I am like a proud mommy all over again. After 3 months of daily watering, weeding and watching I finally birthed my first tomato harvest! Granted, only one of the two plants that I started off with survived (hail storm in July…) but still, I am happy! The tomatoes are big beefy “mortgage lifter” heirloom tomatoes. Supposedly they got that name when the man who first bred them used the profits to pay off his mortgage…I have a looooong way to go until my gardening is that profitable ;-).
For now I am enjoying the fruits of the harvest, literally. The mortgage lifters are sweet and earthy tasting. Supposedly they are good cooking/roasting tomatoes. Since I had about 10 in my first harvest I decided to eat a few and cook a few so nothing would go to waste.
I made a fresh tomato sauce that is easy to freeze and take out as an alternative to canned sauces. It is a good recipe to make on a Sunday or a day that you don’t have to rush out of the house, as it takes a few hours to simmer. Here’s the scoop:
Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce
Makes about 3-4 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time 2-3 hours
You will need:
5-6 large tomatoes , chopped (I used my heirloom tomatoes but any beefy variety will be fine, could also use double the amount of Roma tomatoes as they are much smaller)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped (*optional…could substitute a number of different vegetables such as green pepper, red pepper, mushrooms, etc)
¼ cup olive oil
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 large handful of fresh basil, stems removed
Chop all ingredients, set aside.
In large and deep saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until transparent (~2 minutes). Add zucchini and garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt. Bring ingredients to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cover. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring every so often.
After about an hour, add brown sugar and basil (mixture will be more sauce like now as the tomatoes will have cooked down and formed a liquid). Cover and simmer another 1 hour.
from heat and let cool for ½ hour. Place sauce in Tupperware and put in freezer.
May also use right away with pasta. You could add ground turkey or beef to make a classic meat sauce or pour it over roasted/pan seared chicken as an alternative or eat simply with noodles and parmesan cheese.