Author Topic: I want to make sauce using fresh tomatoes. Never done it before. Need help  (Read 1029 times)

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Offline A-Neibs

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I have a desire to make some pizza sauce using fresh tomatoes while they are in season. I would like to say I've tried that on one of my pizzas. I was talking with a member who grows his own San Marzano tomatoes and has made sauce using those. Unfortunately, I haven't grown my own tomatoes and I don't have access to fresh San Marzanoes. I'm planning to go to the local Farmer's Market to buy some that should be quality and better than store bought. I have been watching videos on youtube, looking up recipes online, and have read many threads on here about fresh tomato sauces. I have some questions and need some help from anyone who has any experience.

When I make sauce using canned tomatoes, I like to buy a quality tomato, and I add very little to it. I like to let the tomato flavor shine. Can I do that with garden tomatoes or will they require more seasonings other than just salt?

I've watched a lot of videos and most of them involve blanching the tomatoes, peeling off the skin, crushing them in a food processor or something like that, heating up some garlic in olive oil, adding the tomatoes, and letting them simmer for a few hours to let them thicken up.

Again, as I said, I would prefer not to add all the other things if I can help it. Do I need to cook the tomatoes? I know a lot of people feel that it's unnecessary to cook a canned tomato because it's been cooked in the canning process, but what about with a fresh tomato? Will I need to cook it or can I just use it the way it is?

A lot of people mention that the sauce is too watery or runny. This seems like a very common problem. How do I combat that? Is it best to add tomato paste? Should I let the sauce cook and thicken up for a while? Should I drain the tomatoes or the sauce, or will that cause me to lose flavor?

Please share any thought or ideas, successes or failures. Sorry about all the questions, but I've never done this. I really don't want to add olive oil and oregano and those kind of things if I can get away with it. I would like to let the tomato shine. Thanks for any help!!






Offline norma427

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Neibs,

I don't know if you ever saw Les's Sebastopol Sweet Sauce made with grape tomatoes and Escalon's 6- in-1's.  It is at Reply 5 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1931.msg17063#msg17063 and continued at the next posts.

The thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11539.0.html is where I tried Les's sauce with many different tomatoes, and also not just with 6-in-1's, but with Walmart Great Value Crushed tomatoes.  I liked Les's sauce with fresh tomatoes very much. 

This is another thread about making pizza sauce with fresh tomatoes. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=28593.msg287888#msg287888 

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Divani

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Neibs,
What I do is to blanch for 3 minutes, peel and pass through a food mill or meat grinder, I do not like the texture when using the food processor or the stick blender.  Right after grinding it does get watery but then I either let it drip for a while through a cheesecloth or remove the water with a ladle (if you make a depression in the ground tomatoes with a ladle water starts collecting there and it is really easy to remove).
I then season with salt and some olive oil, sometimes with a whole garlic clove that is later removed.  I like it better than the canned tomatoes.
Here is the result:

Offline A-Neibs

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Thanks for the replies Divani and Norma!

That pizza looks great Divani and the sauce looks bright and vibrant! Very nicely done. I have a food mill, so I'll give that a shot. So you just drain them for a little bit after passing them through the mill? Is that right? And you don't cook it at all? Thanks for sharing!

Any other thoughts are always welcome.

Offline Divani

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Thanks Neibs,

That is right, you can drain through a cheesecloth or collect the water with a ladle.  I do not cook it at all, but I blanch the tomatoes for 3 minutes dropping them in boiling water.  You can try it that way and then experiment and blanch the tomatoes for a longer or shorter time.

Oh, I also remove the stems from the tomatoes prior to blanching.

If you try it please let me know if you liked the results.

Regards,

Offline gfgman

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I've done pizza sauce a few times from fresh tomatoes, and it didn't turn out well.  I probably used bad tomatoes.  The times that I have done pasta sauce, I will say that the larger tomatoes like Roma's and other types gave a great flavor, but grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, wrecked it. 
I have some San Marzano plants that came from a local grocery store.  I've got them growing in large pots, and I can't wait to try them.  I've noticed also that all the big box stores, and even local nurseries, now carry SM seeds on their displays.  If my plants work out, I will definitely be getting seeds for next year.
My dream is to have a glass porch with full sun so I can have vegetable plants year round, or to move some place where the climate would allow a year round garden.
 

