How to Make Tomato Sauce in an Instant Pot
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The popularity of the Instant Pot has led to directions to make virtually anything using its variety of settings and bonus features. The homesteading community is no different – from yogurt to applesauce, homesteaders are DIY’ing with the Instant Pot in all sorts of ways.
Making tomato sauce in an instant pot is convenient and easy, and allows you to “set it and forget it” during multiple stages of the cooking process. You can even leave your sauce to thicken overnight! I prefer to make a simple sauce with just tomatoes, especially if I am going to can it. But you can also add onions, garlic, and herbs if you are going to freeze the sauce or use it right away. If you want to add onions and garlic, saute them in the Instant Pot first, then begin the process described below. Add seasonings in the last step.
Here are some simple instructions for making tomato sauce in an instant pot:
Step One ~ Chop tomatoes and put in Instant Pot on saute setting for 15 minutes
Chop your tomatoes in quarters or halves, depending on their size, and drop into the Instant Pot with the saute setting turned on. Fill to the 2/3 mark (or however many tomatoes you have). There is no need to remove seeds from the tomatoes, but you should remove stems and any damaged parts of the fruit. Leave on the saute setting, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will give you a quick first cook of the tomatoes to get them softened down and begin to release the liquid.
Step Two ~ Turn on the slow cooker setting and cook on high for 4 hours
Cancel the saute process after 15 minutes, then select “slow cooker” pressing the butting until the “more” light is selected. This will give you a higher temperature simmer.
Set the time to four hours, and let the sauce sit in the slow cooker for that whole time, uncovered and stirring occasionally. You may want to place a screen over the top to avoid splattering and keep fruit flies out.
Step Three ~ Blend or process tomatoes through a food mill (in batches)
After the sauce has cooked down a bit, run it through a blender or food mill. Work in batches to avoid spilling and splattering. A blender will puree all of the seeds and skin and leave them to thicken your sauce. A food mill will eliminate the seeds and skin and leave you with just the juices and a somewhat thinner sauce. This is really a matter of personal preference. After processing, return the sauce to the Instant Pot.
Step Four ~ Reduce tomato sauce to desired consistency using medium slow cooker setting
After returning the sauce to the Instant Pot, set the pot back to slow cooker, this time on a medium heat level. The length of time it will take to reduce your sauce depends on the type of tomato and thickness at this point. If the sauce looks pretty close, you can set the timer for another 3-4 hours and keep an eye on it. If it still looks pretty thin, you can set the timer for up to 8 hours (or overnight). Check it before you go to bed to ensure it has far enough to go.
Step Five ~ Use or preserve your tomato sauce
Once your sauce reaches the desired consistency, you can use it immediately or preserve for later. To can the sauce, turn the Instant Pot back up to saute and bring it to the temperature necessary for a hot canning process like this one from Ball Canning (starting with step 5).