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Homemade tomato sauce problems #2995069
12/13/21 08:52 PM
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ruderunner Offline OP
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Ok, foodies need some help. For the past several years we've been trying to make sauce from our home grown tomatoes and keep having problems with tartness and or bitterness. This year seems especially tart and it's a little heartbreaking that we've cooked down 150 pounds of tomatoes and have something less than tasty.

We had thought that maybe we were leaving too many seeds or skins in and getting foul flavor there. This year we got a food mill and have no skin or seeds in either batch.

Today the wife tried some internet tips with minimal effects. Carrots, no change, peanut butter no change, caramelized onions noticeable but almost too oniony. I had previously tried baking soda with mixed results and lots of foam. Definitely a high acid content in this sauce.

Anybody got grandma's tips?


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Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ruderunner] #2995072
12/13/21 08:54 PM
12/13/21 08:54 PM
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Sugar?

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ruderunner] #2995077
12/13/21 09:02 PM
12/13/21 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ruderunner
Ok, foodies need some help. For the past several years we've been trying to make sauce from our home grown tomatoes and keep having problems with tartness and or bitterness. This year seems especially tart and it's a little heartbreaking that we've cooked down 150 pounds of tomatoes and have something less than tasty.

We had thought that maybe we were leaving too many seeds or skins in and getting foul flavor there. This year we got a food mill and have no skin or seeds in either batch.

Today the wife tried some internet tips with minimal effects. Carrots, no change, peanut butter no change, caramelized onions noticeable but almost too oniony. I had previously tried baking soda with mixed results and lots of foam. Definitely a high acid content in this sauce.

Anybody got grandma's tips?


Fully ripened and type of tomato matters, Roma works.

Type of onion matters, yellow is better than white. Yellows are sweeter,, whites are onionier.

Be frugal with the baking soda, you add a little at a time till the tart goes away. Too much makes it taste funky.

Butter can help, try a pat, stir it in and taste.

Sugar added as a last resort, again, start small, taste and add as needed.

Sometimes you need to do more than one "fix" to get it where you want it.

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: Pacnorthcuda] #2995078
12/13/21 09:02 PM
12/13/21 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Pacnorthcuda
Sugar?
iagree

Also you need other spices like garlic,onion,oregeno,olive oil, some peppers if you care to add heat up

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Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: fourgearsavoy] #2995106
12/13/21 10:05 PM
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Had the same problem this year and tried the sugar with no luck. Had to throw away all the sauce.

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ] #2995112
12/13/21 10:15 PM
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you can add Add sweet vegetables to your recipe, carrots or sweet onions, i puree them first. Or add yellow or orange tomatoes for half the tomatoes in your recipe.

Always taste your sauce after cooking, and adjust with sugar at that time if needed.

Or you could make the tart sauce into Garlic and thyme/oregano sauce, instead of straight tomato sauce.


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Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ruderunner] #2995139
12/14/21 01:07 AM
12/14/21 01:07 AM
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My experience is that you have to match the tomato to your (micro)climate. I was not getting sweet/tasty tomatoes until I started buying seeds from a local tomato breeder who kept making hybrids until he had varieties that did really well in our area. You might check and see if there is anyone in your area doing that. If you have a master gardener program in your area, they might know of them. You could see if anyone in https://www.reddit.com/r/tomatoes/ is in your area and has some tips.

My ex-MIL grows Home Depot bought Early Girl tomatoes and they are so sweet I cannot use the sauce as sauce - I make ketchup out of it. Where I live (about 40 miles away), I can never get them so sweet, so I use some varieties made for my climate.

The other suggestion I have is to make sure your soil chemistry is good and your are feeding them well and chucking compost at them.


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Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: calmopar] #2995143
12/14/21 01:46 AM
12/14/21 01:46 AM
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Fat_Mike Offline
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Originally Posted by calmopar
My experience is that you have to match the tomato to your (micro)climate. I was not getting sweet/tasty tomatoes until I started buying seeds from a local tomato breeder who kept making hybrids until he had varieties that did really well in our area. You might check and see if there is anyone in your area doing that. If you have a master gardener program in your area, they might know of them. You could see if anyone in https://www.reddit.com/r/tomatoes/ is in your area and has some tips.

My ex-MIL grows Home Depot bought Early Girl tomatoes and they are so sweet I cannot use the sauce as sauce - I make ketchup out of it. Where I live (about 40 miles away), I can never get them so sweet, so I use some varieties made for my climate.

The other suggestion I have is to make sure your soil chemistry is good and your are feeding them well and chucking compost at them.


THAT.
EDIT: You have to start with good tomatoes.


Last edited by Fat_Mike; 12/14/21 01:48 AM.
Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ruderunner] #2995151
12/14/21 07:24 AM
12/14/21 07:24 AM
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Time to make it into SALSA and I mean HOT SALSA!! panic Add enough habanero and jalapeno peppers and forget about any sweeteners for those sissies laugh2

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: A12] #2995159
12/14/21 07:55 AM
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So many things hit here- yellow tomatoes are little to no acid. Roma and plums are thick fleshed/bodied and are ideal for sauce. When initially making sauce, you should add all the extras, not after you can. Who ever said taste while making- yes sir, spot on. I feel like it can still be saved but you're going to have to be patient and figure out whats going to work in that and write it down so you can repeat the process.

