Tomato Sauce for Canning tastes odd

vickeym
vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

I took some of the tomatoes we grew this summer when I was too busy to deal with them and threw them whole into the freezer. Took them out this weekend and thawed them. Drained much of the liquid from them.

Ran them through my Victorio food press to remove seeds and skin. Cooked them down today. But when we tasted them, they don't taste anything like normal (as in store bought) tomato sauce. I did not add anything to them yet.

The taste is strange, not like eating a fresh tomato but not like purchased tomato sauce either. Not sure how to describe the taste. But it is not pleasant.

Does anyone have an idea what I need to do to make this taste like something edible.

Comments

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭✭

    Maybe they got freezer burn or picked up a flavor of something else in the freezer? Without tasting them, it's hard to know what will help but I'd try a slow simmer with red wine or balsamic vinegar, onions, garlic, lots of herbs and spices. It may or may not work. Good luck :)

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @vickeym I agree with @annbeck62 if you cook down some onions, garlic etc with some brown sugar for caramelisation that may turn your tomatoes into something close to your liking. Try a small batch first & see if it works.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    I agree with the women above. That's your best option.

    Perhaps try a little first so that you don't waste a whole lot of extras if it doesn't work. Don't forget to write your ratios down if it works & you want to scale it up.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭

    Try cooking a small portion with the above ideas before using the entire batch.

    It does sound to be they may have picked up a flavor from something else in its freezer space as mentioned prior. @vickeym

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's quite possible to can whole tomatoes, putting off making the sauce until you open the can later.

    Yes, you still have to go through the canning process, so it's not as quick as freezing. But you don't have to take time to cook down the sauce during the busy harvest season.

    This also gives you canned whole tomatoes that can be used as stewed tomatoes in recipes.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you all, I'm going to try adding in the other ingredients cooking in small batches and see if that helps. I think that may be the issue as it was just straight tomatoes and nothing else. Looking up every brand I could of commercial tomato sauce they all had other ingredients. So it is likely they just need the seasonings and flavorings.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    It always amazed me how things in the freezer can still pick up other smells... doesn't that just seem odd? But it's true.

    You might also want to do the 'eat only a small bit' to make sure it is not going to make you sick or anything?

  • heirlooms777
    heirlooms777 Posts: 208 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2023

    Good point, @Marjory Wildcraft , it could have picked up something strange in the freezer, or maybe the freezer stopped a bit, defrosted, and then started again. Or, well, raw tomato sauce is an odd taste, so trying something with garlic and spices could be all it needs. A sweet older homesteading couple told me the rule of thumb is to boil any questionable items for 15 minutes, by which that amout of time should kill most bad things from the items. If it still tastes off after boiling for 15 minutes, it is bad and throw it out (not compost in a cold compost bin, hot or burn?). Now, this doesn’t cover everything, as some things do not taste bad and can get you sick.

    For example, I was in the hospital last year from eating moldy bread and apricot freezer jam from my sister’s orchard that was definitely over it’s time (I was saving for my worm compost bin). My great grandfather ate some moldy bread every day and broke his arm at 97 falling out of a tree he climbed, he was a healthy and vibrant man. My grandma suggested that the daily eating of some moldy bread was somehow good for him, and this was before the discovery of penicillin, which is made from mold. I thought about my great grandpa John, ate a bunch of said moldy bread with even older jam (best my brother-in-law ever made from his orchard, don’t tell him it will break his heart, both from getting sick, and for wasting this good Dutch-American boy’s best jam), and even though I hadn’t eaten wheat bread in years, I thought how smart I am, being like my ancestor and eating mold, ….. ha, that night I almost stopped breathing. I currently live alone (an odd thing for me, usually living with or near monastics, who know a thing or two about good eating and this does not include moldy bread, cheese maybe, but not this), so I dialed 911 and said nothing, just gasping for air and throwing up. I did about everything wrong here. Although I took what I thought was all the mold from the top of the bread, mold apparently has roots deep in the bread that I couldn’t see (you think I would have known this from my mushroom farm). Once I stopped throwing up (at the hospital), I was fine. It was scary, though. I am not a big fan of living alone. —Christina

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Freezer bags are absolutely not odor-proof. You might think they are thick enough to prevent odors from crossing them, but they aren't.

    Backpackers know this very well. They can put a sweet meal in one freezer bag in their backpack and a hot-and-spicy meal in another freezer bag next to it, and the sweet meal will take on the spicy flavor (yuck).

