This year I decided to plant mostly roma (sauce) tomatoes, since we enjoyed the sauce more than the fresh that we had masses of last year. I also get ‘surprise tomatoes’, which are from last year, but who knows what they are until they start growing. I couldn’t find my favorite Black Krimm cherry tomato seeds last winter, but Mother Nature was good to me and supplied me with a few plants.
If you’re looking to make sauce, make sure your plant is a ‘determinant’ variety, meaning all (or most) of the tomato crop will ripen at the same time so you have enough to make it worth it. For fresh, eating tomatoes, ‘indeterminant’ is better as you have time to eat them.
Wash your tomatoes and set up your plan of attack.
After washing and quality control, I just cut the top off. It makes it easier to squeeze the meat out later.
After the boiling bath, plop them into a bowl of ice water. After they cool a bit, the skins will start to crack. Most of the skins will come off fairly easily. My technique is like milking a cow, or squeezing toothpaste out. Squish! Into the ‘mush pot’, a preliminary container where they get pre-smashed with a potato masher to make it easier to put into the processor. The processor keeps the seeds and mash within the pot and what runs out from the bottom is the liquid gold or the sauce. After a bunch of turns, dump the sauce into the large pots for cooking down.
A full house!!
I cook the sauce down to an acceptable thickness. Times will vary.
ALWAYS be sure your jars and lids are clean. I always put them in the dishwasher before I use them. Spoon the sauce into the jars, the funnel makes the work faster and cleaner. Make sure there is at least 1/2 inch of space, as it will expand a bit in the sealing process. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to each quart to help combat food bacteria by raising the acidity level. Yes, I know, tomatoes are pretty acidic on their own, but the Ball Canning website told me to do it!
Be sure the rims are clean and finger tighten the lids onto the jars.
Fill the pot, it doesn’t need to be a canner, we are not putting these under pressure (dum dum dum dum-du-dum-dum… Bowie anyone?) Just be sure the water is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Boil for 45 minutes.
After the jars have processed in the boiling water, cool on a cutting board or racks. Check to see if any of the lids are not pulled down, if you do have some unsealed jars, just reprocess them in the boiling water.
Thanks for visiting & keep on planting!
© Ilex Farrell ~ Midwestern Plant Girl