Saturday, September 14, 2013

Canning projects and tomato sauce recipe

Late summer harvest

I had quite a productive day making some headway into filling up the pantry for this winter.  Although it's always a pleasure to spend time creating stores for the winter, the cooler weather made it a real treat to work in the kitchen over a hot stove today.

Fortified with a green smoothie for breakfast, I turned out:

- pickled peppers with onions and garlic
- tomato sauce
- salsa
- Whipped shea butter to moisturize the skin and hair

 Peppers, garlic and onions in jars ready for brine

Pickled peppers with onions and garlic after processing in a hot water bath

A dear friend requested a tomato sauce recipe, and below is one that is inspired by Sherri Brooks Vinton's Put 'Em Up!:  A Comprehensive Home preserving Guide for the Creative Cook.  Her book provides great practical advice and loads of inspiration for making preserves.

Salsa and pickled peppers

Basic small batch tomato sauce

makes 6-7 pints

10 pounds heirloom tomatoes, any large cores removed (see note)
4-6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 onions, finely diced
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves (4 tablespoons dried)
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (1 tablespoon dried)
red chili to taste
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar or bottled lemon juice per pint (about 2/3 cup)

In batches, chop or puree the tomatoes, garlic, onions and herbs in a food processor or blender.  Pour the sauce into a large non-reactive stock pot.  Add the herbs, salt and sugar (if using).  Cook over low-medium heat at a simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 2-2 1/2 hours.

Transfer the sauce plus 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice (per jar) into pint jars (double vinegar/lemon juice if using quart jars) and leaving extra head space for expansion if you are freezing the sauce in the jars.  Wipe the rims clean and put on the lids and rings.

To store:  refrigerate for 1 week, freeze for 6 months or process in a hot water bath for 45 minutes for shelf storage up to 1 year.

Note:  I don't peel my tomatoes because my high speed blender chops them small enough that they are not a bother.  You can peel your tomatoes before chopping if you prefer.  Dip each tomato into boiling water for 5-10 seconds and then plunge into an ice bath.  Slip off the skins, remove any hard cores and then proceed with the recipe.

I'm fortunate enough to be able to have a garden to provide me with much of my produce for canning, however, please check out your local farmer's markets and stands or natural food co-ops for a great selection of heirloom and organic produce.

If you have a favorite fruit or vegetable that you like to put up, please share in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

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Neighbor's flower box

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