I detest supermarket pasta sauces – to me they taste artificial.  I don’t like passata either, which is too sweet.  If needs must, I’d rather make a quick sauce from a can of chopped tomatoes, heated together with some fried garlic and perhaps some thyme or oregano.  

Usually, however, we use our own tomato reduction because it has more character.  I’ve been making this reduction regularly for most of my adult life, freezing a new batch about once a month.   None of our tomato-based dishes are quite as good if we’ve used a can. 

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like to find the most efficient methods and I like recipes that I can hold in my head, so this reduction couldn’t be simpler to make. 

I use about 3kg of tomatoes at a time, cut them into chunks and simmer them in a large saucepan for a couple of hours.  Sometimes I add wine, occasionally thyme, or I might just render the tomatoes alone.  It depends on what I remember to do and what I have to hand.   I’m usually doing something else at the same time, so I just pass by every so often and give it a stir.  Once it’s thick enough for my liking I let it cool and then portion it up.  I don’t bother sieving it because I am sure that eating the skins and seeds is good for us.  Besides, I’ve got better things to do and I don’t like mess! 

Every batch is different – though all of them good – not just because of my unscientific approach, but because the flavour of the tomatoes depends on what’s available in the shops or the garden.   Last year we grew enough heritage tomatoes to give us two months supply in the freezer.  This year I plan to bottle some batches as well, to build up a bigger stock while the tomatoes are in season.  

Text and Images (C) Claire @theslowfix A slow food devotee, Claire is constantly searching for new ways to enable us all to live sustainably.

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