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Monday, October 17, 2011

Canning Tomatoes

I've never canned tomatoes before. My mom has a fear of pressure canners and I've always been under the impression that tomatoes have to be canned in a pressure canner and therefore are difficult and dangerous. But last year during canning season, like many years during canning season, I went on a search for a tomato sauce that could be water bath canned. And I found one! But I ran out of time and never got tomatoes to give it a try.

This year, I was determined.

Let me give you a brief history to tell you where my determination came from. Many years ago Mr. Wiedz was going on and on about his mom's spaghetti sauce. How delicious it was, that it was homemade, how awesome it was! So...obviously when tomatoes came into season I asked her to help me can spaghetti sauce. Only to find out that my lovely mother in law got her spaghetti sauce from a huge can at the canned food warehouse then processed it into jars at home. My husband and his step-father just gave her all the credit for homemade spaghetti sauce.

Well, I really wanted to make spaghetti sauce. Really.

So I bought a box of tomatoes and pulled out my recipe from last year (sorry, can't find the link). Then had to turn back to the internet to find out how to turn my box of lovely tomatoes into tomato puree.

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The website I found told me to slice them and boil them until reduced and put them through a food mill to get puree. So I did that. I filled the pan with just over half of my tomatoes and let them cook. And cook. And cook. Then I spent f.o.r.e.v.e.r. putting them through the mill until I managed to get 1 quart of puree.

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My recipe calls for 10 quarts.

I almost gave up. But I was determined. I figured it would work to blanch, peel, cut, seed and blend the tomatoes. In one phone conversation with my friend I had 5 quarts of puree. Using far less tomatoes!

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So I purchased another box, spent quite a few naptimes peeling and blending tomatoes until I had all the puree I needed. After a couple batches in my crockpot and canner I had 10 quarts of beautiful spaghetti sauce!

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While I had tomatoes I pulled up Soulemama's recipe for carrot-tomato soup (I can't get a separate link for just the post about the soup. Go to her tutorial page from the tap at the top and her tomato soup is a button there) and gave that a whirl.

Roasted tomatoes. Yum!

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Bubbling away onions, said roasted tomatoes, carrots, garlic, etc... Yum!

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Lots of sips and ohhhing and ahhhing and two quarts of soup base in the freezer! Yum!

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