A site for sore tastebuds and a woeful wallet

What Does One Do With Forty Tomatoes?

Five words will answer that question…Make a pot of sauce!  Actually, I have many more than forty tomatoes, but making sauce is a start to managing such a wealth.  I’ve been learning how to can and preserve recently and I find that tomatoes are the easiest thing to put up in the Mason jars.  No pressure canner is needed, just the water bath method will be enough to kill off any bacteria.

My friend Gayle planted 150 plants and is having an incredible crop this year.  Almost every surface in her kitchen and dining is covered in tomatoes.  She’s got a lot to manage as well.  Part of her management scheme has been giving me the tomatoes that need immediate attention.  Lucky me!

I started by blanching, coring, and peeling the tomatoes just like in the previous post.  To make tomato sauce though, I needed some other flavors. This sauce was made with the following:

  • 40 ripe tomatoes, blanched, cored, and peeled
  • 2 ribs of celery sliced thinly
  • 2 carrots also sliced thinly
  • 2 onions diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian herb mix
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cans (6oz. cans) of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salt (I salt on the low side)
  • a dash or two each of cayenne pepper and black pepper

I put all of the tomatoes in a big stock pot, and in a skillet with a good coating of extra virgin olive oil, I cooked down the aromatic vegetables.  I added the garlic, a bit of salt, then tipped it all into the pot that was getting pretty steamy by this time.  Everything continued to cook as I stirred the pot every so often smashing the tomatoes as I went.  I even ran the electric mixer through it to further crush the tomatoes.  After  about an hour and a half of simmering, I added the fresh herbs and dry herbs (not yet with the bay leaf) then I added the two cans of tomato paste.  It really started to smell good!

After another half hour of simmering, I turned off the flame and used a big 6 cup measuring cup to scoop out the sauce into batches and run each scoop through the blender to further puree the tomatoes.  I dumped the now pureed tomatoes into a large bowl.  When I transferred the last scoop of tomatoes to the blender, I poured everything from the bowl and blender back into the stock pot on the stove, added the bay leaves, salt, and sugar, then cranked up the heat to high.  Since tomatoes vary in size, this is the time to check the taste and make adjustments to the salt, sugar or spices.

To insure being bacteria free, I brought this smooth and lovely sauce to a good boil and checked that it read 210° on an instant read thermometer for at least 5 minutes.  I carefully poured the sauce into sterilized quart jars, wiped the rims, and placed sanitized lids and bands on each one.  I got exactly 4 quarts out of this batch, but I really had to scrape down the stock pot to do it…otherwise I would have had to make a batch of spaghetti to go with it at 9:30pm.  Thank goodness I didn’t have to do that!  I’m still saving myself for after that physical examination to eat pasta again.  Anyway, with the lids on and another pot of boiling water waiting, I further heated the jars in the water another 10 minutes just to be sure of sterilization.  Out of the water bath and on the counter I heard the lids pop one by one as they cooled.  The news was just starting when everything was finally cleaned up again.

This was a lengthy process that took about five hours total but I assure you when something is made with this much love. it’s got to be good!

 

 

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6 responses

  1. avian101

    I believe that the main ingredient for preparing any meal is love, it never fails to taste good! Thanks Diva! 🙂

    August 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm

  2. Look at all of those tomatoes! (I can almost smell the sauce over here!)

    August 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    • I was stinking up the neighborhood last night for sure. I’ve got more if you want some

      August 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

  3. I just finished an advanced tomato canning class and comparing your recipe with some we were given , I would check with a home economist from a local extension office because pressure canning is recommended for a sauce similar to yours. There is not enough acid in present day tomatoes and lemon juice or citric acid needs to be added. Basic stewed tomatoes need to be pressure canned because of the added vegetables which are low acid. i would check it out…

    August 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    • Ak! Kathy G. You are right!! The very last step before sealing the jars was to add lemon juice (approx.2 tbsp per jar of bottled lemon juice). I apologize for the omission! The Ball Blue Book is a great guide for safe, tried and true canning and preserving methods. I have also heard that adding lemon juice puts the sauce in the safe zone. I’d rather be safe than sorry though, so in the future I will pressure can all tomato sauce as well.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

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