Offline Tonio

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I use a Vitorio strainer/food mill http://www.amazon.com/Victorio-VKP250-Strainer-Sauce-Maker/dp/B001I7FP54/?tag=pizzamaking-20

I just blanch the tomatoes a few minutes, and dump in a cold bath (water/ice), enough to handle and then strain it through the Vitorio. It removes the skin, and seeds. It does get watery, so I drain it in some cheesecloth, while saving some of the water for later use. I let the pulp dry some in a container without a lid for a few hours, then add and stir a leaf of basil, salt and adjust the moisture with the leftover water if needed. Then refrigerate overnight as a base sauce.

I use the sauce mainly straight as mixed, or I add garlic, oregano etc depending on the style of pizza in mind.

Organically grown tomato is so much better than store bough fresh. Only issue for me even in San Diego, is that I cannot harvest tomatoes all year as much I make pizza. So I "can" 50% of my harvest in a traditional canning method into " canning jars", or freeze tomatoes for emergency and/or soups, pasta sauces.

I'm still trying different canned whole tomatoes and/or crushed, and definitely searching for bottled type pasta-strained sauces.

I haven't had a chance to try any San Marzano tomatoes grown in Italy, but I grow san marzano 2, san marzano ridorta, costoluto genovese, cuore di bue, red pear from Italian seeds, and domesticated speckled roman, big rainbow, japanese black trifelle, black krim organically. I may not have soil from Mt. Vesuvio, but they taste great.

Straight up san marzano, or plum/paste type tomatoes do not have much flavor vs a beefstake of type tomato even cooked down. Last year, I tried a SM ridorta and big rainbow beefstake tomato once, and adding a good slicer - beefstake tomato adds good flavor. Its so much brighter in "tomato " taste, without all the tin and citric acidiness from can tomato. I'll be trying more combinations with this years harvest for sure!!




Offline Tscarborough

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I have better luck making marinara with fresh tomatoes than pizza sauce.  The packers de-skin them in pressure cookers, so they do not get above the magic temperature that degrades "tomato flavor".

Offline chrisf

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Before using the 6 in 1 I run them through a food mill to get rid of the bits of skin.

Offline reeter

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If I may,
http://www.marthastewart.com/967632/how-peel-tomato-or-stone-fruit

If you are doing what you call blanching for 3 minutes, that is cooking the fruit.  Especially with something like a San Marzano that does not have a lot of volume to it in the first place.  Blanching is used before freezing fruits and veges, if called for. Something about halting enzyme action. You only need to put in boiling water for 30 seconds to slip off the skins. I don't cut out the core, but scoring the blossom end helps. HTH.
reeter


Offline TXCraig1

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If you are blanching individually in boiling water, 10 seconds is enough. This will leave the velvet on the tomato. Much longer and it comes off with the skin.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline stonecutter

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I have better luck making marinara with fresh tomatoes than pizza sauce.

I have been doing the same up to this point...having tried nothing else because I really enjoy marinara on pizza crust.
http://oldworldstoneandgarden.com/


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Offline TXCraig1

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I kind of like what I did here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=32556.0

It's the only pizza sauce made from fresh tomatoes I've tried that I liked.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline petef

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I've been doing fresh tomatoes to pizza sauce for over 10 years and my methods have changed. I used to blanch and peel them, but no more because it's too time consuming and I typically have to process 50 pounds or more over a period of 10 weeks or so during the harvest season.

Here's how I do it now...

* Wash tomatoes under tap water, cut off tops, cut out any rotten pieces or white pulp and then cut them into halves or quarters which allows me to poke my fingers into the cavities to get the seeds out and drain the watery stuff.

* Next, place the chunks of tomato in a standard blender and pulse it a few times just to break them up.

* Pass them through a hand cranked food mill using the smallest screen (1/16" holes) which removes the seeds and skins.

http://www.amazon.com/MIU-France-Stainless-Steel-Food/dp/B0000DZDFN/?tag=pizzamaking-20

* I then put the liquefied tomatoes in a "fat separator" pitcher and let it sit in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours. The water sinks to the bottom and I'm able to pour it off.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/oxo-good-grips-reg-4-cup-fat-separator/1013355266
This leaves a you with a thin sauce that you can thicken further by cooking down, or straining further through a cheese cloth, or just adding tomato paste. I'm still experimenting with all 3 of these methods.

