To date, we have pulled about 30 pounds of tomatoes out of our greenhouse! I’ve canned them in about every way possible – salsa, pasta sauce, whole tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. I love to can food. It is such a sense of accomplishment to look into my pantry and see jars of food that we’ve grown ourselves. Not to mention, it all tastes so much better when it’s your own.
Canning and preserving your own food isn’t really all that difficult. You just need a few good books and the right equipment. I highly recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and You Can Can from Better Homes and Gardens. Both books answer all of your canning questions and are full of fantastic recipes. You can find home canning equipment sets at your local WalMart, as well as all the different types and sizes of jars you could want. I’m excited to share with you some of favorite canning recipes. Another great resource is the Canning section on the Ball site.
*I froze my pasta sauce instead of pressure canning it. When freezing, it’s best to use wide-mouth jars. The sauce should keep in the freezer for about 10 months. This recipe is adapted from You Can Can.
makes 4 pints
15 pounds firm ripe tomatoes
¼ cup water
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green or red bell pepper
1½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh snipped parsley
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp. dried marjoram, crushed
1 tsp. black pepper
First, wash, core, and quarter your tomatoes. Place them in a large heavy pot. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Press the tomatoes through a food mill. This separates the skins and seeds from the flesh. Return your now soupy tomatoes to the pot. Discard the seeds and pulp.
Chop onion, green or red sweet bell pepper and mushrooms. Combine these ingredients with a 1/4 cup of water in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until onion and pepper are soft. Make sure you stir frequently. Add them to the pot with the tomatoes along with garlic, parsley, brown sugar, salt, basil, oregano, marjoram and black pepper. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat. Make sure to measure the depth of the mixture in the pot. Simmer, uncovered, about 2 hours or until reduced by half, stirring frequently. The depth of the mixture should be half the original measure.
Place the pot of sauce in a sink filled with ice water to cool. Ladle sauce into wide-top freezer jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Seal and label your jars. Freeze them for up to 10 months.
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