Easy fresh tomato sauce.

If technology was really as good as it could be, you’d be smelling the wonderful tomato-garlic aroma coming from my kitchen through your computer screen as you read this post. But since computers don’t (yet!) have a scratch-and-sniff function, you’ll have to take my word for it.

This unusually temperate summer and ample rain has produced a glut of tomatoes in my garden. [As an aside, I can’t recommend highly enough the grafted tomato plants from Jung Seed Co. I planted three cherry varieties: Bumble Bee Pink, Sweet Aperitif and Sun Sugar, and I’ve never had such a bounty of tomatoes from my own backyard.] I wish I’d kept record of the number of pounds of cherry tomatoes I’ve harvested. Next year. There’s always next year.

After another big picking this week, I’ve got a colander full of salad-sized cherry tomatoes simmering with fresh garlic (also from my garden) and sprigs of herbs. I wanted to share this recipe for making tomato sauce out of fresh garden tomatoes; the recipe calls for full-sized tomatoes, peeled, but the cherry tomatoes I’m using work well, too. In a few minutes, I’ll transfer the sauce to prepared pint jars and process them in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.

While tomatoes are still plentiful at farmers’ markets, you’ll want to make this fresh tomato sauce recipe, too. If you’re not into canning, no worries: You can ladle the cooled sauce into plastic containers or quart-sized zip-top bags and freeze it for later.

Like, in February, when you’ll be craving the flavors of summer tomatoes.

easy fresh tomato sauce recipe

(makes about 4 cups)

3 lb. fresh ripe tomatoes (about 5 large)
4–5 sprigs fresh herbs (basil, oregano, tarragon and/or thyme)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
freshly ground pepper

Set a colander or strainer over a bowl. Peel the tomatoes: One easy trick is to scrape the blade of a small paring knife over the entire tomato to loosen the skin, which makes it easy to remove the skin by pulling it off in sections. Set the tomato peels in the strainer. Halve the tomatoes and use your fingers to scoop the seeds into the strainer. Tear the tomatoes into chunks and place them in a large pot. Use your hands to squeeze as much liquid as you can from the seeds and skin; transfer the liquid to the pot. Add salt, sugar and whole herb sprigs; add a generous grind of black pepper. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat and gently simmer for 45–60 minutes, until sauce thickens. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the herb sprigs before using.


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