For most of the year, I am a staunch advocate of the small batch. I make jam in skillets, put up pickles one pint at a time, and simmer my chutneys in a miniature Dutch oven. However, come tomato season, I change my tune and go big. Very big.
Over the last five years, I’ve gotten into the habit of buying at least 100 pounds of tomatoes in the first or second week of September and spending a few very messy days painting my kitchen red.
I peel tomatoes, pack them into jars, and can them whole. I make tomato jam. I roast trays of tomato puree until they thicken into brick-red paste. And I cook up vast vats of basic marinara sauce that becomes the base for batches of meat sauce and soups all year long.
Having homemade marinara sauce on your pantry shelf is a dinnertime lifesaver because it means that you’re never more than 20 minutes away from a meal that you can feel really good about. [Read more...]