Raw Sauce: How to End Canning Guilt Once and for All

Ripe Tomatoes

I’m in love with my vegetable garden again. After moving to my current house, I chose to focus on ornamental plants instead of planting a vegetable garden like the one I had grown to love while living in Pennsylvania.

This year, with my perennial beds bursting at the seams, I decided to begin developing a vegetable garden. Not as grand or well organized as I had hoped; it still hasn’t disappointed me with its steady supply of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and squash.

I feel satisfyingly self-sufficient coming in with a basket full of goodies that I use to whip into something delicious.

This is the time of year when I see my canning friends busily putting up their canned tomatoes. My small garden will never produce the abundance I’d need to be able to satisfy my weekly vegetable cravings and the extra I’d need to make canning worthwhile. While I’m sure I’d enjoy the taste of my own tomatoes or spaghetti sauce during the winter, there’s nothing remotely attractive to me about an all day canning event in my small kitchen and the mess I’d have to clean up after. I plan on enlarging my vegetable garden next year for greater variety, but still don’t plan on canning.

If you would like to liberate yourself from non-canning guilt along with me, you may want to try this amazing, better than canned raw pasta sauce. The beauty in it is that the two main ingredients (tomatoes and basil) are easy to grow in any sized garden.

Salsa Cruda

  • 3-4 large tomatoes
  • 2 tbs. minced fresh basil
  • ¼ cup minced red onions
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed

To prepare:
Chop half of your tomatoes into bite sized pieces and place in a large serving bowl. Add basil and red onions. Coarsely chop your remaining tomatoes and add to a blender with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic, and puree until smooth. Add to serving bowl and toss to mix. Tastes great over pasta.

About the author: Lisa Ueda offers home gardening tips at The Frugal Garden. Her aim is to inspire, awaken and motivate new gardeners into discovering their inner green thumbs.

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