18 August 2008

Tomato Sauce

The tomatoes we juiced on Saturday became canned sauce on Sunday. The recipe we used, again came from Putting Food By. It really couldn't be easier.

What we did is took the five quarts of juice (from fifteen pounds of mixed tomatoes),

put it in a pot,

and gave it a gentle boil...

for an hour.

The reason for the cooking time is to cook off the excess water from the fruit. When using paste tomatoes there isn't much loss in volume, but since we were using slicing and paste tomatoes the loss was much more. Actually, after a hour our five quarts cooked down to five and a half pints. However, cooking it down is important, so we just kind of hung out...

and had some beers.

One quick note: Since we are doing a boil-water method (as opposed to pressure cooking), we left the sauce straight as not to muck with the ph levels. Adding any kind of vegetable will lower the ph and run the risk of bacteria having a field day in your food. To be on the safe side we added a tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint, which guarantees it will be okay.

When the juice becomes sauce, the rest is pretty simple. Hot pack the sauce into scalded jars, wipe the rims, set the lids...

and put the jars back into the boiling water for half an hour. Oh yeah, we took Robin's advice about adding a little vinegar in the water to eliminate mineral dust. It works kick ass. Thanks Robin.

After half an hour we pulled the jars, let them cool...

and dated them.

8 comments:

NW Nature Nut said...

You'll have to show us what you do with them this winter. I just stuck some tomatoes in the freezer a few minutes ago. I had a few that seemed "mushy". I think they go sunburned. We just had a spell of 100 degree weather. I put the tomatoes, parsley and some garlic in the blender, blended till smooth and put in some jars to freeze. Should be okay for soups. Don't ya love to harvest?!

Anonymous said...

Hi there Kelly and Meg,
Thanks for writing about the vinegar in the canning water.My husband Paul and I garden in Stowe,PA.We have the mineral dust problem too.Reading your adventures is like looking at ourselves 12 years ago when we moved here.We call our place Crooked Farm cause everything we build is kind of not straight.Anyway,I love reading the latest adventures of Future house Farm.Cheers,Lisa

Bobbi said...

Wow - the tomato sauce looks yummy!

Sarah said...

Hey, I like your tongs. Those are what I need;)
Is lemon juice always the same acidity? I used a pinch of citric acid in mine.

frugalmom said...

Okay, I cooked my sauce down to less than half of its original volume and it is still really watery. Any suggestions? It was made with part paste tomatoes and part slicing tomatoes.

Kelly said...

Nature Nut,
Your sauce sounds awesome. We also plan to freeze our seasoned sauces. And yes, I LOVE harvest time!

Lisa,
I used to live in a house like that. We called it the Slanty Shanty. The vinegar in the water works great. You will not be disappointed. Good to hear from ya.

Bobbi,
Why thank you. We sampled a bit and it tastes even better than it looks.

Sarah,
The tongs are a must. From what I've read, lemon juice is a guaranteed 5.0 acidity. To BW can, the acidity must be 4.6 or higher. Tomatoes apparently are right at 4.6.

Frugalmom,
Our sauce is rather watery as well. I think that is normal when you mix in non-paste varieties. There isn't anything wrong with it. What I would do is make an actual paste with your excess paste tomatoes. Waterier tomato sauce, I think, is actually more versatile in the kitchen. The same goes for a thick paste. I guess we think of our tomato sauce as an ingredient instead of a finished product. With that said, I totally hear your concern. When we first made this last year (we froze it then) I was expecting it to be thicker. But I was so pleased to see all the different things we could make with it just how it was. We will be making other types of sauce later, mainly a chunkier variety of this recipe, but I think this one will be a staple around here.

ourfriendben said...

Yum, looks gorgeous! Cool beer, too.

ourfriendben said...

Yum, looks gorgeous! Cool beer, too.