Even though I haven't been what would be considered a bona fide scientist for several years, I don't think I'll ever stop
overanalyzing problems and running experiments to prove or disprove a hypothesis. The setting and equipment (and necessary degree of precision) are just a little bit different than they were in my school days.
Our entire garden could be (and has been) considered an experiment this year. It's our first summer in this house with what we believe to be previously uncultivated ground, and neither of us have any real gardening experience of which to speak. We tried different locations and planting techniques to see what would work best under the conditions we've been given. We have a container garden, a raised bed, and several areas of soil all around the house, and it's been very interesting to me to see where the plants are thriving, where they're struggling, and where they're getting devoured, decimated, and destroyed by critters.
The yield from our containers has been pretty much awful--we don't get very much, and what we do get is stunted, small, and unimpressive. The plants in the raised bed are doing much better, though they've been severely plagued by bugs and deer. We're actually getting the best production from the patches of dirt we used as a last ditch effort to get our
So yes, we're finally getting a steady supply of larger tomatoes (Black Krims, if you're wondering)(the title makes sense now, right?), far more than we can eat before they rot, and I'm suddenly tasked with trying to preserve them before that happens. Solution #1: Marinara sauce. Simple, flavorful, and versatile, it was an obvious choice. The fresh basil is, I feel, absolutely essential--that stuff is SO good. The Black Krims were very juicy, so I ended up adding some really thick ketchup, though tomato paste would work too.
So far, I'm delighted to report that this little experiment of ours has yielded more happy (and delicious) results than disappointments!
Fresh Black Krim Marinara Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 8 cups whole tomatoes, peeled and cored
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of baking soda, if needed
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Bust up the tomatoes so that the juices are released and they are partially broken up; add to the pot and stir.
Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, sugar, and herbs; stir to combine.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Adjust the sauce for seasonings; add a small pinch of baking soda if it seems too acidic.