All of these sauces require that you either peel the tomatoes before making the sauce or pass them through a food mill to remove the seeds and skin. Although I own just about every kitchen gadget known to man, a food mill is one thing I am missing. So I peel the tomatoes by hand. It does not take that long to peel them, and I actually find it somewhat relaxing (call me crazy). Something about the repetition and thoughtlessness of the task is nice. If you don't feel the same way, just try to grin and bare it. It only take a few minutes.
I am sure many of you know how to peel tomatoes, but if you don't, here is a quick "down-and-dirty" set of instructions.
|Cut an "x" in the bottom of each tomato.|
|Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 1 minute until the peel starts to pull away.|
|Place tomatoes in an ice bath to cool for about 1 minute.|
|Peel the tomatoes by pulling the skin away starting at the bottom. Use a knife to remove the cores from the tomatoes. You can also core them before if you prefer.|
Sauce #2- Garden Tomato Sauce:
This sauce is an adaptation of the Italian-Style Tomato Sauce in the Ball Complete Book. I am a bit of a rebel and add some fresh and dried herbs for more flavor. If you want to stick with the tried and true recipe to be absolutely sure, just omit the herbs and add them when you get ready to eat the sauce. This is a great sauce for pasta as well, and if you have kids (or picky spouses), it is a great way to get more vegetables into the sauce without them knowing. The sauce uses plum tomatoes which makes it somewhat thick. In the original recipe, the vegetables are left chunky, but I puree the sauce to suit our tastes.
|Make sure to use plum tomatoes or drain your tomatoes very well to prevent a watery sauce.|
|This is what it looks like before being pureed. It can be left this way for a chunky sauce.|
|Or puree it in a food processor for a smoother consistency|
|Pureed sauce in jars- It made just over 3 pints.|
Sauce #3- Salsa:
Okay, before I even start telling you about this salsa, I give you permission to call me a cheater. I did cheat, and I will tell you right now that I would do it again in a heartbeat. I used a packet of Fiesta Salsa Mix from Ball to make my salsa this year. It was easy. All I had to do was prep the tomatoes, and it came out tasting just as good (maybe even better) than other canned salsa recipes I have tried. I will tell you that sometimes I take issue with canned salsa recipes because of the amount of vinegar you have to add. With this mix, the salsa was not as tart, and I really tasted the tomatoes and seasonings. I like it and will make it again next year even if it is cheating. Mrs. Wages also makes a comparable salsa mix which turns out tasty (I have tried it also). I do process the prepared salsa in the food processor to make a coarse puree.
Seasoned Tomato Sauce (adapted from Ball Complete Book):
makes approximately 6 pints (mine made 7)
10 pounds tomatoes, cored, peeled, and crushed with a spoon
2 1/2 cups diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp dried pepper flakes
Bottled lemon juice (must be bottled, not fresh)
Stir all ingredients together (except lemon juice) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 2 hours (may take less time depending on type of tomato used) until the sauce has thickened slightly and is reduced by about half. Turn the heat off, and transfer the mixture in batches to a food processor. Process until the mixture is fairly smooth. Return puree to the pot and bring back to a boil.
Place 1 tbsp of lemon juice in each hot sterilized pint jar. Fill jars with sauce leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, adjust headspace, wipe rims, and top with sterlized lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes. Leave in canner 5 minutes. Remove to a towel to cool completely. After 24 hours, check seals and store.
Garden Tomato Sauce (adapted from Ball Complete Book):
makes approximately 3 pints
8 cups plum tomatoes, cored, peeled, and chopped
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 finely chopped or grated carrot (I grate mine)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp lemon juice (bottled, not fresh)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil (or 1 1/2 tsp dried), optional
1 tsp dried oregano, optional
Place tomatoes, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in a large nonreactive pot and and bring to a boil. Stir in lemon juice, salt, black pepper, hot pepper flakes, and herbs (if using). Boil sauce until reduced by about 1/3, approximately 15 minutes. At this point you can leave it chunky or puree it (like I do) in a food processor. If pureeing, return it to the pot to come to a boil again.
Ladle sauce into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, adjust headspace, wipe rims, and top with sterlized lids and rings. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes. Allow jars to sit in canner 5 minutes after processing time is complete. Remove jars to a towel to rest for 24 hours. Check seals and store.