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I love growing my own food. Part of growing all the food is not only eating it fresh in the summer, but preserving it for winter use. One vegetable we use for several canning recipes is tomatoes. I usually make a big batch of tomato sauce for cooking in the winter or make into salsa or spaghetti sauce if I run out before summer. Making tomato sauce is a simple process.
Step 1. Pick the tomatoes or if you have them frozen pull them out of the freezer. Slice the tomatoes. I usually quarter them. No need to blanch or core, just throw them into the stock pot.
Step 2. If the tomatoes are a bit firm, place them in a pot to steam for a bit. I have this nifty strainer that fits perfectly with my pot. My mom uses her big strainer and her big pot. Some people throw all the tomatoes in a pot and use an immersion blender to chop it all smooth. If you want that you can skip steps 2 & 3
Step 3. Run tomatoes through a sieve. Pictures 1 & 2 are how the rejects should look. Picture three the tomatoes are a bit firm yet and I’m loosing quite a bit of pulp, not just skin and seed.
Allow the juices to drop into a pot so they are ready to cook down.
Step 4. Let the sauce cook down to the desired consistency. This step could take a while depending on how thick you like your tomato sauce. Just remember to stir the pot occasionally, so you don’t burn the bottom of the sauce.
Step 5. Fill sterile jars leaving ½ inch head space.
Step 6. De-bubble the jars by running a long spatula or knife along the edge or the jar. Wipe the rim clean. Do NOT forget this step. Jars with bubbles can explode in the water bath. Sauce on the rims will keep the jars from sealing properly.
Step 7. Lids. Rinse the, one time use, canning lids in hot water. This is new compared to older lids which you needed to boil first. Then set them on the jar and attach the rings down. Do not over tighten the rings, a quick tight twist will do before you burn your fingers on the hot jar.
If you are using reusable lids you will want to boil the seals and follow the instructions from the manufacturer. I purchased some from Tattler at www.reusablecanninglids.com.
If the jar is too hot to grab you can use a lid tighter as shown to help.
Step 8. Place jars in a hot water bath. Wait for boiling and then set the timer for 20 minutes.
Step 9. Remove jars from the hot water bath and allow to cool overnight. Check the lids to make sure the jars are sealed. Remove rings, label and store. For one time use lids, the bubble should be down and not pop up. For reusable lids, gently pick them up by the lid (it's terrifying the first few times), if the lid holds, the seal is good.
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