Tag Archive | canning

Tomato Sauce

I think that I have finally found a recipe for tomato sauce that works for us and that I just love. I am honestly writing this post for me just as I am writing it for you. I have a very bad habit of tweeking a recipe to get it just the way I like it and then forgetting what I did. I am writing to down now for all the world to see so that I do not forget it.

As you know I do not have as much of a garden as I would like. I get a couple pounds of tomatoes a week but never 45 pounds like the Ball recipe calls for to make tomato sauce. I have created a recipe that uses just 6 pounds of tomatoes. I call it a recipe for normal people. It makes two quart jars of sauce. It is not as much sauce as the big recipes make, but it is the best way for me to preserve my harvest and enjoy tomato sauce year round.

My small batch tomato sauce. Makes 2 quarts

6 pounds of Romas or San Marzano Tomatoes. (I grow San Marzanos and I love them and I am never going back to another variety.)

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon of onion powder

1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of mince onion

1 tablespoon of basil

1 tablespoon of molasses

2 tablespoons of lemon juice or 1/2 tsp of citric acid (This is per quart jar and it does not go in till you are ready to put the lids on to can them)

 

I wash my San Marzanos and I cut them in half, remove the core and any seeds that are there. The great thing about San Marzano is that there is very little seeds. They are a very dry tomato and there is not much “jelly” as my kids call it, on the inside. I put all the washed and sliced tomatoes in my stock pot.  I add all my seasoning and put it on the stove to simmer.  I start out at a low temp because I do not want any to burn on the bottom of the pan.  Once the tomatoes start to liquify I then increase the heat to about medium heat.  I let them simmer for about a half in hour.  Once all the tomatoes are soft I then use the immersion blender and create a perfectly smooth liquid.  Yes you read these instructions correctly. I do not take the skin off my tomatoes, I like the added texture, nutrition and it does not waste as much of my precious tomatoes.  Once it is blended I let it simmer till it reaches the thickness I like in a sauce.  I like my sauce to stick to my spoon so there are times it simmers for an hour.  There are times there is less moisture in the tomatoes and it only simmers for 1/2 an hour.  Either way you can simmer it till it is the thickness you like.  Place the sauce in two clean and warm quart jars, I put mine in the dishwasher, and add your acid, either from lemon juice or citric acid. Put your canning lids on and water bath can them for 40 minutes or pressure can them at 11psi for 15 min. (This is based on our altitude and the Presto Canner guide instructions.)

I hope that you enjoy this sauce as much as our family does.  There is just something special about opening a can of sauce that you made, I love it.  Enjoy the rest of your canning season!

 

Advertisements

End of June Update

wpid-img_20140618_160743.jpg

Well things are continuing to grow.  Our tomato plants are 8 feet tall and my garden looks like an over grown jungle.  It is truly a magical thing, to think that a couple of months ago it was just dirt in raised beds, now it is a vegetable wonderland.

wpid-img_20140628_110154.jpg

This weekend we harvested 10 cucumbers, 2 pounds of beets, 2 pounds of green beans,  a couple of handfuls of blueberries that never made it in the house and some strawberries that also never made it out of the strawberry patch.  The down side of using children as garden assistants is sometimes they eat more than they bring in the house.  But I would rather have that then children that do not like to help in the garden.  My little girl not only eats all the berries, but also eats green beans and cucumbers fresh from the plants. We are not able to can the beets right now so I am going to boil them, slice them and freeze them.  I would much rather can them, but this works great too.

wpid-img_20140629_180746.jpg

Everything is continuing to grow.  The tomato plants are taking over, to the point that I am having to cut them back and pull tomato plants up and transplant them into the aquaponics system.  Our white beans are very close to being harvested, because they are a dry bean I have to pull the whole plant and hang it all to dry.  This was the first year that I planted drying beans and I learned that those should not be planted till much later in the season.  In fact, I have not planted my black beans or red beans yet because I want them to be able to dry on the vine.  The potato plants are starting to turn yellow, I look forward to harvesting fresh potatoes.  That is another thing that I would do differently next year.  I would plant potatoes in waves, so that I would have a more constant supply and have some ready right at the end of the season for the winter.  This is the first year we have planted sweet potatoes and they look great.  It is so much fun learning new things.  The carrots are also almost ready to be harvested, my husband and I always argue about carrots, I always want to pull them up to see how they are doing, and he wants me to leave them in the ground until fall… we will see who wins.

