The freshest crops of tomatoes are in, and cooking in a large batch is ‘Game On!’ I love this time of the year, it is super busy, yet I manage to create and freeze our favorite fresh tomato sauce. There’s no question that the best sauce comes from summer tomatoes freshly picked. This Italian chica eats her leptins, sorry world to disappoint.
My game-changing kitchen appliance is the Instant Pot. If you don’t have one, you need to get one. You will not believe how much you never use your stove. Instant Pot Tomato Sauce with fresh garden tomatoes is no longer a day-long process. In fact, I don’t even can the sauce, I freeze it in zipper bags!
Personally, quicker is better and fresh is fresh right? What you will find different is the only waste bi-product in my recipe will be the stem tops of the tomatoes. Yes, I do things a bit differently and trust me, once you try it, I know you will be converted as well. Waste not, want not! Here’s how to create Instant Pot tomato sauce with fresh garden tomatoes in minutes.
Instant Pot Tomato Sauce With Fresh Garden Tomatoes
I question everything
Sometimes lack of time is the mother of creation and other times it is the want to just use what I have. For a long time, I would crush tomatoes with my MIL, run them through the mill to get rid of seeds and skin.
With every push of a tomato, I questioned the process. Honestly, I previously owned an Italian Restaurant/Deli and I knew how to prepare many different sauces. One of the biggest ‘hits’ with my customers was my homemade, cooked down sauce with the seeds through it.
Funny, as I talked to more and more of my clients and family, I would learn that they reserved one batch of tomato sauce that contained both seeds and skin. Hmmm, I was not the only one with success in taste when it came to the sauce. What I learned is there is something more gritty, more tasteful when you leave the tomato in tact!
My clients would come back and request more of the ‘fresh sauce’ with a few of the seeds through it. They loved the texture of the sauce. What was I on to? As time passed, we gave up our restaurant/deli (no nanny could withstand my work-a-holic hours so something had to give). While we walked away from the business, I never walked away from cooking and creation of recipes.
Zipped Bags For The Freezer
With a little more time to myself, I spent it with a very great friend. She had no kids but she was also an Italian restaurant owner. She had just gotten married, and we were organizing her house and unpacking and I learned something, you can freeze food in zippered bags. “What, what??” was my reaction.
Her freezer was efficiently stocked with frozen portions of soup, sauces, veggies, etc. In fact, this was like my dream freezer, portions, ready to go in an instant and she had no kids. She was already overly-efficient and ready to meet the challenges of life on demand.
What she taught me was canning is not necessary when you already have things cooked. Just pop it into portioned bags, defrost when ready and eat! Love ♥♥♥!!!
I guess you know where this is going right? After I prepare my homemade Italian sauce from fresh baskets of tomatoes I zip it into freezer grade zipped bags (available at all retailers) and I am done. No jar prep, no extra steps, just sauce on demand!
Let’s Make Instant Pot Tomato Sauce With Fresh Garden Tomatoes
Go to your local farmers market and pick up ripe Roma Tomatoes. They are the best for this fresh sauce. You will need to wash them and sort through them. If there is a blemish, cut in and through to really make sure there is no rotting in the middle. Rotting can ruin your sauce. I had one tomato out of a batch of 45 that was bad, so it was perfection if you are asking me!
You will only be cutting the very top of the tomato, where the vine was connected, and you will maintain the rest of the tomato. Like I said, we are using these babies all the way!
I used 15 tomatoes per batch, they are the size of my hand. Take a look so you can get an idea of how big your tomatoes need to be to get to 10 cups of fresh tomato. These were all washed, dried and then sliced in 1/2.
Additionally, I used 8 large cloves of garlic per batch, peeled then sliced. I do not believe you can use too much garlic but would suggest not going beyond 10 cloves just in case. We are not attempting to ward off vampires, lol!
Fresh basil is great, make sure to get off the ‘woody’ part of the stalk and keep the leaves. I purchase mine from Trader Joe’s in bulk and keep at least 2 packages ready for this task. I use a paper towel, moistened to clean the basil not wanting any added water for the already watery tomatoes I am about to puree.
