Even on a dry year like we've experienced this summer, tomatoes contain a lot of water and there are several options to thicken watery tomato sauce.
- Cook the tomatoes down with the lid off to evaporate the water.
- Add tomato paste to the sauce.
- Add cornstarch, clear gel, or therm flo to the sauce. (Cornstarch will sometimes separate when used in freezing and canning. Clear gel is better then cornstarch for canning. Therm flo is even better for canning or freezing - if you can find it. I purchase it at a bulk food store.)
This year I accidentally found a way to thicken tomato sauce that worked very well.
Since my tomatoes were ripening slowly, I washed, cored, and halved the tomatoes, placed then in containers and large bags and stored them in the freezer. When I acquired a nice amount of tomatoes (in other words, couldn't fit any more tomatoes in the freezer) I pulled then all out and thawed overnight. I was surprised the next morning to find that the tomatoes had all condensed together and a clear liquid surrounded them. I poured off this water, allowed them to sit for an hour, again poured off the liquid and proceeded with my recipe. The resulting sauce was the thickest and richest I have ever made!
I was telling my sister-in-law my discovery and she said that to make pizza sauce, she blends her tomatoes raw (skin on but not the cores) and lets the puree sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, the water has separated to the bottom. She ladles out the thick tomato sauce on top and dumps the water.
Another benefit I found from freezing tomatoes is that they are already soft. I did not cook the tomatoes to make juice. I just put them through the food mill raw. It was so much easier then trying to ladle hot tomatoes.
And my last break through - use the food mill outside! I always had my kitchen splattered from floor to ceiling by the time I finished making tomato juice! I'm not sure why I never thought of doing it out on the deck on the picnic table! The clean up was so simple!
I'd love to hear your tomato tips!
Linked to Tuesday Garden Party
and Kitchen Tip Tuesday.