Posts Tagged ‘jars’

Canning tomatoes – Pizza Sauce

Today, allow me to walk you through canning some tomatoes. I made pizza sauce from a store-bought packet. Shall we begin?

Assemble the things you'll need. In this case, a packet for your product if you do not yet know how to make it from scratch (starch, spices and beet powder for red color), 6 pounds of tomatoes, canning jars, lids and rings. (Not shown: 5 tablespoons of sugar)

The Pizza Sauce packet. Very easy, consistent results. These save me time, which I appreciate, because I do most of my canning after the kids go to bed. I do sort of feel bad about not just researching and finding a good recipe to use, but I also hate spending time on failed recipes. I'm torn. I use similar packets of spice for most of my canning: ketchup, salsa, pasta sauce, etc.

You will also need (a bit later) a jar grabbing tongs to lift jars into and out of boiling water, a jar filling funnel and a magnetic lid wand.

Ok, we need to peel the skin off the tomatoes. Set a big pot of water on to boil. Boiling the tomatoes for a short time and then dunking them in cold water makes the skins slip right off.

Also, get your lids and bands into another pot of water and set that on a low heat. You don't want to boil these, just warm them enough that the rubbery part of the lid flat become a bit more malleable. Also, at this point, you have over 30 minutes before you'll need these to be ready.

Also while you are waiting for the first pot to boil, fill a canning pot with your jars and cover them with water. We'll set this on the back burner to warm up while we simmer later on.

Put a container of cold or icy water in your sink. As the tomatoes come out of their time in the boiling pot, the much cooler water will not only stop them from cooking at that time, but will help the skins become even looser. Plus it's just no fun to peel a 200 degree tomato.

Put a layer of tomatoes into the rapidly boiling water and set the timer for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the cold water. Repeat these two steps until you have blanched all the tomatoes for your product.

After a moment to cool, slip the skins off your tomatoes.

Also, cut out the hard core from each tomato that has one, as well as any green shoulders or bad spots.

For this sauce, we puree. Put the tomatoes in batches into the blender and hit the button.

Measure approximately 10 cups of blended tomatoes

Add the measured tomato puree into the cleaned pot you were boiling them in earlier. Add the contents of the spice packet and any other ingredients you are told to. In this case, 5 tablespoons of sugar.

Stir, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 25 minutes to thicken the sauce a bit. Longer simmering time will just make it thicker, which can be needed for very watery tomatoes. Just eyeball it and if you need more time, don't stop after 25 minutes.

By this time your pot of jars is simmering, at least, if not boiling (right?), so you can begin canning the sauce. Lift out a hot jar.

Add hot pizza sauce to hot jars with your jar funnel, leaving the recommended amount of head space.

Capture a hot lid with your magnetic wand and place it on the jar after wiping any spilled product off the jar's top and threads. Wipe the stove later.

After filling all your jars, bring your canning pot to a rapid rolling boil and then begin timing 40 minutes for processing. Heat the water in the pan that had been holding the lids and rings to a simmer to use for topping off this pot as it evaporates.

After boiling the jars for 40 minutes under a couple inches of water, remove them from the pot and set them on the counter to cool until morning (24 hours is best). You'll know they are sealing as you will hear each lid POP. The next day you can wash off any hard water deposits and remove the bands if you like. The flat lids will stay vacuum sealed.

Canned Good Jars

Canned goods in jars.

Canned goods in jars.

 

Chili sauce, apple-pear-cinnamon jelly, sweet bread and butter pickles, victorian BBQ sauce, turkey stock, ham and bean soup, salsa, green beans, applesauce, dill pickles, asparagus.

We have already finished all the ketchup, spaghetti sauce, cinnamon applesauce and a couple other things I’m forgetting.

I *so* love canning!

Up next:  strawberry rhubarb jam, strawberry jam, strawberry preserves, strawberry syrup!

Canning kitchen in the garage

 

Cast iron triple burner

Cast iron triple burner

Last summer I learned to can my garden produce in glass jars.  This involves boiling big pots of food and water for as long as a couple hours at a time, usually on the hottest evenings of July and August.  The resulting humidity in the house was very uncomfortable, so we would run the air conditioning all night.  That made canning very energy expensive in a way we didn’t anticipate.

This summer I’ll be doing much of my canning on this old bar surface.  This is set up in my attached garage immediately next to the 2-car garage door opening.  It’s also just a few steps from my actual kitchen.

