Last year our old blender gave out. After much consideration, we decided to get a Vitamix blender as a replacement. We had been reluctant to get one before because of the cost. For the price of one Vitamix, we could get almost get five or six ‘regular’ blenders! But as it turns out, that is one purchase we should have made a long time ago. The Vitamix easily handles tasks our old blender could barely perform, like blending fruit for leathers or apples for applesauce. And it was probably doing heavy duty tasks that caused the old one to burn out anyway.
Since we got it a little over a year ago, the Vitamix has seen a lot of use here for a variety of tasks, from making Green Smoothies and my new favorite Chocolate Zucchini Smoothie to making things like Tomato Leather. Lately I’ve been putting it to use making tomato sauces and ketchup, and it has changed the way I make these summertime preservation recipes.
Last year I began experimenting with using the whole tomato, skins and all, to make unseasoned tomato sauce. Now, I know some purists would scoff at using a whole tomato, including seeds and skins, to make sauce. But to be honest, I couldn’t detect any difference in the finished product. And it sure speeds up the whole process if you don’t have to skin the tomatoes first. Plus, the skins add fiber and help thicken the sauce. To start the process, I wash and drain the tomatoes. Then it’s off to the Vitamix for blending. These Juliet plum tomatoes from the above photo went in the blender whole.
I process the tomatoes on high speed until they are well blended and any signs of the skins and flesh disappear. At this point, you have some lovely tomato juice.
Cherry, grape and plum tomatoes can all be used whole to make sauces. For paste type tomatoes, I remove the stem end and cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on size.
I core any larger tomatoes, and cut out any bad spots. Any and all tomatoes can be used for sauces. I often use a mix of paste and slicing tomatoes. The paste tomatoes (Roma types) have a lower water content and a higher percentage of solids, while the slicing tomatoes usually have a better flavor. Having the Vitamix has enabled me to use whatever homegrown tomatoes I have at the moment.
Once I get all the tomatoes blended up, the juice goes into a large pan or stock pot to cook down. I like to reduce the volume by about half, which usually takes about 1 to 1-1/2 hours and results in a nice thick sauce. This unseasoned sauce can be used in a variety of dishes, from chili to marinara sauce to soups. And there’s no added salt or sugar – just lots of tomato-y goodness! This recipe can be scaled down, or up, as needed.
For more recipes using tomatoes: