Monday, August 8, 2011

How to: Make and Can Tomato Sauce

This weekend, I spent some time with one of my favorite aunts, who was more like a second mom while I was growing up. Since it's prime tomato season, I asked her if she'd teach me how to make tomato sauce and also can it. To those who have experience with it, this might seem like a fairly easy task, and now that I've done it, I'd be inclined to agree. Prior to this weekend, however, I was a complete novice and not so confident in my abilities to figure it out myself. So Aunt Laura indulged me and taught me the ways of homemade tomato sauce.

We started with a bushel of tomatoes. We picked out the tomatoes that weren't ripe enough or too ripe, and washed the remaining tomatoes in cold water.

Once they're clean, boil them in hot water just until the skins start to peel. Be careful not to boil them too long, as you don't want to cook them. You just want to be able to easily remove the skin.

When the skins start peeling in the boiling water, place them in cold water to prevent/stop cooking. Peel and de-stem the tomatoes. Be sure to remove all the skin, the stem, and any blemishes. Cut the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Place the tomatoes in a large stock pot.

Heat the tomatoes and season them to taste. We added fresh basil, fresh oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. We also added tomato paste to thicken it up; add tomato paste based on how thick you like your sauce.

Fresh basil, my favorite!

Once the sauce is cooked, you're ready to can it! Aunt Laura insisted that everything must be hot. Heat clean mason jars in the oven at 225 degrees. Places lids and rims in a pot; cover with water and boil. Be sure to not touch the rim of the jar; this is to ensure a good seal!

Fill the jars to the base of mouth of the jar. With a clean, wet towel, wipe the rim of the mouth of the jar (to clean it and make a good seal). Place the lid and rim on the jar, close tightly.

Within a few minutes, you should hear the lid make a "pop" sound. This is how you know it's sealed properly. Allow the sauce to sit for 24 hours before moving.

Aunt Laura has a beautiful Rottweiler named Athena, so she and Dakota hung out, too! I don't think Athena really knew what to make of Dakota, but I think they enjoyed hanging out.

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