I love growing tomatoes. It’s not something I just do for fun (although I do get much enjoyment out of it.) It’s not something I really, really like doing. I love growing tomatoes. I have a legitimate need to watch small plants grow huge, bloom with yellow flowers, and grow green fruit that turns a gorgeous red.
Especially this summer. It’s just soothing to see so much life right outside my window. Don’t ask me how I’m going to handle the end of the growing season. I’m in denial right now.
This year we have had grown the best tomatoes EVER.
What do I do with all these tomatoes? I’m so glad you asked.
Two years ago I focused on canning diced tomatoes. I still have 18 jars. That’s easily enough for another year. Last year I canned 52 pints of heavenly salsa. The kind of salsa that when you taste it you have a near religious experience. I still have over twenty pints left. We like religion and we like salsa, but you can only eat so much of the stuff.
This year when it comes to canning tomatoes, I am directing my efforts on making plain, tasty tomato sauce. With a basic tomato sauce I can make lovely spaghetti sauce, tasty pizza sauce, or a nice tomato soup.
It takes mucho tomatoes to make sauce because you have to essentially boil 70% of the tomato away to make it thick and fabulous. (Which now makes my tomato sauce sound like great hair, but whatever.)
To make sauce first you need to blanche ( I love using fancy culinary words) the tomatoes to peel their skin. Basically you boil them for two minutes or until their skin starts to look like this..
Chop up the tomato into smaller pieces and try to get all the juice and seeds out. But don’t over exert yourself. Because over exertion is never pretty.
You then have two choices. Because this is America and we like options. You can put them in the crockpot.
Or, you can boil them in a big pot on the stove.
The pros to the stove top method is that it will get you a thicker sauce faster. But you do have to stir it often for the next two and a half hours. If you don’t keep on top of it, the sauce will burn on the bottom, faster than you can say “Good hell the tomato sauce is burning!” I know this from personal experience.
You can store your tomato sauce in the fridge for up to 5 days before you can them (possibly longer, because I am not at all knowledgeable on refrigeration. I just admire it.) When ready, break out the canning equipment.
In July when I pull this stuff out, I say things like, “Oh I’ve missed you guys! I love canning!” By the time we reach October, I can’t stand the site of these two boxes. They make my stomach cramp up and prompt me to say a bad word or two. Or seven.
Just follow your canner’s directions (because this post is way too long as it is and my fingers are too tired to type in all those steps. Plus, I didn’t take any pictures of this part for posterity’s sake.) At the end of all the peeling, chopping, stirring, and canning, twenty good sized tomatoes can make about 6 pints of sauce.
Gee, canning is great. Right? Right? Is that a twinge in my stomach already? It’s only August!