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: moparjim79] #2995168
12/14/21 09:08 AM
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whenever Mom made sauce from home grown tomatoes, she used garlic...not from a spice jar, but real cloves, and some sugar.


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Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ruderunner] #2995195
12/14/21 10:23 AM
12/14/21 10:23 AM
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Learned a tip from a friend with Italian heritage, he always puts a peeled potato or two in the sauce, sliced in half, to reduce tartness. Seems to work pretty well. Sometimes I'll add a small amount of a sweeter red wine or balsamic vinegar.



Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: basketcase] #2995201
12/14/21 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by basketcase
whenever Mom made sauce from home grown tomatoes, she used garlic...not from a spice jar, but real cloves, and some sugar.


Yep!^^^^^^

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: Dcuda69] #2995257
12/14/21 01:45 PM
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ruderunner Offline OP
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Ok some more background. Tomatoes are a mix of Roma, Amish paste, pink girl, lemon boy, and a couple beefsteak varieties. All I were ripe. We typically chunk and freeze them during growing season then thaw and cook this time of year.

Wife's batch is pretty basic, olive oil, lots of garlic small dash of Italian season mix.

Mine is as above but I add onions, green pepper, and sweet basil.

Both batches were simmered about 24 hrs to reduce water content and thicken. Stirred often and not allowed to boil.

This isn't bitterness like a unripe tomato, more like a grapefruit effect.

We don't like sweet sauce so sugar is a last resort.

Also we added butter and lard. Potatoes gad come up in a search but not tried. Was potato raw or cooked?

Adding starch has crossed my mind as a possibility that wouldn't thin the sauce.

Last edited by ruderunner; 12/14/21 01:50 PM.

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Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ruderunner] #2995261
12/14/21 01:53 PM
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Potato should be put in raw and the pieces removed when sauce is done, don't mash them in or anything like that.




Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: EV2RTSE] #2995267
12/14/21 02:20 PM
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I didn't know there was any particular science to making tomato sauce, so it's interesting hearing all these different methods and adjuncts people use!
My tomato crop all seems to come in around the same time starting in late July through late August. Except for cherries which keep on rolling until it the first frost.
I make tomato sauce and salsas constantly during this overload period of ripe tomatos on my vines. I go through my salsa by the gallon during this period and wish I could preserve it somehow so I could be having fresh homemade salsa year round! drool
I have beefsteak, better boy and maybe a plant or two of some other variety like super fantastic or whatever caught my eye when I was at the nursery buying plants in May.
For sauce, I dunk tomatoes in boiling water for about 20 seconds, that makes peeling the skin off easy. Then I core them and put in my food processor.
In a pot on the stove I simmer cubes or chunks of whatever else is in abundance in my garden at the time such as eggplant, zucchini, and green peppers along with minced garlic. I also add a minced jalapeno or chili pepper from the garden in for a little spice. Then after they are tender and cooked down, I pour the pureed tomatoes in and simmer, adding fresh basil leaves and oregano.
I simmer the batch for a couple hours. It tends to stay too watery, probably due to the beefsteaks, so I pour a little of the liquid off the top periodically or suck some off the top with a turkey baster to help with that.
Since I am making my sauce batches somewhat informally as opposed to a set recipe, there is a little variation but it always tastes good. Only issues I ever run into is sometimes my batches will end up too spicy from the hot pepper I add. I guess I should resist my habit of adding a jalapeƱo and just add a teaspoon of dried chili flakes for that tiny bit of spice a good tomato sauce should have.
I use some on pasta or to make an eggplant parmesan from the batch right off the stove, then freeze the rest of the sauce and enjoy my homemade sauces all winter long.
I never heard of simmering tomato sauce 24 hours, and wonder if that overdoes things and makes it taste sour/tart?

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: Mastershake340] #2995332
12/14/21 06:13 PM
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ruderunner Offline OP
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The long simmer is new this year, we have a large electric roaster. Previously we had done smaller batches in a pot on stove.

Funny you mentioned salsa, we do that as well. Never bitter or tart there. It also cans well but you'll lose some texture. I add extra cilantro and lime juice when canning as those flavors tend to disappear during processing.

We used to blanch and peel the tomatoes but used to leave the seeds and then strain things after cooking. This year we milled because we thought maybe we were getting the off flavors from the seeds. No difference noticed with either technique.

Oddly enough, we never have this problem if we used store bought canned tomato products, puree , paste, juice etc. So something we're doing wrong.


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Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ruderunner] #2995362
12/14/21 08:17 PM
12/14/21 08:17 PM
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Even sauce made with - heaven forbid - canned tomatoes is too acidic and bitter for my liking. A bit of sugar and salt is the answer. Go easy. you can add more sugar at any point.

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: ruderunner] #2995401
12/14/21 11:56 PM
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You're just gonna have to experiment. Open a jar, split it in half, add sugar (i saw that you said you don't want to) to one half and see how you like it. Take the other half and try something different. It sounds like you have the right ingredients but it just needs a little tweak.

Re: Homemade tomato sauce problems [Re: Fat_Mike] #2995426
12/15/21 05:33 AM
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I don't like a sweet sauce either but you have to add some sugar. Whenever I make it the wife adds sugar to her sauce on the plate. I use about 3 teaspoons per 32 oz of sauce. I also use a good amount of parsley and some basil and oregano along with onion and chopped garlic.


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