Saturday, August 27, 2011

Canning Tomatoes

Do you remember the post about the tomatoes?  Well we took the majority of those tomatoes and made homemade spaghetti sauce and stewed tomatoes and then canned them for the winter...or for a quick meal, whichever comes first.

Being as we don't have one of those fancy contraptions that peels the tomatoes for you, we decided to go out and buy a food mill.  We weighed the pros and cons and decided on the food mill because there is so much more you can do with a food let's just hope we use it as much as we hope because this sucker was a little costly for my taste.  :o)

We started with blanching and shocking our tomatoes...I got stuck with this fun job.  It was not only time consuming but quite messy I must will be so worth it in the end.  After removing them from the ice water I removed the skins...
Then I took an apple corer and removed the center of the tomatoes...
Here is what we were left with after removing the center of the tomatoes.  We had a ton of centers so we fed them to the chickens...they were in Heaven!

As I blanched and shocked my husband ran the tomatoes through the food mill to prep them for our homemade spaghetti sauce.

 Yes, this was a two person job.  We had so many tomatoes I would have been cooking until the cows came home!  The tomatoes were prepped so we began making the spaghetti sauce.  We don't have a recipe for the sauce, we just add stuff until it tastes right.

I will tell you what we added to the tomatoes to begin our sauce: tomatoes, diced onion and green peppers, basil, oregano, parsley, minced garlic, garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper.  I suggest adding spices you find appealing, whatever spices you would normally cook with.  If you don't generally cook with a lot of spices then search the internet for a spaghetti sauce recipe that will satisfy your taste buds.

We simmered our spaghetti sauce until it was reduced by about half...simmer until you get the consistency of spaghetti sauce from the can...about 3-4 hours.  Now that the sauce is ready we began the canning process.  We placed the sauce in freshly cleaned jars, placed the jars in our pressure canner with about 12 lbs of pressure.
The end product was amazing.  The jars not only looked nice but we did use some of the spaghetti sauce for dinner and I was so impressed with the outcome I would love to do it again!
When my neighbor came home from his trip we graciously split our bounty with him.  None of this could have been possible had we not gotten the tomatoes from his garden!

As for our stewed tomatoes, we followed the same process but did not run the tomatoes through the food mill, we just cut them up into large chunks, added diced green peppers and diced onion and then heated the mixture.

Once it was heated through we began the canning.  And our end result...

What would I do differently next time...nothing!  This was a fun learning experience and we now have food for the winter.  I had a great time working with my husband and now I REALLY want my own farm so I can grow even more food to sustain my family.

Thanks for stopping by and happy cooking/baking/couponing!

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