Friday, September 09, 2011

Gettin Saucy

As Jason and I become more serious in our practice of sustainability, I've been trying to hone my canning skills and expand my recipe box.

Recently, I decided to try my hand at making tomato sauce and canning it. I definitely feel like I have transcended to another level in food preservation after this experience.

Here's some pictures of the process. Let's get saucy together!

Step 1: Collect all the ripe tomatoes from the garden, blanch them, then peel skins.

Step 2: Cook the tomatoes down. Since tomatoes are full of water, you don't need to add any liquid. Eventually the tomatoes will liquefy. You want to reduce the liquid by 1/3 to 1/2 to make sauce.

Note: I started cooking the tomatoes in the crock pot, by recommendation of a recipe, but ended up switching to a regular pot on the stove. Here's my rationale: in order to make tomato sauce, you need cook at least 1/3 of the water from your tomatoes. As we know, reduction is assisted greatly by taking the lid off while simmering. Well, when I took the lid off the crock pot, I lost the simmer. With the lid on, I kept the simmer, but also kept the water. Therefore, after several hours in the crock pot and no reduction happening, I dumped it all in a big pot on the stove and went from there. In the future, i will forego the slow cooker and go straight to the big pot.

Slow cooker

Big pot

Step 3: Begin water bath canning process.

I'm not even going to attempt to explain all that goes into getting those jars to the final "pop." I'll let the people at explain the canning process. They have a wonderful step by step tutorial with pictures that I used.

Step 4: Bask in the glory of 3 quarts of homegrown, homemade, home-canned tomato sauce!

Step 5: Kick back and have a cold beer because it took you 8 hours to achieve 3 quarts of tomato sauce!

Obviously, these are just the highlights of making tomato sauce -- I left out ALL the dishwashing involved and the ever-present fear of third degree burns. (note to self: wear galoshes next time to protect those little tootsies!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When we lived in Juneau, WI we had a large garden with berries, asparagus, green beans, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cucumbers,a neighbor with concord grapes and a neighbor with prize winning tomatoes. Andy was 4, you were 18 months. You and Andy would eat the berries, asparagus, and green beans right out of the garden and Dad would eat every tomato. Nothing to process. However, I bought tomatoes and grapes from the neighbors. Imagine what your canning experiences have been and insert two energetic, questioning, children. I am not only proud of you for your efforts, but realize now that I should be proud of myself, also.