Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Canning Tomato Sauce in January?

Last Summer in the middle of our Farmhouse Kitchen REDO---or gut and start over, our garden was bursting with big gorgeous tomatoes. Every few days we picked these giants and put them in plastic bags and threw them in the freezer.

Our GREEN garden produced tons of tomatoes. Now in January I still had enough for a huge kettle of red tomatoes.

And a half-kettle of (Jubilee and Amanda) yellows. I just simmered them down, skins, blemishes and stems

Here are the 14 empty gallon bags, lol.

Our reds were Beefsteaks and BigBoys. Of course then you simmer and simmer and simmer.
 I skimmed the foam off the top every 1/2 hour or so.

Yellow tomatoes have a sweeter flavor, they are delicious. 
I decided to try an herb sauce recipe, which I tweaked to our tastes.
Here the yellows have broken all down, this process took a few hours on low. Both kettles were cooled and put outside in 40ish degree weather overnight to cool.

Next morning we put them through our NEW hand crank food mill. If I have cored and skinned tomatoes, I would throw them in the chopper and let it go at that, but the cranking food mill removes seeds and anything else not soft and edible.

You can see the pulp mash in the bowl on the right. Too bad we don't have piggies in the backyard, they would be very happy to have that treat. Instead the scraps are going into our compost bin =a GREEN thing to do!

Now the juice and and pulp from the tomatoes needs to simmer. 
After bringing to a boil and skimming again,  I added
 all the chopped vegetables and seasonings.

The steamy aroma, got in the way of the pictures. Tomatoes and vegetables have natural pectins in them, so after simmering for another 2-3 hours.

Cook until the sauce gets this wonderful consistency. 
These recipes are all natural and chemical free and can be made mild enough for children.

Filling jars is easier with two people. My job is too apply the boiled lids to the wiped off jars, while hubby's job is filling the hot sterile jars with the boiling sauce.

The old 16 quart canner holds the 14 pints in a rack. You can use any pot that you can keep the jars off the bottom with a metal trivet or shelf. Canners show up all the time in thrift stores, make sure
they have the handle rack though.

Processing time for this recipe was 35-45 minutes in covering boiling water.
Consult a Ball or Mason website for proper canning procedures.
I processed in two batches. One each sauce rather than stacking the jars.
I want to make sure every jar is surrounded by boiling water.

My 14 bags of tomatoes yielded 14 pints of Red Tomato Pasta Sauce,
 and 11 pints of Yellow Tomato Herb Sauce-(because of all the added vegetables).

We used some of the Yellow Herb Sauce for supper last night. Adding freezer meatballs to the sauce on spaghetti. We had just enough left that didn't fill a jar. Delicious!

 The Red Pasta Sauce is my standard recipe with the addition of the red wine and red wine vinegar. 

I buy jars out of season on sale, same with fresh lids. Lids can't be reused, 
while rings can if they are not rusted.

Special tools which make canning easier. 
Really, the food mill is great, 
but you can skin and core everything and just throw in a chopper. 
With frozen tomatoes, that is a mess as the tomatoes mush up as they thaw.

 The plastic funnel tries to keep hubby neat and the sauce in the jars.

The green wand is a magnet for fishing lids out of boiling water and saves fingers.

The rubber jar handle thing---is  the newest version and is worth the money. 
The old design came apart to lie flat for storage...and was a pain. And the rubberized
grips are super for wet slippery jars.
 Satisfaction---when I label and date my jars.  

Here are my recipes for the sauces in small batches. 
Great sauce takes all day---if you can't baby-sit it, use a crock pot.
I have thrown double the ingredients together on high 
and then put on medium for the whole day, with success.
I have an 8 quart crock pot which is perfect for making 12 pints or so. 

These recipes can be used for CANNING OR FREEZING!

Red Tomato Pasta Sauce    makes 7-8 pints 

2 quarts of cored/skinned tomatoes (Or 2-1/2 quarts of milled cooked tomatoes.
Simmer and skim off foam until little foam appears

2 large chopped onions (1 to 1-1/2 cups)
1 cup of chopped green, yellow, and or red sweet peppers
4-6 cloves of minced garlic or 1tsp of dried garlic powder
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil Or 2 Tbsp of dried basil
1/4 cup of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
3 Tbsp of red chili powder (not hot)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp canning salt (or salt without iodine-which deteriorates color)
Simmer until sauce thickens. 

(my old recipe calls for 2 Tbsp of sugar, but the tomatoes were on the sweet side) 
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup of red wine (I used merlot)
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (for acidity) if you are canning

I added lemon juice to my pint jars and processed them in the water bath for at least 35 minutes, this adds acid and naturally retains color.

Consult the Ball or Mason websites for proper canning directions. Non-acidic recipes should be pressure canned instead of water-bath canned. 

Yellow Tomato Herb Sauce  makes 5-6 pints

4 quarts of skinned/cored yellow tomatoes
cook down skimming off foam and tomatoes are soft. Mill if desired. 

4-6 garlic cloves minced or 2-3 tsp of garlic powder
2 stalks of chopped celery
2 large carrots finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
3/4 cup of finely chopped assorted sweet peppers
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp canning salt
2 tsp dried oregano or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or more
2 tsp dried basil or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or more
1 tsp sugar (I skipped this) 
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes crushed (optional)
1/4 cup or more of chopped fresh parsley 
2/3 cup of white wine (optional)
1/2 cup of white wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice for each jar 

Simmer all this down until sauce is the thickness desired.
Discard bay leaves and serve or can following directions for water bath canning.
Should make 5-6 pints. 
Consult the Ball or Mason canning websites for directions in processing your foods properly.

I water-bathed processed these pints for 35 min. 

Flavorful and delicious---and excellent for a variety of meats or beans and pasta. 
No preservatives or chemicals.  

Thanks always for visiting. 
I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown. Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle

I will be sharing at these fine Parties!



  1. It sure does look yummy Sandi! Smart idea to toss them in the freezer. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. Well the original plan was to can out on the grill or on a burner last summer, but it was consistently 90+ degrees, so we 'canned' that idea, LOL. Thanks for stopping by, Sandi


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