Monday, October 7, 2013

On to tomatoes!

Well here is the beginning of my posts on putting up tomatoes. I have been on a search for tomatoes in the last month as the ones in our garden did not seem to do very well. The plants just kind of gave up and seemed to die from the inside out. They just did not produce well. But fortunately the Lord provided a couple of very generous sources around my small town and I was able to glean them at several places. This is the first batch I got...
As you can see I have them sorted between stages of ripeness. The green ones will go in the canning shed until ripe.(a large green insulated metal storage shed out in the back yard. It has floor to ceiling shelves along both of the long walls, and is where I store all my food.) Some I will wrap in newspaper and place in a single layer in short cardboard boxes to hopefully slowly ripen for fresh eating in the next couple of months. The rest will be canned in various ways as they ripen. My first priority this year in canning tomatoes was I wanted to try making my own spaghetti sauce to can. It is more of a marinara as it does not contain meat. When I use it I will just brown my meat with some onions and garlic and add it then. So here is the process in pictures. 

 First thing was to "slip the skins", or peel the tomatoes. Some people skip this step, but for my spaghetti sauce I did it. To do this simply dip them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, then into cold water. The skins will easily slip off. You could then run them through your food processor to chop them up, I however don't have one of those so I used a hand crank salsa maker I have. While it took longer than a food processor would have, it was easier than chopping them by hand and did the job quite nicely. I then put them in to my huge cooking pot, and added the rest of my ingredients for my spaghetti sauce. Everyone has different tastes, and I am sure you have sauce recipes of your own to use. If you would like a copy of my recipe I will gladly provide one, please just ask in the comment section. 

But for space sake I will just say I added onions, garlic, green pepper, brown and white sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and many spices. Here is a picture of it before I stirred it all up.

After I stirred it I simmered it for several hours. This I did to really get the flavors blended and developed well, and also to cook it down so it was a little thicker. Here is the real secret, I added 3- 12 ounce cans of tomato paste to it. This really thickens it up and gives it a great flavor.

 I let it simmer for another 45 minutes or so after adding the paste while I prepared my jars, lids and bands etc. I then canned it up in a water bath canner, processing the quart jars for 40 minutes each starting the timer after the water started boiling.

 Here is what I ended up with using my recipe for 20 lbs of tomatoes. 10 quart jars, and 1 pint. There are a few jars of regular tomato sauce in the picture as I had about 5 pints worth with the first box of tomatoes I processed but I will later detail how I make my sauce using my oven and my food mill.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a very blessed day.

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