The bar has been reused many times.  We inherited it with the house we bought 10 years ago and it held laundry for about 5 years.  It held an aquarium for about 3 years after that and when it was moving day we almost left it behind for the next buyer.  Instead, my wife talked me into taking it apart and cutting it down to it’s current short height.  She used it this way in her elementary classroom for a year or two before bringing it home again.  Now it has been repurposed again as a kitchen counter!

Canning here won’t be quite as convenient as inside the house, but it should work fine!  It will also be interesting to be able to measure EXACTLY how much we have to spend on the energy for canning (at $19 per tank refill).

Haulin’ Glass

It’s hard to see, but there are 11 trays of glass canning jars here!

A view from one side

A view from one side

And a view from the other

And a view from the other

We scored about 200 canning jars last night. A friend of my wife’s is cleaning out his mother’s house after her passing and he wants this stuff gone.  We were happy to oblige.  This might be all we will need to can the vegetables and fruit we’re going to eat for the next year.

The dishwasher has been running non-stop and now they are finally all clean. It doesn’t help anything that I have walking pneumonia and zero energy.  

I also got two old (untested) pressure cookers, a rusty (salvageable) food mill and an old beat up collander with a handle. They even threw in about 3 dozen of each type of canning lid.

The price was right…they didn’t ask for anything. I ended up paying him about $50.

It sure is a lot of quarts. It’s over half quart jars, the rest are pints. I prefer pints.  Want to trade?

It sure was fun to see all these different jars.  Based on the newspaper packing material in the boxes, these were put away around 1985.  There were lots of 1976 US bicentennial celebratory jars, and a set of “harvest time” jars that have an interesting design.  There are some tall jars that will be good for uncut asparagus, a handful of jars bigger than quarts, and a whole box that aren’t canning jars at all.  Oh well!

There were a dozen or so that I passed on and did NOT take home. These still had food in them. :O Yep! One jar still had recognizable red tomatoes or sauce.  The others had unsealed over the years and dried down to a little tomato cake that has since turned into something like ash or dirt.

Now let me tell you the worst part!  I told my wife that asking around for jars wouldn’t work.  I said, “Too many people are going to be canning this year.  Jars will be hard to find even at the store this summer.  It won’t help to ask around.”  Then she finds me this haul.  Thank you hon!!

Canned so far

 

Canning

Canning

Above you see chili sauce, spaghetti sauce and salsa plus a jar of bread & butter cucumber pickles and a tiny jar of bread & butter banana peppers.  As I said in another post, I learned canning this year.  We have also already eaten 4 jars of salsa and 4 jars of the pickles.  I am thoroughly enjoying this garden!

At store prices, I’ve made $30 worth of salsa, $15 worth of spaghetti sauce, $5 worth of chili sauce and $10 worth of pickles.  Meh, just $60, and I spent some to make it—especially considering that most of the jars were new this year—but still it’s better than 50% off, completely local, free of pesticide, no preservatives.

And very satisfying!

Canning tomatoes

Mrs. Wages spice packets

Mrs. Wages spice packets

I love Mrs. Wages.  Don’t tell my wife.

Actually, I think my wife loves Mrs. Wages too.

I have harvested over 18 pounds of tomatoes so far this year from the back yard.  I have also learned to do canning in glass jars! I’m very excited about having this skill now.  It’s very comforting to know that I have not only saved the food I’ve grown from rotting unused in the kitchen, but that I’m not counting on the freezer to keep running either. These have all been labeled as experiments to see if our family likes the recipe.

I have canned:

By far my favorite thing has been the sweet pickles. I experimented with cucumber slices ranging in size from 3 inch shorties to a big 8 inch cucumber with semi-developed seeds.  They all taste awesome, but I do like the smaller ones a bit better.

My wife’s favorite, and a close second for me, has been the salsa.  It is truly awesome salsa and I can’t believe I made it myself!  Then again, I’m pretty sure I’m not really allowed to take much credit because I used the Mrs. Wages spice pack.

Using the tomato based spice packets does add a significant cost to the tomato-based products.  $2.25 per packet makes 5 quarts.  I would spend less than half of that on spices if I used my own recipe.

The pickling packets make far more product…10 to 12 pints I think it said, so I’ll definitely continue to use those.

Oh!  I canned up experimental jars of bread & butter Jalapeños and Banana Peppers. The sweet brine flavor was tasty, right at first, with the jalapenos, but then…FIRE!  By *FAR* the hottest jalapenos I had ever tasted.  I’m not going to have another one.  They are HORRIBLE by themselves they are so hot.

By the way…aren’t the quarter-pint jelly jars just FUN?  Too bad they cost the same as halves and full pints.

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