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Reducing fresh tomatoes for sauce - pan, heat, etc.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey All,  We just harvested our tomatoes and I got ambitious and used a bunch that had tears, bad spots, etc. for some spaghetti sauce.  I had never done that before.  Anyway, long story short, my family went absolutely nuts over the stuff.  I usually make sauce from cans of crushed tomatoes.

 

So we still have a ton of tomatoes and want to can the reduced tomatoes.  What kind of pan should I use?  Last night I used a 5.5 quart "chicken fryer", which to me kind of looks like a big sauce pan. It is a tri-ply pan from a "members mark" set I got from Sam's Club.  I have read on the internet that this was rebranded Tramontina.  Would a similar pan with a big, thick aluminum disk be better (more even heat on the bottom)?

 

What type of heat is best?  Last night I just boiled it down fast since we were pressed for time.  I had it on pretty high and it took about an hour to get about a quart of sauce.  Does it matter if you reduce it quickly or not?  Is there a "best" temperature range for flavor?

 

Any links or info on this type of sauce making would be appreciated.  I am quite ignorant about sauce making in general outside of your standard white cream sauce (I know there is a french name for this) and its various thicknesses.  I've never touched reduced sauces before.

 

We are hooked!  I want to make it the best I can.  Thanks for any help.

post #2 of 9

I use a large stockpot that is stainless steel. Do not use bare aluminum, the tomatoes will react with it.

post #3 of 9

make it simple and dont add different things so that it doesnt overpower whatever ucook in it. make t simple maybe some grlic basil and tomatos maye some tom. juice and reduce. medium heat should be fine.

Chef it up errrrday!!!
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Chef it up errrrday!!!
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post #4 of 9

I agree with Mary - no aluminium, it will give on unususl and not nice taste - but the bigger the pot, the better.

 

I agree with Skatz as well, keep it simple.  You can always add other things in later when you are cooking the dish you want.

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #5 of 9

FWIW, I do not flavor my canned tomato sauces. Nothing in the jars but tomato and a little salt. Reason: This leaves my options open for when I'm actually cooking. The jarred stuff then serves as the platform for whatever tomato-based sauce or soup I'm working on.

 

I start by quartering the tomatoes. These go in a pot and are cooked down just until soft. I then pass them through a food mill to remove the seeds and skins. The remaining "puree" is then cooked down to the consistency I want. I tend to do my boiling-down over low heat.

 

Pot choice is determined by size. That is, it depends on how many tomatoes I'm working with. Generally speaking, a pot that is wider than it is high works best for reducing liquids. And, as others have noted, you want a non-reactive pot: no aluminum or copper. And, for this process, cast iron isn't the best choice either.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 9

All I add for seasoning is salt and pepper, as mentioned it keeps the tomato sauce usable in more recipes.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

I planned on doing exactly what KYHeirloomer does: can/jar the reduced tomatoes.  I make sauce of whatever type with that when I actually do the specific meal.  It sounds like my 5.5 quart SS pan will work fine.

 

The big question:  Does the amount of heat matter?  KYHeirloomer uses low heat.  Is there a reason for this?  I would guess it's because it is easier to tend, although it takes longer, OR the flavor somehow ends up better with low heat.

 

Thanks for the help!

post #8 of 9

I would say I do it more out of habit than anything else. In addition to straight reductions, I often put up things that have a heavy sugar content; such as apple butter and tomato jam. Low and slow, with lots of stirring, is the only way to avoid scorching.

 

With tomatoes there's another reason. More than any other product I've worked with, tomatoes form mini-volcanoes as they cook down. The harder the boil (which is a function of the amount of heat) the higher and further these eruptions throw hot sauce.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

OK, I'm ready.  Thanks for the help!  I know what you mean about the "mini-volcanoes".

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