First I want to start with a HUGE thank you to my husband’s grandparents for making it possible for me to make homemade spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, salsa and canning fresh tomatoes. Since we moved our garden isn’t very productive. I know it takes time to get everything just right but I’m just not use to struggling with growing tomato plants that are worth a darn.
My husbands Grandparents however have A-MA-ZING soil and the perfect garden and they grow me all the tomatoes I can handle. My first trip out we picked 120 lbs. and my second trip we picked 125 lbs. off of SIX Roma tomato plants! I was lucky to get 6 tomatoes off each of my plants this year. The only down side to picking that many pounds at once is having to deal with all of those tomatoes at the same time.
I do however have a secret weapon when it comes to processing that many tomatoes before they start to spoil.
Its called a Roma Food Mill and it total changed my world when it came to making tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and salsa from fresh tomatoes. Before I owned a Roma Food Mill I used to blanch my tomatoes until the skins split and transfer them to an ice water bath, peel the skins and squeeze the seeds out then puree the tomatoes. Not only was this super time consuming but doing this for hundreds of pounds of tomatoes was extremely messy and I always ended up with burning my self.
Using the Roma Food Mill takes that arduous process and turns it into an easy and super fast way to process tomatoes. The only step I take before processing is washing the tomatoes thoroughly and discarding any with bad spots. If your processing a larger variety of tomatoes you may need to half them so that they will fit down the hopper. Roma’s however are the perfect size and I don’t even have to cut them up.
I recommend when setting up the Roma Food Mill that you use the tomato screen and secure it with the C-clamp to the edge of the counter so it is secured well, I find when processing as much as I do the suction ends up coming off the counter. When your ready to start processing place two bowls under the spouts, one will end up with all the seeds and skins and the other will be the tomato puree. Fill the hopper about half full with tomatoes and start cranking. When your puree bowl is full transfer it to the stove or crockpot and begin the reducing it down.
Reducing the tomatoes down is a loooong process and you don’t want to burn them so I bring them to a steady simmer and then reduce them down to low stirring them often until they are the consistency you want. Depending on what variety of tomatoes you are using this can sometimes take days, yes I said DAYS! I have found using Roma tomatoes is the best for making sauce and have the least juice so the reducing process takes less time and a fine mesh strainer to separate some of the juice off is also very helpful.
Next up Canning the tomatoes for tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce!