Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tomato sauce (canned)

This is a post I have been meaning to make for years now. Every year I can somewhere between 75-100lbs of tomatoes and every year I get so caught up in the processing that I forget to take pictures or I only take pictures for a few steps, but not this year. And to be honest I did forgot to take pictures of canning the whole tomatoes, so that will have to wait until next year.

This is a 2-3 day process depending on how much time you can devote to it. I like my sauce super concentrated and I simmer it down for at least a full day. The water bath process is longer since we live at 5300 ft. Make sure to check the USDA guidelines for your processing time and for acidity measures as they do change. Why would acidity guidelines change? Because most produce is interbred and loses variety which means some tomatoes are becoming less acidic as they are modified/bred for the consumer palate, which means the USDA tests acidity and adjusts for the lowest common denominator in order to make sure the guidelines are safe for any tomato. To be honest I always add a little more lemon juice than is called for, since it also helps preserve color.

In terms of peeling tomatoes, I don't peel them first or use a tomato press. I like the seeds, they have all the flavor and the skins have all the color. I keep both and pull the skins out later when they are almost translucent. It is only a little more time consuming than peeling them first, but you get a lot more out of each tomato leaving them in. If you leave them on the whole time they tend to sink to the bottom of the pot and stick. I learned that the hard way one year. Since this takes at least two days for the whole process, I cover my pots at night and turn off, then turn back on first thing in the morning. I have in the past cleaned and cored the tomatoes and refrigerated them when I knew I wouldn't be able to simmer them the next day and that worked fine also.

70lb of organic tomatoes

wash well

core tomatoes, cut out squishy spots, and discard any bad ones

onions, garlic, and oil sauteing in three large pots

add tomatoes to pots - not all of them fit at once

so I add more and more and more over the next few hours

now I pull out the skins as they come loose (note this is the next day)

70lbs of cooked tomato skins is a lot less than 70lbs of fresh tomato skins

now puree the tomatoes

and simmer down even more (note we are down to two pots now)

sterilize your jars and lids and add 1 tsp salt

and 2TB of lemon juice

then fill with tomato sauce

and water bath for 45 minutes (at my altitude)

all put up

and store in a cool dry place for use until next summer


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