Tomato (lycopersicon esculentum) is quite a popular vegetable to be used widely in salad, condiments, or preserved in the form of chutney, concentrate, sauce or ketchup. Since it can be easily grown, it seems that every household in the countryside where I live grows tomatoes in the backyards. There's also an iconic tomato sauce from local manufacture in New Zealand claims to be Kiwiana favourite, where people always have it handy in their pantry or fridge.
We always grow tomatoes in our garden inSummer to supply the household's needs with tomato sauce or tomato chutney to be the top priority of the ways to preserve them. We're still able to enjoy them in Autumn.
Tomatoes growing in the garden taste so much fresher which are picked when they are ripe. Or whatever suits. Like tamarillo chutney, tomato sauce is popular in its season. I usually make jars of them which can be stored in 6-9 months. I don't really have any special trick to age them that long, perhaps the vinegar does. However, home-made tomato sauce gives a better flavour for the base of home-made pizza. Meatballs in tomato sauce tastes superb with home-made version.
I like to give bit more spices than Kiwiana households could be ever given. I like the spices to be the compliment to the tomato flavour which also gives more degree of excitement to the palate when the sauce is lingered in the mouth without sweats on your brows. HOT it can be, but it is as well EXOTIC! However, you can always reduce the spices to suit your taste.
Arfi's Home-made Tomato and Chilli Sauce
5 kg firm and ripe tomatoes, washed and halved (or quartered when you use bigger ones),
2 onions, cut into chunks,
4 tart apples, cut into chunks,
approximately 1kg brown sugar or palm sugar,
1 bird's eye chilli, minced,
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper,
1 tsp ground paprika,
1 tsp freshly cracked black peppercorns,
1 ½ cups malt vinegar,
salt to taste,
1 Tbs corn flour dissolved in ½ Tbs water
Put the halved or quartered tomatoes, onion and apple chunks in the food processor. Process until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan on a medium heat. Put in the rest ingredients (remember to reduce any spices you might thing will make the sauce too hot for you).
Stir to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture bubble and keep stirring to avoid the fruit mixture sticking on the bottom of the pan. When the mixture is reduced and the colour is darker, have a taste. You can add more spices, salt or sugar, to give the correct balance, according to your preference.
Prepare a jug lined with muslin cloth or use a colander put in a bowl. Remove the saucepan from the heat, then, pour the hot sauce through the muslin or the colander. Press to get more moisture from the sauce. This, in the jug or in the bowl, is the sauce you're going to be enjoyed (don't worry if you still can find tomato seeds or a bit of cracked black pepper corns in the sauce, that's the art of it!). Discard the leftover processed tomato mixture and put the saucepan back on the heat.
Simmer on a low heat until bubbling again. Add the cornflour and cook another 10 minutes to thicken. Pour immediately into the prepared sterilised jars or bottles. Sealed and marked. Makes 10-13 jars, various sizes.