Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer fun: Canning tomatoes

It seemed like the tomatoes would never ripen this summer.  Our cool temperatures early and then extremely hot temperatures late in the growing season made it hard on the plants.

We finally had enough to make canning worth the time and effort.  Maybe it was the fact that our temperatures were finally below 100 degrees or that we got a little rain, but whatever the reason, we had ripe tomatoes!

Last weekend, my mom and I whipped up our favorite pizza sauce from last year.  It was so good we also used it as a marinara sauce.

It is a really easy recipe and very delicious!

Pizza Sauce

Yield: 5 pints

5 pints tomato sauce or about 20 pounds of tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped sweet peppers or bell peppers
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons salt
5 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons basil
2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
a small amount of tomato juice

1.  Wash, skin and core all of the tomatoes and then place them in a large pot to cook.  We have a hand emulsion blender which makes the process of blending ingredients to the right consistency so much easier.  Some people will use a food mill and will cook the washed and cored tomatoes with the skins.  They will run the cooked tomatoes through the food mill to remove the skins and seeds, then return to the pot.
2. Cook onions, garlic, and peppers in a pan on the stove with a little tomato juice from the large pot until tender before adding to sauce.
3. Mix the white sugar, salt, oregano, black pepper, basil, and arrowroot or cornstarch with a little tomato juice from the large pot.  This will help keep the arrowroot or cornstarch from clumping.
4.  When all of the ingredients are added, stir the sauce to mix thoroughly and bring to a boil so it thickens. You may need to add more of the arrowroot or cornstarch depending on your tomatoes and your own preference.  We use the hand blender to do the fine chopping and to make sure things are well mixed.  Be very careful with the hot sauce and make sure that you follow the directions for the blender.
6. For canning, put into jars and process for 25 minutes (for pints; 35 minutes for quarts). Follow all of the usual techniques for sterilizing jars and equipment used in the process.  Again, be very careful with the hot water, hot materials and sauce that all come together at this point.

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