Sunday, November 20, 2016

Time to make homemade tomato sauce!

Sauce in Weck canning jars
Sunday, November 20, 2016

Every fall, I take all the frozen tomatoes from the previous year and make it into homemade tomato sauce.  I wait until it is nice and chilly outside so all the heat and humidity feels nice inside.  This week end is the sauce making day!  It is just in time because I used my last jar for chili and it is supposed to have a high in the 40's.  Perfect sauce making weather.

When I freeze my extra tomatoes during the summer, I always label the freezer bag with the contents and date.  Tomatoes keep for a good year in the freezer.  For any that we do not make into salsa or use in other recipes from the previous year, I use to make sauce.  
Only a water bath is needed for canning tomatoes because they are acidic.  Make sure you follow the sauce canning recipe exactly as it is critical for keeping the right acid level so your sauce doesn't spoil.

I use Weck's canning jars.  They are all glass so there are no worries about the lining of the lids.  And they are a really pretty shape.  These are made in Germany.  I have also found all glass jars made in Italy as well.  None yet made in the USA unless you get antique jars. 

All you need to can tomato sauce is a large pot, canning jars, a metal funnel and tongs.  A pressure cooker is not needed for acidic tomato canning.  For more info on canning, see  Easy, low tox canning of summer's bounty
All glass canning options

For  Some remove the skins and seeds from their sauce.  I just throw the entire tomato into the food processor and use it all to make our sauce.  Some say you can get a bitter flavor if you include the seeds and skins.  That has been my experience.  Besides seeds are chock full of nutrition.  I also use all types of tomatoes to make sauce, not just paste tomatoes.  Paste tomatoes are not as juicy so it does take longer to cook down, but all tomatoes taste great in sauce!

I do the same thing with the extra sweet peppers frozen from the previous year.  I used them in the sauce, too.  Everything I put in our sauce is homegrown from our garden, except the lemon juice.  We are too far north for lemon trees!  

Here is the recipe from Ball’s “Complete Book of Home Preserving” for tomato paste:
9 cups of pureed tomatoes, 1½ cups of chopped sweet bell peppers, 2 bay leaves, 1 teas salt, 1 clove of garlic.  I'll also toss in some of my dried mixed herbs for flavor.  About a tablespoon or two per batch.

I put it all into a large pot and let simmer until it is the consistency and taste I like, about 2.5 hours.  Remove the bay leaves and garlic.  Boil the jars, lids, and seals as the sauce is close to done.
Tomatoes sliced and in quart freezer bag
Add 3 teas of lemon juice to each hot pint jar, fill with the hot tomato sauce to within ½ inch of the top, and seal the lid, following the instructions for the type of jar you are using.  Place all the filled jars in a large pot, insuring they are fully covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 45 minutes.  Remove from canner.  Let cool.  Test the seal after the jar is completely cool.  It should not lift off.  That’s it!  

Last year, I canned 12 quarts of frozen tomatoes yesterday and this gave me 1 gallon (4 liters) of sauce.  I use the half liter Weck's tulip jars which is almost the exact size of a pint jar. 

Other high acid foods you can using a water bath are jams, jellies, condiments, salsas, pickles, and relishes.  Consult with a canning book for more tips and always be sure to follow the recipe exactly to ensure they safely keep.

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