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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Although this blog is meant to focus on delicious treats that expand the waste line, I couldn't help but write about this experience.    I have made my own tomato sauce in the past but never on a scale that required the need for jars. In channeling my inner Michael Smith, I don't have a true recipe for this it simply involves the following from largest quantity to least quantity:
  • Roma tomatoes 
  • Yellow & Spanish Onions
  • Garlic
  • Carrots 
  • S&P and dried herbs & spices
There is really something exciting about creating your own sauce.   It's pure and full of flavour and simply makes you want to eat pasta every day.  YUM!   A couple hours of work will give you months of not having to purchase lack luster store bought sauce.  

Where to begin..... 

Chop up tomatoes and onions in to medium sized chunks and peel out lots and lots of garlic buds.  Place them on a pan, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and some Italian seasoning and ROAST!!


Roast the tray @ 375-400F for about 30-40min, basically until it looks like this.....

Now I know a lot of people boil the tomatoes and peel them and smash them down and I think that is great... but just a bit too much work.    Why spend the time peeling when God, or well Kitchen Aid invented BLENDERS.   Put your finger to work and use it I say.  Throw the roasted veggies into a blender and liquify.  
This will create a smooth tomato shake that is just begging for some herbs and spices.  Pick your favourite dried herbs and spices and put them in a big pot and let it simmer for several hours until the herbs have been absorbed and all the flavours are mellowed together and the sauce has reduced removing any excess liquid from the tomatoes. The sauce will fill your kitchen with some amazing aromatic smells.

Time to CAN
Well I was no expert before and I am no expert now but thankfully I am not the first to blog about canning tomato sauce so I searched out the web for best practices of canning and this is what I learned.
  • Wash & Sterilize the jars - Run them through the dishwasher, HOT HOT HOT - lids and all (but lids off)   Then boil the jars for 10 minutes and then keep them on simmer until ready to use. Simmer the lids in a separate pot.  
  • Fill the jars - When the sauce is ready, use tongs or something other than your hands to pull out the jars from the water.   Grab your funnel or spoon or ladle (if you don't mind a small mess) and pour the sauce in to the jars.  If you are using spoon or ladle tap the jar after each scoop to ensure air is removed and the sauce settles together.
  • Spacing and lemon juice - leave about 1/4 inch at top and put about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice at the top to prevent spoilage.   Also review the jar to ensure no air pockets and remove with a knife.
  • Seal and Re-boil - Once the jars are sealed, place them in boiling water for about 35min (for half litre) or longer depending on the size of the jar.  Many websites said to ensure the jar is covered by an inch or two of water but I was only able to get the water up to the base of the opening and all my jars sealed
  • POP!!  - After the seal and re-boil is complete and you have removed the jars you have nothing left to do except wait for the pop.   When you are a first time "canner" there is no sweeter sound that POP!  It can take up to 24 hours for your jars to seal so don't worry if you don't hear it right away.   After 24 hours lightly press the jar lid to ensure it was sealed.  Once it is vacuum sealed you can store them at room temperature until ready to use.  


Although it may seem like a long process, it is well worth it and not as bad as it seems.  With the roasting method you don't have to do everything all in one day.  I roasted on a Thursday night and then pureed and jarred on Saturday morning.   I can guarantee the roasting/puree method is faster than boil and peel plus you get the added bonus of the roasted flavours.  If you are interested in making a lot of homemade sauce and not comfortable with canning you can always fall back to freezing and thaw as needed.   


Try your own sauce and trust me you will enjoy the results. 












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