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George's Secret Tomato Sauce

20-25 Big Mama Tomatoes full sized and ripe, stems removed
3-4 Bunches Celery (chopped fine)
3-4 Yellow Onions (chopped fine)
8 Cloves Garlic (chopped fine)
6 Cayenne Peppers (or 10 slightly hot Italian grilling peppers) (chopped fine)
3-4 Habanero Peppers

Chop above ingredients (except tomatoes) on a cutting board. Put tomatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring tomatoes to a boil and quickly lower heat to simmer. When skins begin to loosen (5 minutes), remove from heat and let stand for 45 minutes and drain most of the water. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove skins. Big Mama has a very thin skin that peels off easily. No coring is necessary. Hand remove the few seeds that may be present. Pile segments up into a large saucepan. Set on simmer, and stir often. Meanwhile, cover bottom of a sauté or fry pan with extra virgin olive oil. I use either Pompeian or Dal Raccolto (Sicilian) or Alessi. Heat oil on lowest flame or setting, then add celery. Sauté for 15 minutes, then add onions and saute for another 15 minutes or until pieces begin to "clear" and then add peppers and simmer. After stirring and simmering for 20-30 minutes on lowest heat possible, add garlic and simmer and stir slowly for about 5 minutes. Add freshly ground pepper and sea salt. By this time, the tomatoes have simmered for about an hour. Now pour sautéed mixture of vegetables into large saucepan of simmering tomatoes. Pour in the remnant "tomato water" from the peel soak. Simmer, stirring frequently for 6-7 hours, or until texture is uniformly thick and saucy. Do not ever raise heat above simmer or low, whichever is lowest.

Note: If you dislike Habanero, try 3-4 Hot Lemon, a smoky and fruity hot pepper that is milder. Also, whenever you use garlic, you must use at least one hot pepper.

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Homegrown carrots are usually sweeter and juicier than those sold at the grocery store. But straight out of the ground, they lack the nutrition of the store-bought product. It takes two weeks of chilling for carrots to develop their maximum vitamin C content. So harvest carrots at their peak and refrigerate them for 14 days before eating. Cut off tops (they draw moisture out of the carrot), and store in zipper-type plastic bags to retain crunch and flavor. For long-term storage, layer carrots and damp sand in boxes and store in a dark, cool area such as a basement.