wpid-img_20140629_180638.jpg

Now that we have harvested all the beets, I did my second planting in the bed. My husband help me build a pallet trellis for butternut squash to grow up.  Under the pallets, I planted head lettuce, hoping that the shade from the butternut will keep them from bolting in the heat.  I also planted 2 more rows of beans, and a row of chard.  I am just starting to figure out how to do second plantings.  I really need to get better at it.  Every year life gets in the way, but I guess that is what makes it life.  I am looking forward to seeing how this bed turns out, I will post pictures.  Below is a picture of it now.

wpid-img_20140629_180627.jpg

In the aquaponics system the fish are growing great.  The new filter that we put in works great for keeping the water clean.  I am so frustrated though because the cabbage moths have found all my cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. I have been pulling cabbage worms off every day, but they are still doing a fair amount of damage.  With these  plants being the aquaponics system there is very little I can do to get rid of them.  I have thought about netting the plants, but my husband things that we are just going to have to grow these plants under row covers in the fall when the moths are not around.  We are lucky that these are the only major pest that we have in the garden.

This is a very busy time, I am enjoying the fresh veggies and having dirt under my nails.  Keep getting dirty!

 

Blueberry Season

pieI honestly do not think that my July would be complete without a blueberry experience!

We have eight blueberry bushes that are about 5 years old.  They produce maybe a pint total right now, which never even make in through the door.  The kids “help” with the blueberry bushes, which translates into them eating them straight off the bush.  This next winter I believe we are going to go pick up some full grown bushes.  We figure they will pay for themselves within a year or two.

Since we could not pick enough on our property we did the next best thing and go to a local pick your own farm.  We picked a little over 5 pounds of berries, which later that night became 1 gluten-free blueberry pie and nine 4oz jars of blueberry preserves.

The recipe I used for the preserves is:

  • .8oz of pectin (this is less pectin than most recipes. It was all I had, if you use more pectin you do not have to let it boil as long)
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 10 cups blueberries
  • 1 tbs butter

I processed the berries in a food processor. (It is just as easy to mash them in the pot, but I was feeling lazy) Put the berries in my stock pot with pectin, brought to a rolling boil for about a minute.  Then I added the rest of the ingredients, brought them to a boil and let them boil for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The jam passed the plate jell test, (which is putting a spoon full of jam on a cool plate, letting the hot jam cool, and run your finger through it.  If it does not run back together it is jelled and ready to can.)

I processed them in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

It turned out wonderfully.  It was thick and sweet, but still had the tartness on the back of the tongue that I love about blueberries.

I baked a gluten free blueberry pie at the same time.  The recipe for that is:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I use Better Batter)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 10 tbs frozen butter, grated
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and grate the butter on top.  Slowly mix together, then add the water.  Mix it as little as possible.  Separate into two balls and put in the fridge until you are ready for it.

The Blueberry Pie filling;

  • 5 cups blueberries.  ( I prefer fresh, but frozen work well too)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup potato flour, or corn starch
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg

Mix everything together and set aside.

Roll out one ball of pie crust, put it in a pie pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Add the blueberry filling and then roll out the other crust and top.  Cut slits in the top. Place pie pan on top of cookie sheet with sides.  (The pie will boil over, I have only managed to not do that once!)  Bake for 60 minutes or until crust starts to turn golden brown.  Egg wash the top with a mix of 1 egg beaten, and tbs sugar. Bake about another 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely then serve.  It should set up wonderfully and not be too runny.

Enjoy your blueberries and let me know how everything turns out. I would love to hear how it worked in your kitchen.

Tomatoes

We have had a wonderful tomato season.  Our tomato plants are 6 feet tall and we are picking tomatoes everyday.  In the past we have only grown enough tomatoes for sandwiches and salads, the kids would eat them faster than I could save enough to can them.  Today, I finally had enough tomatoes that I needed to can them or they would go bad, we just could not eat them all. I was finally going to make salsa from the tomatoes, peppers, garlic and herbs that I grew on my property.  I was so excited.  My mother-in-law and I spend the morning processing produce.  I did not chop the tomatoes small enough and I chopped the peppers and the onions too small, we ended up with every watery salsa.  9 jars of very watery salsa, I was so disappointed.  Finally here I was canning my own produce and I messed it up.

Instead of throwing away all these tomatoes that we worked so hard to grow, we water bathed canned the tomato mixture and I will just use it as a soup base.  It will work great in chili, tortilla soup and vegetable soup.  I hope that my tomato plants continue to grow and produce more tomatoes so we can get another chance to make salsa.  When I create the perfect salsa recipe I will make sure to post it.

Here are some pictures of my amazing tomato plants.  A little rabbit poop goes a long way, it certainly helped these plants grow big and strong. Summer 2013 phone 1034Summer 2013 phone2 003 Summer 2013 phone2 001 Summer 2013 phone2 002