After all the above, use your preferred method of adding spices, and cooking or not cooking the pizza sauce.

Here's my current pizza sauce recipe using the liquefied tomatoes...

16.0 ounces Liquefied Tomatoes   
0.25   ts      Salt   
1.00   ts        White vinegar   
1.00   ts      Olive oil - Bertoli classico   
1.00   ts        White sugar   
0.13   ts      Hot Pepper, fine ground   

Heat over low flame to about 140 deg F.
Sometimes I cook it down (20 to 40 mins) to thicken,
or I'll just add some tomato paste cooking just long
enough to blend in the paste.

I freeze it for use up to 1 year later, at which time you can add more seasonings or just use it as is.

Like I said, I've done the blanching thing and I've done it this quick and easy way. I can't say that I've noticed any big difference in taste. To me the most important part that no one ever talks about is how to use your nose and taste buds as you are cutting up the tomatoes to throw any portions out that don't smell or taste good due to being overly ripe, under ripe, or rotten.

---pete---

Offline Tscarborough

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It sounds like you have it going on, thanks for sharing the methodology.  Maybe I will get some farmers market tomatoes tomorrow.

Offline pizzashopownercolombia

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I am wondering if anyone knows more about stomach problems that causes cooked tomatoes sauce (from fresh tomatoes) ?
As I understood it is about acids you loose when you cook them which makes the sauce always go a bit fermentated..





Offline TXCraig1

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Tomatoes are a borderline low acid food. It's generally considered wise to add lemon juice or citric acid when canning them.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline vernonator

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I grow alot of tomatos and freeze gallons every year. I use the resulting "sauce" for pasta and pizza's. I use a food mill attachment for my big Kitchen-Aid mixer and NEVER blanch 1) too much work, 2) kills the fresh flavor. Run them thru the mill, use a ladle to scoop off the excess water and you are all set. I have completley stopped canning them and strictly freeze now. Put the sauce in a gallon and/or quart freezer bags (I do a combo of both so I have various serving sizes) and its good to go. Better than any canned crushed tomotes you can buy.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 12:45:47 PM by vernonator »

Offline petef

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I grow alot of tomatos and freeze gallons every year. I use the resulting "sauce" for pasta and pizza's. I use a food mill attachment for my big Kitchen-Aid mixer and NEVER blanch 1) too much work, 2) kills the fresh flavor. Run them thru the mill, use a ladle to scoop off the excess water and you are all set. I have completley stopped canning them and strictly freeze now. Put the sauce in a gallon and/or quart freezer bags (I do a combo of both so I have various serving sizes) and its good to go. Better than any canned crushed tomotes you can buy.

I'm with you on all the above, except one thing, and this is strictly a food safety issue. If you freeze the sauce from made fresh tomatoes without first boiling it at least momentarily, is there any risk for food safety?  I've often wondered about this, so just to be safe I heat my sauce to about 185 deg F then lower the temp to about 140 deg F for about 10 minutes before freezing.

Most times, as I'm heating the sauce a white scum rises to the surface in blotches and I remove it by sweeping a paper towel across the surface.

That's just my procedure. Your process could be totally safe, I just don't know for sure.

---pete---

Offline pizzashopownercolombia

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Tomatoes are a borderline low acid food. It's generally considered wise to add lemon juice or citric acid when canning them.

Thanks Craig, I am trying this out right now. I let it cool down first before the adding the lemon juice.

I have many problems in my shop storing sauce. We do bashes of 20kg of tomatoes, getting the heart out, process them for 20 sec then cook it for 40 minutes... add a about 5% tomato paste and a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the last 10 minutes.

For storage we use the old pineapple jars (4ltrs), clean and rinsed out with vinegar. We let the sauce completely cool down, with nothing else added we fill the jars at maximum and put them in the fridge.

At least once a month you find your jars there with bubbles in it.
Lately I also put mix a can of pomodori into the bash in the hope there are some preservatives helping me, and also for the taste.
I would like to work only with cans but it seems expensive (around $1.70 for 400ml where I can get 2kg of local tomatoes for).

One of the problems I think is I am getting the reddest tomatoes delivered and some might be overriped.

Looking for a solid recipe on this forum, any advice or push in a direction would be highly appreciated!

 
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 01:49:12 PM by pizzashopownercolombia »