Tomatoes Galore

Our garden has been good to us this year. I must say, I LOVE my vegetable garden! I love watching it grow. I love picking all the vegetables. It brings me great satisfaction. We have 10 tomato plants this year, so we have been accumulating so many & couldn't keep up with eating all of them.

This past weekend, my Mom & I made & bottled some tomato sauce. It's a long process, but so worth it. It tastes so much better than any store bought kind you could get. I used the recipe from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. However, theirs didn't have alll the seasonings that I like in my sauce, so I adapted it to my tastes. This book has all the basic canning recipes you could want. Canning is really very simple. I used to be afraid of it, but my Mom taught me how last year. I no longer fear. I'm really glad I've learned it, cause it's such a useful skill.

Some supplies you'll need if you want to try it out:
Canning Jars & lids
Canning funnel
Jar lifter- kind of like tongs that lift a jar out of the water
Boiling water canner (This is just a giant pot-see photo)

Seasoned Tomato Sauce

45 (ish) lbs tomatoes
6 (ish) cups chopped onions
12 cloves minced garlic
1/4 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp oregano
6 bay leaves
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar (I actually omitted this & it still was great)
1/4 c. salt
2 Tbsp basil
Bottled lemon juice

Boil a big pot of water & blanch the tomatoes a few at a time. (Blanching is when you drop them into the water for a minute or so & it loosens the peels.) Remove from the water. I put mine into a large strainer in the sink & peeled them.

Remove the cores & quarter the tomatoes.

Satue the onions & garlic in the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the tomatoes & seasonings. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.

Puree the tomatoes using a blender or food processor. I like my little hand blender because I can just stick it right into the pot. If desired, strain to remove seeds. Cook until the mixture thickens at medium-high heat. Continue cooking until the mixture reduces by half.

Pour into clean jars. Add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to each pint jar or 2 Tbsp to each quart jar you make. Leave 1/2 inch head space in each jar. Use a funnel to prevent spilling or messing up the jars. Make sure the rims of the jar are clean before sealing with lids. Process pints for 35 minutes & quarts for 40 minutes in a boiling water canner. I ended up with 7 Quarts.

Processing with a boiling water canner:

1. Fill the canner half full with water & bring to a simmer. Position the canner rack (goes in the bottom of the pot) over the water.

2. Place filled jars on the canner rack immediately after each jar is filled. Carefully lower the rack into the water. The water level must cover the jars by 1-2 inches. Add more boiling water if needed.

3. Place the lid on the canner. Adjust heat to medium-high, bringing the water to a rolling boil. Set the timer according to the recipe you're using. Maintain water at a rolling boil for the entiree processing period.

4. After the time is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid & let cool for 5 mintutes before removing jars.

5. Remove jars from canner, setting them upright on a towle or cutting board to cool. Leave 1-2 inch space between jars. Do not tighten bands if they loosened. Let them cool. (You know it's sealed if it doesn't pop when you press on the center of the lid.)


Mama Lusco said…
this sounds really good! I tried to make tomato sauce one year but it never thickened. I ended up adding tomato paste to get it thicker. How many hours did it take for yours to cook down? Thanks for the recipe!
Ott, A. said…
Congrats on being featured on Tip Junkie. I too enjoy canning what I raise in our garden. I am currently hosting a "Canning Week blog Party" on my blog this week. We are daily posting tips and recipes in hopes of encouraging and educating others to can. Hope you can stop by and join in the fun!
Mandy said…
Great post! Thanks for all the pictures.
Unknown said…
I feel like this is maybe a dumb question, but about how many tomatos is 45 lb of tomatos? My tomato plants are gearing up for a hearty harvest but I have no idea how to figure out how many to use for this recipe. I don't have any sort of scale in the house except the Wii Fit, either... LOL