Author Topic: I want to make sauce using fresh tomatoes. Never done it before. Need help  (Read 492 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!!






Online 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".