To make tomato sauce all you need is tomatoes, lemon juice, canning jars and a water bath canner. You can make sauce with any amount of tomatoes, but I would recommend having at least ten pounds fresh tomatoes to start with because it really cooks down and you won't get enough sauce to make it worth steaming up the kitchen for the better part of two hours. In fact the University of Georgia, who is the authority on all things home food preservation, recommends 46 pounds to yield seven quarts (a full water bath canner) of thick tomato sauce. If you've never canned before UGA has a nice intro to using water bath canners.
Canned Tomato Sauce
1 teaspoon of bottled lemon juice per pint or 2 teaspoons per quart
Step 1: Cut any damaged parts off the tomato and quarter them. Don't worry about taking off the skin or getting the seeds out that will come later. Throw them all into a large stock pot with all their juices. Simmer them uncovered for about twenty minutes.
Step 2: Strain the tomatoes through a colander or loose weave cheese cloth. The seeds and skins will stay behind and all the good stuff with go threw. Put the pulp and juice back into the stock pot and simmer until volume is reduce by half. Mean while fill your water bath canner with water and bring to a boil. Sterilize your jars, lids and bands.
Step 3: Fill jars with tomato sauce straight out of the simmering pot. Fill the jars to about 1/4 inch from the lip of the jar. Add the bottled lemon juice. This ensures the tomatoes are acidic enough to prevent the growth of scary things like botulism. Make sure the lip and rim is clean before putting on the lid and screw bands tightly.
Step 4: Process the hot jars in the boiling water bath canner. Make sure the water level stays at least and inch above the tops of the jars. It is handy to keep a teapot of boiling water going so that if the water evaporates below an inch you can add more with out dropping the temperature below a boil. If the temperature drops or the water level gets too low you have to start the whole process over.
You must know your elevation to determine how long the sauce should be in the canner. Here's UGA's recommended process time for tomato sauce in a boiling-water canner.
Step 5: Once the jars have processed. Carefully remove them from the boiling water and place upside down on a towel to cool. Once they have cooled check to see of the lid has sealed. When you press on the lid it shouldn't compress and make a clicking noise. If it does you should either reprocess the sauce or put it in the refrigerator and use it immediately.
Once we get through the abundance of summer fresh produce and move into fall, I'll get into recipes using home canned tomato sauce.
It's tomato time here on my blog. This month I'll be looking at different ways to preserve and eat tomatoes. Check out my first post where there are lots of inspiring comments for how to enjoy tomatoes. I am also adding links to the tomato posts as they are published so you will be able to find them together. Check it out here: Tomato Recipes and Ideas.
Maybe I should host my photos elsewhere because this photo looked very sharp until I upload it to Picasso and now it looks a little fuzzy. Anyone have experience with this? Should I just get a flicker account? I'm sure it has something to do with the hosting of my photos or how blogger put them up.