (That's what I call tomato sauce.) It started causing reflux, so I had to remove it from my diet. I may introduce tomatoes again at some point, but for now, I will just have to envy your sauce. So glad you found an easier way. The high speed blender we have is a fantastic way to make instant soups too. I use it for hummus, dips, pesto, even ice cream making. It's a worthwhile investment.

Do you make homemade gnocci? Oh my gosh, that was always my favorite thing my sweet momma made. I requested it for my birthday supper every year. The storebought version just doesn't even come close.

Enjoy your weekend. No doubt you'll have saved so much time making your sauce that you'll come up with another project! ;0D

Leigh said...

Daisy, I'm so sorry to hear about your reflux problem. That's annoying. I'm not real keen on heavy tomato sauce on anything, myself. Seems like heirloom and open pollinated tomatoes are more acidic than commercial grocery store types.

Great ideas for the power blender! I'd especially like to try hummus. It makes such a great spread or dip. I'd like to try it for salad dressing too, for when I don't have fresh ricotta to make my ricotta ranch dressing.

Yes, fresh gnocchi is fantastic, and easy to make. At least with ricotta it is, I've never tried the potato version. It freezes well too.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

That is a great experiment Leigh, although I guess I am not totally surprised the food processor was able to knock it all down. And pizza sauce to my mind is equally usable as pasta sauce and vice versa.

I had never heard/thought of putting tomatoes in the freezer, but that sounds like a great idea.

The pizza look delicious. Then again, I am always up for pizza.

Jillee said...

What a novel idea for your new sauce recipe. I had always heard never put tomatoes in the frig due to it diminishing the flavor. Sounds like you had no issue with cold storage doing that. My husband and I recently got an electric grain mill, to make all our flour products with freshly milled, 100% whole grain. What a blessing this has been, and many thanks to Bread Beckers, and Grains and Grit YouTuber for the wonderful information and lessons. Of course, one of the first things we tried was pizza. We have always used a store bought sauce (cannot have a garden in our HOA-run community, and store bought tomatoes here in FL are tasteless). This time, for the sauce, all we used was a can of uncooked-by-us, whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand directly on the pizza dough, with some dried seasonings sprinkled on top. We used store bought fresh mozzarella, and pepperoni. The pizza was out of this world. Even though the sauce was from canned tomatoes, it was so wonderfully bright and fresh tasting. The crust, needless to say, was delicious. We used hard white wheat.

Leigh said...

TB, freezing extra tomatoes is a wonderful way to deal with them. Mostly I do it because summer is so busy, and I like delaying canning them until cooler weather. Using the freezer to help peel whole tomatoes is the best kept secret! Sure beats standing over boiling water on a hot summer day.

Jillee, congratulations on your grain mill! Isn't fresh flour the absolute best? Plus, you can make all kinds of exotic flours like oat, rye, and rice.

Brilliant idea for the pizza sauce. Sounds extremely tasty.

I never refrigerate tomatoes either. I know it isn't supposed to be good for them. They don't seem to mind the freezer, however. Of course, they're mushy when defrosted, but the retain their flavor. It's a great way to save up small quantities until there's enough to make a large batch.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! Love the tomato broth idea. I am thinking a good base for a slow
cooker roast and blend in other personal favorites such as herbs for an amazing gravy ! However the possibilities are endless. Goatldi

Leigh said...

Goatldi, tomato broth for a slow cooker roast is an excellent idea! As you say, the possibilities are endless. :)

Nancy In Boise said...

Great idea! I've only started canning Tomatoes The Last 2 years when we had a couple bumper crops. I just can't complain for Soups and chilies and then froze some. I thought about making sauce but like you said it's very labor intensive and I just don't have time. Good idea though to get something that's very similar for a lot less money! And I've never heard of tomato broth but I understand what you mean. When I thought mine there was definitely a lot of that liquid in the bag. I did dump it into the chili which worked okay but never thought of canning some! Good idea thanks!

Leigh said...

Nancy, I confess, I'm thrilled with the new recipe. What a breeze to make tomato sauce now!

Freezing surplus tomatoes is a great way to save them. (I think!) Great idea to add the defrost water (tomato broth) to chili! I'll remember that one. It's so handy to have vegetable flavored broths at the ready.

Ed said...

