Plum Tomato Sauce – A Love Story (and Recipe!)



* The Love Story *

Jane and I are avid local farm supporters. I must have fresh ingredients and what is fresher than my local farmer picking tomatoes from the vine the very day I make fresh plum tomato sauce! It’s a win-win for me and the hard working farmer.

The tomatoes in this recipe were picked at Ken’s Farm, right on Street Road in Warrington, Pennsylvania. I go to his farm three times a week. I love to cast my eye over the vegetable field and watch his son carefully pick the ripest vegetables, fill wood baskets and walk these beauties up the hill to the little stand by the road. I strike up a conversation with Ken. He tells me a story about when he first worked this field with a friend. When it was time for lunch, Ken would pick tomatoes, peppers, onion, basil, olive oil; season them good and wrap all in a big aluminum foil package and place it over a fire. Ken just loves vegetables. He tells me that he is learning every year; about planting in stages, and how he tends the field. While he is talking, I can see the chicken coop beyond the field. I turn to Jane, “Hey Jane, grab a couple dozen organic eggs while you’re picking up the cantaloupes”. Ken goes on telling me that his baby yellow cherry tomatoes sell out faster than he can pick them; he just can’t keep up with demand. A good problem for sure. “Hey Jane, get me that last basket of the little yellow cherry tomatoes while your grabbing that watermelon”.

It’s so much fun knowing that my end product will succeed with such outstanding fresh product. Thanks Ken.

~  Story & Recipe by Bruce


* Plum Tomato Sauce Recipe *

This is a great versatile sauce for any pasta, lasagna, cheese raviolis; a great dipping sauce for fried food. Admittedly, I love this sauce as dip for French fries (chefs would never admit that, but it is soooo good).

Preparing the plum tomatoes:

You need about 2 quarts peeled and deseeded fresh plum tomatoes.

Start with about 4 quarts whole fresh plum tomatoes and after blanching and deseeding, you will end up with the 2 quarts needed for this recipe.

(I highly recommend preparing the tomatoes before gathering the other ingredients).

See the photos for how to successfully blanch, peel and deseed fresh plum tomatoes.

When blanching tomatoes, the water should be boiling. Start with one gallon boiling water in a large stock pot. Place about 6 tomatoes at a time in the boiling water. Remove after 30 seconds and place in an ice bath. Continue until all tomatoes are blanched.

Image                            Image

Using a paring knife, remove the skins keeping the peeled tomatoes in a bowl to save all the juice. Discard the skins.


Then cut each tomato in half. Using the other end of a spoon, scrape out the seeds into another bowl. When all the tomatoes are halved and seeded, pour the seeds into a strainer and capture the juice. Discard the seeds.


Pureeing the plum tomatoes:

I prefer to use the food processor to save time, instead of hand chopping. I puree about 2 cups of the halved tomatoes at a time thus avoiding big chunks or over pureed tomatoes. I recommend pulsing the food processor.  When I was a chef, I saw cooks use a buffalo chopper to puree the tomatoes (overflow was common). I saw some cooks use a meat grinder (red rain across the kitchen); a stick mixer (takes practice accomplishing uniformity). At home, I am not making 20 gallons, so the food processor works just fine.

Remaining Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup chopped garlic

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup diced onion

1/4 cup tomato paste

The 2 quarts pureed plum tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

A few grinds of the peppermill

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Making the sauce:

  1. Place a 6 quart enamel coated or anodized aluminum pot on a very small flame.
  2. Add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes
  3. Sautee until the garlic starts to sizzle- do not burn the garlic.
  4. Add the onions and sauté while stirring until the onions are translucent
  5. Add the tomato paste and stir well until the paste is incorporated. Cook about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the plum tomatoes and stir thoroughly.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients except for the fresh basil
  8. Cook on low flame, stirring often for about an hour or two until the sauce reduces and starts to thicken. You may place the pot in the oven and cook the sauce, but I prefer to stir often and keep an eye to prevent over cooking.
  9. Add the fresh basil and stir. Check for salt. If you think the sauce is a bit acidic for your taste, you may add 1 Tblsp of unsalted butter
  10. Allow to cool for about an hour
  11. I prefer to store the sauce in glass, CorningWare, or enamel coated cookware. Avoid plastic storage containers if possible.
  12. Enjoy The Freshest Tomato Sauce you every had!



5 thoughts on “Plum Tomato Sauce – A Love Story (and Recipe!)

  1. Looks amazing, Bruce! I’m going to try this. My fresh tomato sauce tends to be a little too acidic. Maybe the sugar helps calm it down.

    • Hi, Betsy! Thanks for your comment!

      Bruce says “It does!”. He also says if it is too acidic, try stirring 2-3 TBSP of Unsalted Butter (for this volume of sauce) at the end. If it’s bitter, he says cut back on the oregano a bit.
      Good Luck, and report back to us! Happy Eating!

  2. I Absolutely love your story about “Plum Tomatato Sauce- It truely is a love storyandwhat attracts eachother. Food glorious food! I just want you to know I also buy my produce over in a farmer’s market.. To my pickiness I no longer shop at grocery stores and then to top it off pay top notch prices.. I spent summers growing up working my ass off with fruits and veggies.. This stage in my life I learned a little bit about good healthy choices. I just want to thank you for having this site as I believe it could change all of us in to the choices we make. I am anxious now to get on board to healthier eating habits for myself and . many. thanks.. I will let you know about the Plum tomato Soup… Congrats.. It is so much appreciated … You both make a fabulicious team.. Suzanne

    • Thank you so much, Suzanne!
      After several years of not feeling well, we completely changed how we eat, and what we buy. Eliminating chemical additives and processed foods, and changing to a diet of more fresh foods,with more fruits and veggies, we both significantly improved our chronic health issues. We now feel so much better, and are off our Rx’s! We want to share this information with others, so they can join the Fresh Food Revolution, and feel better too!

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