    If you need to prevent odors from getting in or out, think about using a Mason jar and canning lid, even if you aren't canning. One of my tomato sauce recipes is not acid enough for safe water-bath canning, so I freeze it instead. However, I still using a Mason jar and canning lid, and then put the jar in the freezer.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    Ohhh, thanks for sharing.

    I like both the idea of using micro doses of mold for health, and the cautionary tale of starting the process.

    Currently I live alone. I am comfortable with myself. That has been an important process since the divorce. And having folks a lot closer is nice. I live in a small town with many good friends and I've been at points where I needed health intervention and got spades of help quickly. But living alone is tough and there is vulnerability there. I've met a compatible young family (I love the little kids). They have a young boy who is especially 'difficult' and reminds me so much of my young son, so I know I can help these beginning parents having been through that. We are thinking of finding a duplex with enough yard for us to grow food and share. My own grown kids (early 20's) aren't ready to live here yet. 😥

    I really hope we can find the right place. And then of course will be the process of seeing that we really are all compatible. But that is an option I'm exploring and thought I would share for those in a similar situation.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft What a wonderful plan. And a win for you all. You will have people close, and they will have experienced advice to help them.

  • heirlooms777
    heirlooms777 Posts: 208 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2023

    @Marjory Wildcraft  Have you heard of others using micro doses of mold? Sounds like you have some really great neighbors there. Kids are funny at that age, one day they wake up and realize that their parents aren’t that bad after all :)

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @heirlooms777 You are right that mold often has deep, invisible "roots" (hyphae) running below the mold you see on the surface. It is NOT safe to just remove the mold you see and eat the rest. I've done it and gotten away with it, but I don't do it any more since learning this.

    The trouble with mold is that it may be good for you or very bad for you depending on what type of mold it is, and you really can't tell by looking at it, or control what you are getting. It would be like walking into your medicine cabinet when you feel sick and picking something to take at random!

    One type of mold that is safe, and that I love to eat, is the blue mold on blue cheese. If you want to get a little more safe mold in your diet, try moldy cheeses.

    Generally, though, I would look to probiotics (such as live yogurt) as a better source of live food to aid digestion.

  • natalie_miller
    natalie_miller Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

    Whew! Vickeym, I thought I was the only one who thought their homemade/canned tomato sauce wasn’t good! I agree, it doesn’t taste like store-bought… but maybe this is how “real” tomato sauce should taste? 🤔 My sauce is also a very dark red, almost burgundy in color, not more of a bright deep red like store-bought. I would really like to know if this is truly the difference between homemade and not homemade. Next round though, I will add some spices! 😊

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, Glad to know I'm not the only one. I went back end read the ingredients in every brand of tomato sauce I could get my hands on. They all had spices and other ingredients besides tomato in them. I'm thinking that will be the secret. Just like adding a touch of salt or whatever to what your cooking for dinner can bring something that is not quite a good flavor to very good.

    I frequently find when I taste things there is something missing and it can take a bit of trial and error to find what the dish needs.

    At least I'm hoping that is all it is. Next time I will be adding while cooking not after it is all done. And then trying to doctor it into something by adding after the fact. I got the seasonings to heavy trying to fix this batch and once it had time to sit and blend it wasn't good that way either. LOL

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 754 ✭✭✭✭

    I have blended pumpkin in my tomato sauce and everyone really loves that around here😋.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @natalie_miller @vickeym Yes, I agree that a lot of the flavor of tomato sauce comes from the spices in the recipe, rather than from the tomatoes.

    The tomatoes provide much of the acid and the texture. (I have never found a good alternate crop for temperature climates that can provide the texture of tomatoes.)

    The spices provide the flavor. Since many different spice combinations are possible, there are many different recipes with different flavors.

    I have been expermenting with a couple different homemade recipes for tomato sauce. One is more acid for canning, the other must be frozen. Both are tasty, but they are quite different, with one more of a cinnamon flavor and the other a milder, less spicy flavor.

    Try a range of different recipes and see what you get.

    Note that if you try to make your own recipes from scratch, you can safely eat them fresh or frozen, but they may not be safe for water-bath canning unless you can be sure they are acid enough.

  • MissPatricia
    MissPatricia Posts: 318 ✭✭✭

    This happened to me decades ago. The answer was to put salt in. Voila! Good tomato taste.