I have seemed to cross paths with you at a slight distance. I used to always blanche the tomatoes to remove their skins, cooked them down and used a stick blender to emulsify them before canning. My problems with this route is that blanching is a lot of work and introduces a lot of water that must be cooked down to remove again.


Based on your previous posts, I decided to go your route, er... your former route. I just cored the tomatoes, threw them in a pot and cooked them down skin and all. I think used a hand crank mill to remove the skin and seeds on the first batch and decided that was enough of that and bought an electronic version. I just did my second batch yesterday and it was MUCH MUCH quicker. Where I differ I guess is that I cook them down on the gas stove top and not the slow cooker. Going this route, I cut, cooked and juiced 3 five gallon buckets worth of tomatoes one afternoon and cooked them down a bit. The next morning I cooked them down the rest of the way, canned around 50 pints and was done by noon.

Doing it this way will burn a little of it at the bottom of the pans I use but as long as I don't scrape the bottoms as I stir occasionally, I have never had problems with any scorching modifying the taste. But when I make tomato paste, I do use the slow cooker and it does take a lot of time.

Funny thing is, we were comparing jars of my old style versus the new (your previous) style and we loved the lighter look of the new style.

Leigh said...

Ed, that's a good point about the slow cooker; it does take a lot longer. It's been years since I cooked on a gas stove, but from what you describe, I wonder if there isn't more subtle control of the heat with it. I have a heat diffuser for the electric burners, but I never thought to use it for tomato sauce. I think the appeal of the slow cooker is that it frees me up to go and do other things.

That said, I like the blender method best! But if it was between blanching or running it through the food mill later, I'd still choose the food mill.

I'm glad you've improved on your method! Better sauce with better times is always a win.

Ann said...

Do you do anything special for water bath canning tomato sauce? I thought tomatoes had to be pressure canned. On top of that, I understand that using a pressure canner on our flat-top electric stove could cause the glass to crack. I have been eyeing a stand-alone pressure canner but... Right now I halve and core my tomatoes and roast them in the oven for a bit. At that point the skins slip right off and I toss them in the (not power) blender. I just freeze the result and it's pretty good. But someday I hope we have too many tomatoes for that to be realistic. :-)

Leigh said...

Ann, I just follow the recommendations in Ball Blue Book and water bath process pints for 35 minutes. Tomatoes are acidic and so safe to can in boiling water. Directions always call for the addition of lemon juice or citric acid as well. I do pressure can them if I combine them with okra.

There's a USDA handout on canning tomatoes here. It gives processing times for a variety of tomato products for both boiling water bath and pressure canning.

Roasting the tomatoes first sounds like it would make an extra tasty sauce!

Ann said...

Leigh, wow! What a great link on canning tomatoes. I love how specific and detailed it is. We grow tomatillos and tons of peppers too. Thanks!

Leigh said...

Ann, you're welcome! How neat that you grow tomatillos. That's something I have yet to try.

Rosalea said...

Anxiously awaiting the first one to ripen! Almost there. Tomato time is the best, as so much else is ready in the gardens. I love just walking out and harvesting stuff for meals.
Your post makes me want to rush out and buy a power blender! I have found ways to reduce the time spent canning tomatoes, but your way is brilliant.

Rosalea said...

Still awaiting the first one to ripen...soon now. Tomato time is the best, as so much else in the gardens are ready. Just love walking out and harvesting stuff for meals...cucs, carrots, broccoli sprigs, fresh herbs...
I have found ways to reduce the time spent canning tomatoes but your way makes me want to rush out and buy a power blender. Brilliant, Leigh.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, the power blender was expensive enough to make me think carefully before buying it, but it's been oh, so worth it! It saves time plus expands the possibilities of things I can do, such as make cornmeal from whole kernals or powder dried fruits and veggies. It will make soup and ice cream too(!) although I've yet to try these.

Rosalea said...

sorry Leigh. My comments didn't appear to go through at the time.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, no problem! I think after so many days my comments automatically switch to moderated. It helps me keep track of them!

Fundy Blue said...

Your pizza sauce looks delicious, as does the pizza, Leigh. All I'm doing with my tomatoes is eating them ~ lol! It's been a long time since I've made preserves. I'm enjoying the process vicariously through you! Thanks!

Leigh said...

Fundy, tomatoes are for eating no matter how! I admit, however, that homemade tomato sauce is one of our must-haves here. I don't preserve everything, but this is a favorite.