Over the years I’ve learned short cuts in canning. Not in processing but in preparation. One area is in making tomato sauce which we use a great deal of from pizzas on Friday movie night to spaghetti, lasagna, soups, etc. You just can’t beat the rich fresh flavor of home made sauce.
Best of all it is super simple to make. Rinse off ripe tomatoes and large chunk them, then place them in your blender. Blend thoroughly. Make sure to blend thoroughly for it makes a large difference in how much sauce you get. Meanwhile wash your sauce maker and set a bowl underneath to catch the goodness. Then pour the tomatoes into the saucer. The juices will begin to pour out through the holes as you pour. Then rub the wooden stick piece, I know, I’m real technical but exactly what this canning apparatus is I can’t say. It is something I picked up at a garage sale and saw my mother use a similar one when I was little. I never saw her make sauce though, just juice.
As you rub the wooden piece around the edges of the metal it will push the juices and fine bits of tomato through the holes leaving the skin, seeds, and fibrous part behind.
Only a little will be left on your wood. Easily scraped off with the back of a knife and then you can scrape the sides of the cone making it ready for the next batch. The juices and fine pulp in the bowl go into a Crock Pot or slow cooker turned on high. Then begin the next batch of tomatoes. When the Crock Pot is completely full, I put the lid on. This is not saying that you can not do a smaller batch but watch carefully so it does not burn. A smaller batch I put into my little Crock Pot.
Put the lid on until it is bubbling hot. In my house there are lots of flies this time of year with the kids fanning the door and the good smells from canning and boxes of fruit which attracts flies. They will light on room temperature foods but not piping hot ones so the lid is to hasten the rise in temperature and keep the pesky, dirty beasts at bay. Then remove the lid so evaporation can occur and let it sit for hours and hours cooking. Occasionally stir. In the beginning it takes forever to thicken and then seems to finish quickly so as it thickens keep a closer eye on it. It will take a long time and since I usually get to my canning in the afternoon, the cooker is still cooking until the next morning. If you wish to do a smaller batch where the cooker is not completely full then do so but watch far more carefully. You probably won’t be able to leave it overnight.
You can do it on the stove but you have to be far more attentive and I’ve had a tendency to burn my hard work as I hustle around attending to other things that need canned. I do use chunked tomatoes that I’ve bottled on occasion when I’ve run out of sauce. I cook them down on the stove and blend when thick. It worked in a pinch.
At night I simply turn the temp to low on my slow cooker in case it evaporates too quickly and burns. Then I turn it up in the daytime when I can keep an eye on it until it is just right.
One thing I love about my juicer in comparison to my Victoria strainer for this job is that it is so fast to clean up and you don’t have to heat your tomatoes before juicing. One less step which saves time. I will confess I could put my tomatoes in the blender and then through the Victoria Strainer but it still takes more time to clean the strainer versus the juicer.
I find using the blender gives me more solid tomato parts to put in my crock pot which gives me more sauce. Keep in mind it is an opinion since I’ve not measured. Each person needs to work out what they like best because canning is an arduous process of love. Not love canning but love the product you get afterwards because truthfully I don’t like to can. I do far too much of it and it has become a job.
This year I had 13 boxes of unripened fruit that I had ordered early in June and arrived just before Labor Day. It rarely comes ripe. All 13 boxes ripened at the same time screaming do me, no do me! Plus a few things from the garden.
From the Crock Pot I water bath. Though the authorities are saying to use the pressure canner since the modified genetics of today’s tomatoes leave them not only with less flavor but less acid. I just could not make myself take the extra time it would require to use the pressure canner. I’ve pouring cement, making shelves, painting, and butchering also on my docket so saving time is extremely important right now.
That is why I only grow heirlooms in my garden. They have the flavor, non GMO, and acid. Hopefully someday I get things in order that I don’t need to order tomatoes from the Colorado commercial farm to fill in the gap of what I grow versus how much I use. Someday it will probably be a necessity.
What is your favorite way to make tomato sauce?