Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Jar of Simmer Sauce.....

So I don't know about you, but I am already thinking about Christmas. Yes you know me, I am a planner. My really good friend has this motto, "Less is more..." so I am adopting this motto for myself and applying it to Christmas. I decided I am going to do a lot more home made gifts rather than buying. I started thinking about possible DIY gifts. Cookies are great.. but everyone makes cookies. So I thought I would start a list of posts of some great DIY gifts that are truly unique and that your family and friends will love. For my first post I though... how about jarring some home made "simmer sauce?" This can be made even easier by simply saving spaghetti sauce jars for a few months. Here is a super simple fool proof method of making your own yummy sauce. Just make a couple batches of this, tie a pretty homemade label around the lid, place in a cute basket with a baguette and a bottle of wine and bingo!


  • 12 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 25 tomatoes), peeled*
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt or 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup lightly packed assorted fresh herbs (such as oregano, thyme, parsley, or Italian (flat-leaf) parsley), chopped
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice


Cut peeled tomatoes into chunks and add some of the chunks to the food processor. Cover and process until chopped. Transfer chopped tomatoes to a 7- to 8-quart nonreactive heavy pot. Repeat chopping remaining tomatoes, in batches, in the food processor. Add all tomatoes to the pot.

Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar, and black pepper to the tomato mixture. Bring to boiling. Boil steadily, uncovered, for 70 to 80 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced to about 11 cups and is desired sauce consistency. Remove from heat; stir in herbs.

Spoon 1 tablespoon lemon juice into each of six hot, clean pint canning jars. Ladle sauce into jars with lemon juice, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims; adjust lids. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 35 minutes (start time when water returns to a full boil). Remove jars; cool on wire racks.

Spicy Simmer Sauce: Stir in 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper with the herbs.

Roasted Garlic Simmer Sauce: Stir in 3 tablespoons chopped roasted garlic with the herbs.

Double Tomato Simmer Sauce: Stir in 1 cup snipped dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) with the herbs.

recipe and image courtesy of

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