With many gardeners in the thick of their tomato harvest, stock pots are bubbling with tomato sauce, marinara sauce, pizza sauce, homemade ketchup, and lots of other bright red tomato goodness. If you’ve ever made sauce from fresh tomatoes, you know that no matter how much you cook it down, the sauce often separates, leaving an unappealing watery puddle under your pasta. Not good. Even worse is a watery pizza sauce (soggy crust!) or ketchup.
Years ago I figured out a way to combat this problem. When I feel that the sauce has cooked down to the right consistency, I pull out my metal sieve and set it right on top of the boiling sauce. As the sauce bubbles, the thinner liquid boils up through the mesh. I use a bulb baster to suction it off, saving the flavorful juice to add to soups or stews.
Be careful – at this stage the sauce can be quite volcanic in its bubbling, and your hands will be right in there as you work. If there’s still a fair amount of liquid in your sauce, the sieve will fill quickly and may become submerged. I usually try to prop it up on a wooden spoon, as you can see in the photo.
Whether you’re preserving your sauce through home canning, or just making a big pot of sauce for dinner, this trick should eliminate the watery puddle.