Today I’m sharing the traditional Syrian method of jarred tomato sauce.
If you know anything about Syrian food at this point, you know tomato sauce is abundantly used. While we have the advantage of supermarket canned tomatoes, this was not always the case. Syrians had to rely on the summer harvest to eat their tomatoes. Just like all other in-season produce, they also came up with a way to preserve the tomatoes to use throughout the year.
Why make this recipe instead of buying canned tomatoes from the grocery store? For a few of reasons. First of all it’s super simple. Second of all, since tomato season is at its end, they’re especially delicious and ripe this time of year. You have more control over what your tomato sauce tastes like, and subsequently, what your food will taste like. If you buy overripe tomatoes (which you may be able to find at your local farm), they tend to be pretty inexpensive. If you grow your own tomatoes, this is an excellent way to enjoy the fruits of your labor until next year.
Buy up all the super ripe tomatoes you can. They’ll look like they’re about to burst. If you can’t find them soft enough in the store or at the market, they can ripen on the countertop until ready to use. About 3 kg (6 lbs) of tomatoes will yield 2 800 g (28 oz.) jars.
The hot water bath method for jarring always intimidated me. My mom taught me a much more passive way of putting the jar and its lid in a detergent-free dishwasher cycle. It’s a much easier way of sterilizing the jar, and you can run the cycle as you prepare the sauce.
Once the sauce is prepared and still hot, it’s ladled into the clean jars and flipped upside down. Gravity takes care of the rest! All the air is pushed out, leaving you delicious, all-natural, in-season tomato sauce to use throughout the rest of the tomato-free year.
I hope you give this recipe a try! If you do, don’t forget to put it in the comments and tag #omayahcooks and @omayah.atassi on Instagram! I love to see your creations!
Jarred Tomato Sauce
Preserving in-season tomatoes is super simple. You'll thank yourself in the winter months when you have these jars handy!
Yields: 2 800 g (28 oz) jars
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
3 kg (6 lbs) overripe tomatoes, or leave them on the counter until they reach right ripe level
- Sterilize 2 screw-top jars by running them in the dishwasher without detergent.
- Meanwhile, score x's on the bottom of the tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Gently lower the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch for about two minutes. Transfer to the ice bath with a slotted spoon.
- Once the tomatoes have cool, peel the tomatoes and chop off the ends. Empty the large pot of water and wipe dry. Return the pot to medium-low heat and add the tomatoes. Smash with a potato masher and simmer until desired consistency, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer hot tomato sauce to sterilized jars and screw shut. Invert upside down and cover with a kitchen towel until completely cool. Store in a cool, dry place up to a year.