About 35 years ago, at the age of 28, I had a huge scare with breast cancer. That’s when I began my journey toward eating healthy, before cooking holistically was even popular, like it is today. I often experimented until I found recipes that worked for our family, taking traditional recipes and contemporizing them to fit all of our tastebuds. But with five children under the age of six, I didn’t have time to cut vegetables! So I began to create and have fun by serving large, tasty kettles of soup to family and friends. This versatile tomato sauce is the perfect way to use up your end-of-the-season tomatoes and other harvest vegetables without spending a lot of time chopping vegetables. It’s easily frozen in large freezer bags and can be used as the base for spaghetti, lasagna, chili, and other soups throughout the year.
– Tomatoes (a large canner 2/3 full)
– Bag of washed carrots (cut in half)
– 1 celery bunch (cut off bottom end)
– 1 large zucchini (cut in half)
– 1 eggplant (cut in half)
– 4-5 green peppers (cores and membranes removed)
– A few hot peppers (2-3, depending on overall heat of the peppers, cores/membranes removed)
– Sweet vidalia onions (1 bag, skins off)
– Fresh garlic (1 or 2 large pieces)
– Salt and pepper, to taste
After washing vegetables and chopping them in half (it’s not necessary to cut them more finely), take a huge canner or a big kettle that won’t burn and fill it with ingredients listed. Cook on medium-low heat 8 hours or so until vegetables are softened. Let cool; once cooled, puree in blender or processor, then fill gallon freezer bags, removing as much air as possible before placing in freezer. Place in freezer flat; stack vertically or horizontally once frozen.
Variations: There are many ways to use this sauce, including delicious soups. For example, fill a 6-quart kettle with your homemade tomato sauce. Thicken with rice flour, cream, and butter. Add basil, more garlic, oregano to taste, your favorite cheeses, and/or croutons. Bring to a gentle boil and keep warm until ready to serve. Enjoy on a crisp fall or snowy winter day — oh, yes, and maybe top it off with your favorite whole-grain bread and a piece of homemade apple crisp!