The Tomato Canning Wars Continue

Sorry, it took me a while to get this one up. Our Greenmarkets are still abundant with the last tomatoes of the season. As a bonus, they’re pretty cheap. Sure, some aren’t the prettiest, maybe a little bruised, but still tasty and perfect for sauce. Earlier this summer I put up chopped tomatoes. I probably should have just stuck with those. A few weekends ago I bought another two half bushel baskets of tomatoes from the Fort Greene Greenmarket with intentions of making sauce. I was excited because the sauce involved no peeling, rather I would cook the tomatoes down, then push them through my food mill to remove the skin. You could seed them as well in the beginning, but I have nothing against seeds. So what I thought might be less work turned out to be a lot messier and took a long time.

This was my first time canning sauce. I followed a recipe from my new favorite canning book (and blog!), Food in Jars. Again, when canning I try not to stray from recipes for fear of altering the PH level and possibly poisoning us. A minor concern, but still… The fact that I didn’t have to blanche and peel the tomatoes, just core and quarter was very appreciated, but for any of you who have used a food mill in the past, it’s not exactly the easiest (or cleanest process).  Plus, maybe it was because I kept the seeds and the juices but after running the tomatoes through the foodmill, it was pretty watery and took forever to cook down to a more sauce like consistency. Perhaps it was because I made about 5 times the recipe? But still, it took nearly 4 hours vs the advised 40-50 minutes.

A learning experience, but considering I use chopped tomatoes much more than sauce (even when making a huge pot of sauce), I think I’ll only canned tomatoes in a chopped form next year.

Marinara Sauce (Tomato Sauce) – Adapted from Food in Jars (Makes 4 pint jars)

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c chopped yellow onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 9 lb Roma or paste tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 6 tbsp bottled lemon juice, divided

Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion, garlic, salt and saute until onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile chop and core tomatoes (do not peel). When onions are translucent add tomatoes and juices. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes have broken down.

Run tomatoes through a food mill, using a fine disk, to remove skins. Return sauce to the pot and add basil and parsley. Simmer sauce until it thickens and reduces by a third, 40-50 minutes (or in my case 3-4 hours).

Prepare clean, hot pint jars. Add 1 1/2 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each jar then ladle in sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rims. Process for 35 minutes in a boiling water bath.

5 thoughts on “The Tomato Canning Wars Continue

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