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Canning Tomato Sauce, Short Cut

Canning Tomatoes and Saving Time in the Process

 

At Mystical Ventures, we have grown and harvested tomatoes for decades, since we do love spaghetti, lasagna, stuffed shells, pizza, and all those good things, and tomato sauce is needed for all those yummy dishes.  And since summers are usually hot in New England, I have just canned the tomatoes and then later in the fall or winter, when the kitchen is cooler and I need the sauce, I take two jars of tomatoes and convert them to sauce one meal at a time. 

 

tomato sauce

 

Canning them I the summer, though, has been quite a time consuming process to wash the fruit, remove the stems, peel those tomatoes by plunging them in boiling water and then an ice water bath, pack them into the jars, add a bit of salt and basil, and then give those jars a nice hour-long water bath to seal and process them.  And, of course, since tomatoes on the vine love hot weather, like August, the crops don’t start coming in until late August or September, right when school is starting, and I am getting busy. This year I found a short cut.

 

 

A couple years ago, my food processor of 40 years finally gave up the ghost and died.  That year, Bill gave me a new one at Christmas, and a really nice new one.  Let’s just say, “It is not my mother’s food processor!”  It can chop or pulverize just about anything.  So this year, I decided to try skipping that “peel portion” of canning tomatoes, and go right for the sauce.  I was going to pulverize them, skins and all, along with a couple cups of onions, a couple green peppers, and handful of garlic cloves, oregano and basil, cook it all down for a couple hours, and then pour the sauce into jars and process them to seal.  Wala!  Tomato sauce that is ready to eat!  Not sure I’ll ever go back to the old way! 

 

Directions below. 

 

Amounts and directions:  You will be continuously chopping everything in a good food processor.                             

 

1. I usually start with three small baskets of tomatoes, or about 15 pounds, but you can adjust it to just about any amount.   

2. Wash tomatoes and cut off stems.

3. Quarter them if large, or slice in half if Roma, and simply drop them in food processor, which has been turned on and is going.  As the food processor fills, pour tomatoes into large kettle

4. Nice part about this method, too: if you have piles of cherry tomatoes and can’t eat them fast enough, simply wash them, rub off any stems, and drop into food processor. . . a tomato is a tomato.

5. To tomatoes, add 2 large onions, peeled and cut in large chunks, dropping them in food processor

6. To tomato mixture, add 2 large green peppers; washed, seeds removed and quartered; drop them in food processor

7. About 20 cloves of peeled garlic, raw or roasted, dropping them into food processor

8. If you have fresh basil or oregano, wash leaves and pull off stems and add them into food processor as well (about 5-6 branches of basil and a dozen branches of oregano).

9. If you don’t have fresh herbs, pour all vegetables into the kettle, and then add a small handful or dried oregano and dried basil and stir thoroughly

10. Cook 3-4 hours on low to medium flame, stirring occasionally.

11. When the right consistency, and still somewhat soup-y, pour them into hot clean quart jars.  Seal and process in hot water bath for an hour. 

12. Remove jars and let cool for 24 hours.  Label and then shelve.

Makes about 6 quart jars of sauce.  Nice thing about this recipe, too.  If you are pressed for time, do all your food processing one day, and then refrigerate the kettle.  Come back next day and reheat and then cook down and pour sauce into jars and process.

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