The paste can be increased if you find your first batch is too watery by adding in one can. Or, you can also not add 2 cans of water per can and just add paste. I find that I have to adjust this with every fresh batch of tomatoes as none are the same. The more watery the tomato the less water I add. You will get to understand your tomatoes as you do this as well as the consistency.
8 Cloves of Large Garlic, peeled and sliced in 1/2
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 Tablespoons of Mediterranean Sea Salt
15 Roma Tomatoes (ripened obviously)
1/4 C of Sugar
8-10 Leaves of basil (taken off stem and woody part discarded)
2 Cans of Paste (6 oz each) + 2 cans water per paste (4)
Tomatoes, Paste, Water.
First, we are going to use a blender to puree the tomatoes. You will make 5 cup increments, and a total of 10 cups so not to overflow the Instant Pot. As you move along, you will be adding in just one other ingredient, so this is simple. The objective is to truly PUREE the tomatoes in their raw form.
Next, it’s time to add in the one mix-in that will thicken the consistency and not really alter the taste. Use any brand you are comfortable with. I buy the same brand over and over, call me a creature of habit, but you can use any.
Also, yes you could use organic if you like, not a big deal either way, totally preference and budgeting.
Puree tomatoes a little at a time. I worked with 5 cup increments for a total of 10 cups (max fill on Instant Pot that I own). Once I was at 3 cups fill on the puree part, I added in one can of paste, in addition to 2 cans of water. Then I again pureed to really mix in the paste as it is thick.
I continued on with all 15 tomatoes (30 pieces) and the additional can of paste until everything was processed and mixed. Simply add the sauce into a large mixing bowl as a holding unit until you have finished pureeing all tomatoes.
The consistency will look like this before it is cooked. Yes, you see the seeds in there, I told you that you would. We crushed the entire tomato, pureed it. It is totally delicious, I promise and the work load is just so much less!
Olive Oil, Garlic, Basil
Touch Saute on the Instant Pot, add in oil, garlic, and basil. Allow it to saute without a lot of oil snapping (when it gets too warm). This means you do need to mix it around a bit with a wooden spoon, just lightly sauteeing garlic. Do not burn the garlic or you will need to start over.
Tomatoes, Sugar, Salt, Parm Rind Mixture
Now it’s time to really get this finished. Add in all 10 cups of the pureed tomatoes (this should already have the paste and water mixed in), then add sugar and salt. Lastly, add the Parmesan Rind. First, you should know that the sugar and salt will take the bitter OUT of the tomatoes, and they can be.
It will not sweeten the sauce to the point of ‘yuck’, I am not a sweet girl anything, trust me. Tart is not good on sauce however and the seeds and skin will add in, so you need to cut out. Now, remember, I saved you time without pressing through a mill, you will LOVE this, I know!
The parmesan rind is my secret in so many recipes. A Parmesan cheese rind is something most toss, but I keep mine. In fact, I toss them in the freezer and add them to soups, and sauces always. They provide a salt without adding too much salt, a taste that is sensational!
Now that everything is in, stir and allow to saute for about 3 minutes, it will bubble, so then quit sauteeing. Press CANCEL. Add the lid to Instant Pot. Seal. We do not want to vent for this process so SEAL the toggle.
Next, Press Soup and move the time to 13 minutes. It’s now time to get your kitchen back in order while this cooks.
Zipped Bag Process
Once your Sauce is done cooking. Press Cancel and unplug Instant Pot. Allow to cool naturally, then vent and open the lid. Remove liner with sauce into an ice bath. Allowing outside of liner to bath in ice and cool. Mix your sauce so that it distributes the heat. Alternatively, you can just let the sauce cool.
Measure 4 Cups at a time and place into an appropriate zipped FREEZER bag (they are thicker). I then zipped the bag and allow it to cool 24 hours in the fridge before I freeze it. I attempt to remove all air from the bags. Set them straight up in the freezer and that’s it. When you are ready for fresh tomato sauce, it is waiting for you! ~Enjoy… Dana XO
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