July 25, 2005

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

In spite of the evil squirrels' best efforts and a distinct lack of high productivity from our Roma and heirloom tomato plants, our grape tomato is producing abundant, oversized fruit. Add to these a few Romas that I pick at about half-ripe to keep them out of the hands of the squirrels and the amount of tomatoes on our counter becomes overwhelming quickly.

I give many away and Justin and I eat a lot, which is pretty funny for people who only a few years ago would have sworn we didn't like tomatoes. The children still make that claim and we don't push it. Sometimes they have to try a bite or two, but that's not going to go very far towards reducing the summer's bounty. So in addition to adding tomatoes to everything, eating fresh tomatoes all the time and giving away a bushel, I've also been making a lot of spaghetti/all-purpose chunky tomato sauce. We've eaten some and it's delicious, but most of it has gone into the freezer next to the homemade pesto to be eaten sometime next fall when we don't have fresh tomatoes to enjoy.

Here's the recipe I've been using, which has been adapted from a few different recipes.

Spaghetti Sauce

3 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
a large celery rib, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste


1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Saute about 5 minutes. Add red wine; simmer wine and vegetables for another 5 minutes.
2. Scrape vegetables into a crockpot. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 hours on low heat. Stir frequently.
3. Let sauce cool, taste seasonings and add more basil and oregano if desired. Stir in can of tomato sauce. Pour sauce into quart size freezer containers. Store in freezer.


Sounds yummy. I'm going to have to try this one.

Posted by: Sarah G. at July 25, 2005 12:58 PM

How wonderful to have that many tomatoes. I had the same problem with my Roma and Beefsteak tomatoes when I planted my garden last year (did not plant this year).
I spoke to my dad who knows fertilizer and he said my soil was poor in... uhm, nitrogen I think it was... I will double check with him and get back to you if you want. I have seen what his fertlizer ideas do to a garden and I must say it is rather remarkable.

Posted by: blair at July 25, 2005 03:06 PM

Argh! Me luvs Tomaters!

The recipe sounds "delish"; printed and filed. Thanks!

Posted by: DR at July 25, 2005 04:53 PM

The simplest way to keep your soil healthy is to rotate what you plant and make sure to plant peas or other nitrogen-fixing plants every third year or so.

However, your best bet is to speak with a local gardener and ask for the local soil issues; they will know best how to make your soil rich!

Posted by: B. Durbin at July 30, 2005 11:24 AM