I realized that a lot of the canning I do consists of making condiments: jam, jelly, pickles, relish, salsa. What about the really useful foods? I wanted something that I could serve as a meal, or at least part of one, so I found a tomato sauce recipe that didn’t require a pressure canner. Our library has many preserving books, so I checked out Homemade Living: Canning and Preserving with Ashley English, copyright 2010.
I found a good price for tomatoes at Wagner’s Farmstand, half a peck (12 pounds) for $12. I bought the tomatoes because I had already used most of our garden’s tomatoes on our salsa, and there is no way we could ever possibly have twelve pounds of ripe tomatoes at a time. I’ll have to plant more next year!
Tomato Basil Sauce
- 8 pounds tomatoes
- 2 cups onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling or kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Peel, core and chop the tomatoes. Blanch them for 20 seconds first so the peels come off easily. Place the tomatoes in a large, heavy, stainless-steel saucepan. Use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes, allowing their juices to be released. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, sugar, salt, black pepper, and basil, and stir. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently to keep from sticking.
2. While the sauce cooks, sterilize 5 pint-sized mason jars, lids, and rings. Prepare canner.
3. Remove the sauce from the heat. Run the mixture through a food mill or fine sieve to remove any seeds. Discard the seeds, return the sauce to the saucepan and bring back to a boil (I skipped this step since I had removed the seeds while peeling, coring, and chopping the tomatoes). Stir in vinegar.
4. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to each jar. Fill the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Place lids and rings on jars, and place in canner.
5. Process for 35 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Variation: Substitute 1 tablespoon each fresh oregano and fresh marjoram for the basil.
This took all morning to make, but it wasn’t as exhausting as Salsa Day since there was much less chopping. Most of it was waiting time for the sauce to simmer, and for the jars to process. Now I see five spaghetti dinners in our future!
And I do have plans for the last four pounds of tomatoes…