Every fall, many families pick or buy bushels upon bushels of tomatoes and can them outside. If you grow your own tomatoes, that’s even better! For some, it’s an annual event where families come together and spend the day canning tomatoes.
You can’t compare homemade tomato sauce cooked fresh to store-bought sauce. It is really not difficult to make and if you follow these steps, it’s actually fun!
1) As a first step, you’ll need to buy or pick a bushel of tomatoes. Preferably a meaty tomato like Roma tomatoes.
2) Ripe tomatoes work best so if they are not fully ripe, let them sit out for a couple of days in a sunny location.
3) Peeling off the skins. To remove skins easily, blanch them in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes.
4) Drain the tomatoes and let them dry. After removing the skins, the tomatoes will have excess moisture so line a wicker basket with a tablecloth and let them sit in it for about a half hour or until dry.
5) Strain the tomatoes to remove the seeds and leftover peels and what’s left is a rich red sauce.
Don’t have a tomato strainer? Amazon has a nice one: VICTORIO VKP250 Food Strainer and Sauce Maker.
6) After straining, the end result is called passata. You can begin canning this directly and use it to make pasta sauce at a later time or make your sauce and can the prepared sauce instead.
There are numerous fresh homemade tomato sauce recipes but if you don’t have a favorite recipe, try this one. This pasta sauce recipe is for a bushel of tomatoes and should make 10 jars of sauce:
- 1 part passata (what you just made)
- 1 part water
- A full bulb of garlic, minced
- 8 medium onions, finely chopped
- A handful of basil
- A couple of carrots and a couple stalks of celery
- Salt to taste
- 2 Tbs of olive oil
7) Whether you are canning the passata or the prepared pasta sauce, sterilize your mason jars in boiling water. 500ml jars are a good size and don’t forget to also sanitize the lids.
When canning tomatoes or any other vegetables, it is recommended to add a 1/2 to 2/3 teaspoon of citric acid for each liter of sauce. This will help increase the acid level and prevent the toxin that causes botulism from forming.
8) Seal the jars by adding them to boiling water for 45 minutes and make sure at least an inch of water covers the jars.
Once removed from the water, the jar seals should make a popping noise while they cool. For any jars that you can still press the lid, they will need to boil again.
9) Everything tastes better when it’s homemade. Enjoy your homemade tomato sauce!
On a beautiful fall day, canning tomatoes sound like a good time with friends and family. Please share this technique for making homemade tomato sauce and try it out for yourself…it may become a yearly tradition!