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Canning Tomato Sauce

Last week I put up 7 liters of tomato sauce.  I decided that was such a great idea, and relatively easy to do, so why not do more?  I bought a bushel of tomatoes at the local market, waited a few days for them to ripen, then started the canning process this morning.

This process is very easy, as I will detail below, but today I left the burner on a bit high under one of the pots.  Sugar burns easily (did I not learn this lesson when I burned the peach and pepper relish a few weeks ago?), and tomatoes have sugar in them.  I was not stirring often enough, and suddenly there was a burnt smell.  Sure enough, I burned one of the pots.  Great.  I just don’t have the time or budget to throw these out, so I will be canning burned tomato sauce which will remind me all winter long of my foolishness.  Fortunately I had two batches going and the second pot did not burn, so most of the sauce will be ok.

To make and can tomato sauce, here’s the simple recipe my roommate gave me and which I’ve used:

1. Purée 2 blenders full of tomatoes to make juice with which to start

2. Bring this juice to a simmer in a large pot

3. Fill pot with “poked” (slit with a knife) or cut into chunk tomatoes

4. Stew until soft

5. Let cool, then purée sauce.  If you want “pure” sauce, process it through a food mill to strain out seeds, pulp and skins.  I don’t do this as I don’t mind a little substance to my sauce, plus I don’t have the time to do the added processing.  Furthermore, it reduces the total volume of sauce produced.

6. Return purée to heat and simmer until desired thickness has been achieved.

7. Pour sauce into sterile, heated jars.  I’m not sure if this is necessary, but the recipe I was given instructs us to add 2 tablespoons of vinegar + 1 teaspoon of salt to each jar.  This is to increase acidity and reduce the possibility of botulism. I think how much vinegar you need to add (if any at all) depends on what kind of tomatoes you are using and how much natural acidity they have.  Be sure to add salt and vinegar to jars before adding the sauce, otherwise you may have an overflow problem at the end.

8. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes (for quarts)

If anyone who reads this has other thoughts or recipes, please feel free to share here!

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