Fresh from the Garden: Homemade Tomato Sauce (Salsa, Pickles and More)

| 8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM

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August – the tomatoes are ripening faster than I can eat them. This is good! I don't do a lot of food preservation, but I do make tomato sauce each summer. Hopefully, I am able to freeze enough to take me through to next summer when the new crop of those red, sweet globes ripen on the vine.

I realized, this year, that almost all of the ingredients for my tomato sauce were growing (or had grown) in my garden — tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, oregano and basil. Most of the tomatoes were already sitting on the kitchen counter, just waiting to be popped into the pot. The garlic and onions had been harvested earlier in the summer. And the basil, parsley and oregano were just waiting for me to stroll to the garden, scissors in hand, to snip a few sprigs.

But the purpose of this tale is not to share my tomato sauce recipe (that comes later, below) but to suggest that you can tailor a small garden to the ingredients in your favorite recipes. Do you love to make salsa? Add some cilantro and a few varieties of peppers to the produce list above. Are pickles your favorite side dish? Grow beets, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, dill, garlic and onions. Maybe you only have room for a small garden patch next to your patio. You can grow culinary herbs or tea herbs such as lemon balm or a variety of mints. If you grow what you love to eat, less produce will go to waste and you will have the satisfaction of eating the freshest and most nutritious food all summer long. And by preserving the harvest in some fashion you can continue to enjoy those summer flavors for the rest of the year.

I use this with spaghetti, lasagna and any other recipe where a tomato sauce is called for.

You can adjust the measurements to suit your taste.

11/2 to 2 gallons fresh tomatoes

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