• fresh vine-ripened tomatoes
• 1/2 tsp salt per pint (1 tsp per quart)
Prepare the tomatoes
Put a big pot of water on the stove and, when boiling, place tomatoes carefully into it. Keep them covered; in a few minutes when you see the skins start to split and curl back, take the tomatoes out of the water with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain. When cool enough to handle, take the skins off the tomatoes (you can use your hands, the skins come off easily) and place peeled tomatoes in a large cook pot. Simmer on very low heat, stirring occasionally until it thickens into sauce. This can take hours, sometimes all day or overnight. Take your time. The slower the better!
Can the tomatoes
Put canning lids in a pan, cover with water and simmer for 10 minutes. Wash canning jars and screw caps, and keep in simmering water until ready to fill jars. Have the sauce simmering slowly on the stove, and fill jars up to 1" from the top with the sauce. Wipe rim of jar with a clean, damp paper towel to be sure there is no food residue. Immediately place a lid, rubber-side down, over top of jar, and seal with screw cap by screwing down as tightly as possible. Process in boiling water bath, 35 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for quarts.
Using your sauce
You can make a simple and elegant topping for pasta by adding salt alone, or get fancy and add any combination of olive oil, sugar, basil, mushrooms, olives, prawns, sausage, chicken, oregano, hot or sweet peppers, onions... a quick and delicious meal in minutes - or take your time and let the flavors simmer slowly - for topping pasta or stirring into rice, or adding hot water or milk and eating as soup.
If you let tomatoes simmer on the stove after peeling them, they will break up slowly and become a sauce that grows ever thicker the longer it simmers. I like to reduce the liquid in mine by almost half by simmering for several hours; then you have a sauce that is ready to be made into anything.