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“Spring” in Northern Minnesota


As I write this post I look longing out my bay window at my garden, which is currently only visible by about a foot of fencing that has not been completely swallowed up by our record snow fall this “spring.” I should be used to it by now, I’ve lived in Northern Minnesota, Duluth to be exact, for over ten years now, but as a transplant I still foolishly believe that “spring” will mean budding trees and new growth greens, silly me! Okay so enough belly aching, onto the reason for this post.

To help me look to greener pasture ahead, I always start my tomato plants from seed in February. Tomatoes are my favorite plants to grow because of their utility for canning and preserving. Modern day homesteading is a passion of mine, and nothing gives me more pleasure than canning the finished product in September that I have begun indoors in February.

I have had many requests from family and friends for my tomato sauce recipe which my family uses universally for spaghetti, lasagna, pizza sauce and marinara. Below is the recipe that I got from my mother in law that was given to her from a friend whose family immigrated from Italy. The recipe was written for canned tomatoes, I use garden fresh so conversion can sometimes be a little tricky but I just guesstimate. I use a combination of different tomatoes for a full bodied flavor but my favorite types for sauce and salsas are the roma tomato as they are meatier with less water content. Other types may have to cook down a little longer, but no worries, it is always worth it in the end! Last year I grew black tomatoes for the first time and really appreciated their smokier flavor in the sauces.

Okay here is the homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, it calls for 2 large cans of whole tomatoes but I use fresh, which for his last batch was a mixture of roma and beefsteak tomatoes so I just kind of eyeball how much I think two large cans would be.  Even when using fresh tomatoes I still use the tomato paste in a can though because it makes it less watery.  Okay here you go, hope you enjoy it as much as we do and maybe even can and freeze it for all year long.  Apologies for picture quality, at the time I took it, I wasn’t intending to share it with anyone other than my mom and sisters:)  ~Mic


*1st sauté the onion and 2 cans tomato paste in the olive oil for a few minutes.  Then I use the food processor to puree the tomatoes and throw everything into a big pot and let it simmer for about an hour or so.  Let me know if you have any questions and how you liked it!

1/2 chopped onion

2 large cans whole tomatoes

2 small cans tomato paste

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 1/2 tea. salt

2 1/2 tea. pepper

2 tbls grate romano parm cheese ( I don’t add this if I don’t have it and still fine)

2 tabls olive oil

2 tea parsley

2 tea basil (fresh if you have it)

4 tea. oregano

4 bay leaves

2 tea. italian seasoning

1/4 red pepper ( I don’t always use this)

sugar ( to your taste)


2 thoughts on ““Spring” in Northern Minnesota

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe, I’m going to make a batch and freeze it tomorrow! >>D.

  2. Thanks for sharing Mic! Your tomato sauce recipe is the reason I’m planting tomato plants this year! (:

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