February – March is tomato time and an ideal time to visit an outdoor tomato grower and convert boxes of sun ripened tomatoes into sauce!
I assure you this is as easy as can be and once you have made your first batch there will be absolutely no going back. Tomato sauce and pasta sauce are easy and inexpensive to make and by using large lush sun ripened tomatoes you will be capturing summer in jar for the year ahead.
This feature is brought to you by DYC – New Zealand’s Original Vinegars
Tomato sauce, as in ketchup (to differentiate from tomato pasta sauce), commercially has its origins with Heinz in USA and it is not coincidental that the word ketchup and the Asian term kecap are similar. 17th century traders returned from China with a spicy fish condiment called kecap that proved popular in the Western world. One hundred years and a load of variations later, the sauce featured tomatoes and in 1876 Heinz produced their first tomato ketchup (or catsup if you like).
Interestingly enough the Malaysian term kecap (pronounced kechap) also means sauce but is a sweetened thick soy sauce.
In New Zealand, Australia and often in the UK, ketchup is commonly called tomato sauce.
It is a thick sauce of tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices and traditionally is served with meat pies, sausages and fish and chips.
Tips for Making Delicious Homemade Tomato Sauce
* Buy outdoor tomatoes when they are at their best. This will vary with location and seasonal temperature fluctuations but in NZ it is generally mid February to mid March.
* Beefsteak and Roma tomatoes are both suited to sauce making.
* Long cooking thickens the sauce as the water evaporates off.
* Remember to stir the sauce regularly, particulalry as it thickens, to prevent it sticking to the base of the pan.
* Always use plain salt as opposed to iodised when making sauces and chutneys as iodised can cause discolouration.
* Tomato sauce can be made in a crockpot or slow cooker.
* Generally tomato sauce is made with vinegar but in some recipes acetic acid is used as a preservative instead.
* Collect empty vinegar, alcohol or other bottles with lids so you have plenty for your sauce. To purchase new bottles check out Arthur Holmes ltd or try Briscoes or Countdown supermarkets.
Tomatoes contain lycopene – an excellent antioxidant. Lycopene is particularly concentrated in cooked tomatoes such as sauce.
While not a tomato sauce, my friend Rosie gave me this recipe for uncooked tomato relish some years ago and I have been making it ever since. Aside from being easy to make it is positively fresh and delicious tasting.
Where to buy outdoor tomatoes in New Zealand?
If you have any other recommendations of growers then please do let us know.
Youngs, beef steak tomatoes, PYO option so bring your own bag
Open 10am-3pm daily.
Pukaki Rd, Mangere.
Riverhead Orchards, – outdoor tomatoes,
1135 Riverhead- Coatesville Highway 28.
Brinkwood Road, Matangi
WELLINGTON – HOROWHENUA
Penray Gardens – PYO tomatoes, chilli, apples.
Between Te Horo and Otaki on State Highway 1.
Get up to date availability from penray gardens on facebook
NELSON AREA –
Berrylands – sauce tomatoes
108 Appleby Highway Appleby 7001
ph 03 544 2099
Gar-Sun Tomatoes – sauce tomatoes
95 Main Rd
Williams Holdings – sauce tomatoes
The Vege Pot
432 Prestons Rd, Christchurch.
03 383 1412
We have 3 prize packs to give away courtesy of DYC Vinegar
- 1 x 750ml DYC White Vinegar
- 1 x 750ml DYC Malt Vinegar
- 2 x jars
To enter into the draw email your name and address to [email protected] with DYC in the subject line. Competition closes 5pm February 29 2012
Tomato sauce eaters can be divided into dippers or pourers – I am a dipper, what are you?