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Cost Analysis of Homemade Red Sauce (A LifeAsMOM Experiment)

I love it when you can take an idea and customize it to fit the needs of you and your family. I know that I personally have benefited not only from the creativity of the bloggers that I regularly read, but also from you sweet readers who go off and tweak an idea to make it your own.

A few weeks ago I put out a call for you to share those experiments with me so that I could share them with everyone else.

Today I want to tell you about Mara from Kosher on a Budget. Not only did she test my Red Sauce recipe and validate my feelings that it is way better than storebought, but she also did a cost analysis on homemade red sauce to see if it was really worth her time, ingredients, and energy costs.

Go read about her research and see how her LifeasMOM experiment turned out.

Share your LifeasMOM experiments!

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Ideally, I would love to share your embellishments and adaptations in a post of its own. So, use this submission form to send me your photo, link, and a brief description of whatever cake, project, or family fun activity you’ve tried at home.

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Comments

  1. I was just wondering about making my own red sauce last night! Thanks for reading my mind! I’m going to try it for sure.

  2. this is really interesting- i had never thought about energy costs w/ price comparisons before. thanks for posting it!

  3. I buy cases of fancy pants organic tomatoes from our local health food stores yearly truckload sale and I use 1/2 olive oil per giant pot of sauce so it’s possible I’m not saving any money by making my own sauce.

    But.

    Most commercial sauces come in 24 -32 ounce jars. I can divide and freeze in the portions my family uses. Two cups for a meal and single cup portions to throw in soups or cook veggies for the toddler. Many store brands also have high fructose corn syrup which I don’t like to feed my kids.

    Then the environmental cost. If I buy canned tomatoes in bulk it takes less energy to transport them to my store. I re-use the containers I freeze them in so even though they’re plastic I’m consuming fewer resources than if I bought factory made sauce in a jar then tossed it in the recycle bin after one use. My stove and freezer do take energy but since the later is being run for many items, most of which did not come with much packaging, it probably evens out.

    Not to mention I’m a control freak and since homemade sauce is so easy to make I prefer to do it myself. But I’m nutty that way. Ha ha.

  4. I just made a 7qt crock pot of the red sauce yesterday! The last time I made it it came out too watery when unfrozen. So I switched it up a bit & added canned tomato paste & cooked it uncovered for several hours.

    The only thing I can’t figure out is how to make it less tart without adding a crapload of sugar too it

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Cheryl M, try using different brands of tomatoes. I have noticed that store brands are less sweet. And quite honestly, the more expensive brands seem to have better flavor. Sad, but true.

    • @Cheryl M, (Sorry to butt in!) You could also try tossing a peeled, whole carrot in the pot while it cooks. The carrot will absorb a lot of the acid and the result is a sweeter tasting sauce. Just toss the carrot or, if you’re like me and need proof, take a nibble… ooh, boy, is that ever tart! :)

    • @Cheryl M,

      My Mom always put in a little pinch of baking soda to cancel some of the “acid” in her homemade sauce. Start small & add more if needed – be sure there’s room @ the top of the pot to allow for active ‘fizzing’

  5. This is good to know! Unless I’m making my Italian grandma’s pasta gravy, and I don’t need a totally wowee pasta gravy (sauce) I use jar sauce too. One thing I used to have in my pantry was a container of a Sam’s Wholesale Italian spice sauce mix, (it could have been the Tone’s brand) it was especially handy for making a quick sauce. You just put it with your tomato sauce or paste etc. and it was pretty good and really wonderful when you were out of the jar sauce… It worked fine for everyday dishes.

    Thanks for a thought provoking article and link. These are great. : )

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