Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Canning Basic Tomato Sauce
I understand that plum tomatoes make for better sauce, more bang for your buck... but I had mountains of globe tomatoes and decided to make sauce out of some of them... We use tomato sauce in a myriad of recipes, so rather than add any spices for spaghetti, pizza, or chili... I did a couple batches of basic tomato sauce and will spice them up as I use them.
Here's what I did...
I cored and cut my tomatoes into eighths and put them in a large saucepan, squished a few in the bottom first with my potato masher to start the juices flowing and to help prevent sticking. I brought the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduced the heat and boiled gently for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking and scorching.
Then working in small batches, I pressed the tomatoes through my food mill... later I realized I have a strainer attachment to my KitchenAid mixer and finished up using it (forehead slap! why didn't I use it sooner? so much time saved!)
I set the pulpy mass of skins and seeds aside and poured the juice into my crockpot for the first batch (I had to go to work and didn't have time to let the juice cook down on the stove top). I set the crockpot on low and put the lid on loosely cracked and went to work... it took about 24-36 hours for the juice to cook down in the crockpot... the second batch I did on the stove top on medium-high heat and it only took about 2 hours. I stirred it occasionally to keep it from sticking.
I cooked down the juice until it was reduced by half and thickened to the consistency of a thin sauce.
I prepared my jars and lids by simmering them in hot water and keeping them hot until I was ready to use them.
I filled each hot pint jar with the sauce, then added a tablespoon of lemon juice and a half teaspoon of canning salt (salt is optional).
I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth, then tightened the lids on to fingertip tightness.
Then I processed the sauce in a boiling water bath, ensuring the jars were completely covered with water, bringing it to a boil over high heat, then reducing the heat to medium and processing them for 35 minutes in the boiling water bath (quarts would be processed for 50 minutes).
After processing, I removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar. Yum!
With all that pulp and skins left over... I didn't want to just throw it on the compost pile... so...
...I spread it out in my dehydrator and dried it... in about 24 hours I had a mass of crunchy tomato goodness... ran it through the blender until I had... Tomato Powder! I will be adding this to soups and stews later for some additional thickness and flavor.