Canning Tomato Sauce

Categories: Cooking
Oh, canning tomatoes! Canning tomato sauce is one of the most satisfying tasks a home canner could ask for because of the versatility of tomato sauce. When people start preserving, they often make jam because it is fairly simple and of course delicious but I find the savory preserves, like this tomato sauce are far more useful. I guess we just don’t make enough toast to feel like my time making lots of jam would be worth it. Conversely, my family eats a lot of tomato sauce. Last season I canned over 100 pounds of tomatoes, grown in a friend’s garden a few ridges down the road, and only made it to late spring before running out. I am busy working up Romas, 12 pounds at a time, and sharing about it here and on my YouTube Channel and on Periscope. I'd love to have you follow along there, if you're inclined!
This season I made a technique improvement upon the recipe from the wonderful compendium, Canning for a New Generation by Larissa Krissoff. I warmly recommend it.

This recipe requires the canner to peel the tomatoes first, then cook them into sauce. I hate dropping tomatoes (or peaches, etc) into boiling water for several reasons. I don’t want another pot of boiling water on the stove, I am terrible at keeping track of how long the tomato has been submerged, and I always try to peel when the tomatoes are too hot and it scorches my fingertips. It’s a big, wet, hot mess.

This year I found a way around all that hot mess that I will be sure to record on my Canning Log that you can download here.

I slice the end off the Roma (a more dense, less watery tomato variety suited for saucing) and then just rough chop the rest of the tomato and put it raw into the top of my food mill, with the largest plate in the bottom.

A food mill is a very handy thing that I think all kitchens should have. Mine was gifted to me by awonderful friend at my baby shower, with the intention of making mushed up baby food, which I did use it for, but it is so useful beyond that, this sauce being an excellent example. It has a plate that is much like a cheese grater and a mechanism for pressing the food into the grater so the result in the bowl below is a very smooth sauce. They are popularly used for applesauce and think they are much better than a blender. They are also all metal, and non electric which means they will last pretty much forever. Here’s mine:
Put the chopped tomatoes into the hopper of the food mill and when it is nearly full, start turning the handle. The skin and some seeds are kept above while perfectly smooth sauce drips below. I have mine set atop the pot in which I will cook the sauce, so I don’t dirty another bowl, but the rubberized “legs” will grip onto a wide variety of bowls.

This technique can be applied to any tomato recipe as long as it isn’t imperative that it be completely skin or seed free (I’m sure there’s a few bits of skin in my sauce).  

This step isn’t a lot faster, I wouldn’t say, but it dirties fewer bowls (a big concern in my tiny kitchen) and isn’t as sweaty. I know, I know, I could set up big burners and can outside but then I couldn’t keep my small children corralled.

Here’s the recipe that I use to work up 12 pound batches of Romas, that usually yields 4-5 pints (1 pint =2 measuring cups) from Canning for a New Generation.

12 pounds peeled tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 ounces onion, diced (about 2 small or 1 large)

2 large cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

about 2 teaspoons citric acid

In a wide preserving pan, heat the oil and saute the onions on medium high for about five minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another five. Combine the tomato puree with the alliums and cook on medium high for about 45 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and darkened in color. Add salt to taste. Stir occasionally and beware of the sauce boiling over the edge. 
Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to each hot jar that is removed from the waterbath. Ladle boiling sauce into sterilized jars (I like wide mouth pints for this recipe, but use what you have) add lids and rings, and process in a waterbath for 35 minutes. If you are unfamiliar with waterbath canning see this excellent USDA resource here. 

There you have it, Wildflowers! Please share in the comments below what you think of using the food mill versus the boiling water and peel method. I’m eager to hear your thoughts!

If you are a fan of video, check out my YouTube video (which is a casual Periscope broadcast) about canning tomato sauce! 

via adomesticflower

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