Labor Day Weekend of Canning Tomatoes

Here the ingredients take up a rather large portion of the table.  I can’t believe that I bought all of the fresh veggies for a little under $30!

 Labor Day weekend has been full of activities. Saturday morning began with rain and cooler weather (especially since there was a 93 degree heat wave for the past couple days!). After waiting out the rain for a while with a breakfast at Marigolds,  I put on my rain jacket and headed to the farmer’s market around the Capital Square. On the shopping list was ingredients for some homemade tomato sauce. I bought 25 pounds of tomatoes, at 75 cents a pound! I also found sweet onions, green bell peppers, and basil. I then headed to the grocery for some more small ingredients needed. Then to the Willy St. Co-Op for some spices, which is always a lot cheaper bought by bulk. I was already tired after shopping at three places for the grocery list. Once I got home, I started setting up the kitchen for making the sauce and eventually, canning it all!

The first job was to skin the tomatoes. I cut slits on the bottom of the tomato, I dipped them in really hot water for a while, then put them in a bowl of ice water. This made the skins pretty much fall off. Then peeled and cored them.

 The next job was to cut them up and chop them up in a processor. In the end, it made 1 and a half stainless steel cookpots full.

The sauce was brought to a simmer, then sauteed green pepper, onion, and garlic was added. Spices were added and the sauce left to simmer for and hour and a half to two hours.

After the sauce was done, it was time to can!

It is not always required to can tomatoes using a pressure canner because tomatoes are a high acid food.  However, the ingredients added to the tomatoes means that it lowers the mixture’s total acid content.  This requires the sauce to be processed at 10lbs of pressure for about 25 – 30 min.  I always air on the safe side here and follow all of the instructions and guidelines in Ball’s Canning Guide.  The last thing I want to do is pass on a case of food sickness onto myself or someone who may be eating this stuff… and, oh yeah, be sure to monitor the pressure so it doesn’t fall below the required pressure or get high enough to explode!

I set up a little canning station on my stove top here for sterilizing lids and jars and then filling them with a funnel and ladel. 

This is my grandmother’s canner from the 1970s.  American made right here in WI.  It still does a wonderful job!

The 25 pounds of tomatoes, 6 onions, and 6 bell peppers, made 16 pint jars of sauce.

All in all this was a wonderful learning experience. I figured everything out and made enough sauce for a few meals this winter.  I may also gift some of the sauce to some relatives if I don’t eat it all first.  I finally have figured this sauce thing out and the proportions for the sauce to turn out just like she used to make.  The first batch wasn’t quite as good as the second, but it is a constant learning process here.  As my culinary skils continue to increase this recipe will continue to be modified for convenient and taste.  And, the ingredients and proportions have not been included for a reason – it’s a family secret!


One thought on “Labor Day Weekend of Canning Tomatoes

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