First a little background. I have absolutely, positively no Italian background, but I love me some pasta. It's almost an unhealthy obsession. The weird thing is I hate tomatoes, but I love tomato sauce. But recently, I noticed both pasta sauce & ketchup sold at the grocery store have a lot of sugar. And I'm talking like a cup or two. So, I wanted to make my own without sugar. That did not turn out too well last year thanks to the neighborhood squirrels. But this year, we have some beautiful, huge Better Boy tomatoes. And since I'm not sure how many more we'll get since there's a new excessive heat wave, I decided to start cooking.
First, I attempted to do a lot of research. And I found a few conflicting things:
- Needed 20 lbs tomatoes (not happening)
- Simmer for 2 hours (or not)
- No exact "air room" for jar
- No exact time on bathing jars
- Having water over jars (or not)
So here's what I did. And this is what I used:
- 14 better boy tomatoes right from my own garden
- 1 red onion from farmers market
- few leaves of basil from the garden
- few sprigs of oregano from the garden
- 1 garlic clove
- ground thyme
- 1/3c of Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2T sugar (I'll explain later)
- A couple splashes of lemon juice
- I'll admit it, 1 can of garlic roasted diced tomatoes
|Beautiful tomatoes from my garden|
|Just throw the suckers in boiling water for one minute|
|What squeezed tomatoes with skins look like|
|It will first look chunky yet watery.|
Ok. So, about an hour or so before your sauce is ready, it's time to get your canning gear in place. Thankfully I have all I needed after my mother bought me a canning set: pot, jars, lids, rings, magnetic wand, funnel, tongs, jar rack, and a little thing that helps you get all the extra air out of the jar.
|Back when I first received the kit|
|Sauce reduced and is ready|
|I still had about 1/2 - 1 inch of water above the jars|
Word is after you know you have a good seal, you should remove the rings to prevent any rusting. The sealed lids should be enough. And while you can reuse the rings, you should never reuse the lids.
So that's how my first experience with canning went. Since I only made two jars, I'm sue we'll end up testing out the sauce soon. And while I enjoyed learning about using the water-bath method, I'll probably test out a pressure-system next time. Mom swears by it.
Speaking of, I ended up taking the best advice from my mother & step-mom when it came to the sauce & canning. I guess I should of just taken that route instead of getting confused online. I guess that's the moral of the story.
Now that I got my first canning out of the way, my next big attempt is making a chicken bone broth. One of my favorite bloggers, The Healthy Home Economist, writes that making & using homemade bone broths & stocks is the number one way replenish the nutrients your body is lacking. I've wanted to make my own broth for months, but now that a friend is giving me one of his chickens (that I know was well care for/fed/exercised) , I will soon make my dream a reality. But you'll have to wait another week or two. I'm actually taking a short vacation next week. With that said, I'm not sure there will be a post next week. All depends on how busy I'm enjoying a few days off. Maybe this last photo of my kitchen buddy will make up for it.
|"Let me help you cook."|