24 September 2011

Pasta Sauce and the End of Summer

It's been a while since I posted anything here, but Trase asked nicely and so here it is. I just finished my first big push for the year for canning pasta sauce. The last couple of years I have only done about 30 jars of sauce and inevitably by the time we hit June and July we are rationing sauce because there are only 1 or 2 precious jars left until tomatoes come back in late August. So this year I set out to change that. My goal for this year was 52 quarts of sauce. In the middle of winter it's not that unusual to use 2 or 3 in a week, so when I really got down to it, 52 quarts was not an un-reasonable amount of tomato sauce. A lot of people have asked me for my sauce recipe and so here it is. This is the one that I did this round, every time I make it its a little bit different depending on what I have on hand. That being said, I do not have access to a lab or anything so nothing has been for sure tested as far as safety and such goes. If it is your first time doing any home canning, I highly encourage you to go check out the recipes at www.freshpreserving.com (the Ball Brand website) for canning methods and tested recipes. If you don't want to can it, this is also a sauce that could be stored in the fridge or freezer in portions that make sense for you. Tomato Sauce a la The Rose & Thistle 6 pounds fresh tomatoes, roughly diced (I leave the skins on because I don't mind them, but you could remove if they bug you) 3 large yellow onions, diced 1 head of garlic, minced (use the food processor if you have one, so much easier!) 2 cups celery, diced 1 cup carrot, diced 4 bell peppers, seeded and diced 2 hungarian wax peppers, minced (omit these if you don't want a spicy sauce) 2 cups summer squash, seeded and diced Salt & Pepper 15 oz can tomato paste (or take 2 pounds tomatoes and cook down until very thick) Add tomatoes to large stock pot and bring to a boil (there is no need to add extra liquid - the tomatoes will supply all the liquid you need!). Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour or until they have reduced down by about 1/3. Meanwhile, saute the other veggies in batches. I generally put the batches of sauteed veggies straight into the tomatoes as each batch is soft/brown enough for my taste. In a bowl, combine the can of tomato paste and a ladle or two of the sauce to thin/incorporate and then combine entire contents of the bowl with the rest of the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Using cider vinegar (or another acid at 5% acidity like white vinegar, bottled lemon juice, or wine vinegar - I just like cider vinegar) add 2 Tbsp to each quart halfway though filling the jar. Fill your jars, process, and cool. After all of your seals have established themselves, store until you desire a taste of those fleeting days of summer!