Canning season is here, so get Peter Piper’s Pickles picked and go to work. Well, we like pickles but not that much. What we do love is a great tomato sauce.
A great tomato sauce? Yes a sauce for all occasions, with a tomato flavor to knock your socks off. The only way that’s going to happen, is to use farm fresh tomatoes, and make it yourself.
We purchased our tomatoes, yes purchased. Our little garden consists of 10 tomato plants that get half the sunlight they need, great for our table use, some drying and a little canning, but not enough for the pantry.
We went to Wilco, a local farm hardware and supply for their once a year canning sale. We purchased 40 pounds of tomatoes, 20 pounds of onions, and a case of apples for Francene’s applesauce.
The preparation is pretty straight forward, but does take most of the day.
Pick your weapon of choice. I would love to tell you which one, but everyone has their preference and hand size. I opted for the Nakiri and a paring knife, and a 10″ chef’s knife for the onions. Francene used her 5″ Petite Santoku.
Half or quarter, depending on tomato size and remove most of the seeds. Also, do a very rough or large chop of as many onions as you would care to have in your Marinara sauce, same with bell peppers. We did probably 8 pounds of onions and 6 large peppers.
Now start the roasting, I use a little sea salt and some of our garden herb mix. Place on cooling racks on baking sheets and roast for 30 minutes at 425° . Remove from oven and transfer to a container large enough to hold everything. Continue for the next several hours. If you know you will be seasoning towards a Latin flavor or Italian flavor you might as well have an appropriate drink or two along the way.
After everything has been roasted, transfer the roasted tomatoes, onions and peppers with a large slotted spoon leaving the liquid behind.
We now ran the batch through a food processor to achieve a coarse consistency. Then we brought everything up to a simmer on the stove top, seasoned to taste remembering that the final use hadn’t been decided. In other words, allow for a re-seasoning appropriate for the dish it will be used in.
Follow the canning instructions for your canning equipment. We show both the large pot and the pressure cooker. We use the pressure cooker as a second large pot.
We ended up with 12 quarts of marinara. With that great hindsight most of us have, we should have gone for 24 pints of a very rich and thick marinara sauce. Probably about 1/3 of the way between a normal marinara and paste.
This allows us to use full thickness, or thin with water or use either stock or wine as a thinner.
I must add that I always just cooked my tomatoes, seasoned them and canned them. But my friend, Kris Horn, told me how she likes to roast the marinara ingredients and also adds what ever strikes her fancy at the time. You could add most anything like carrots, artichoke hearts etc. to end up with YOUR sauce..
I tried roasting and then freezing two years ago, cooking and canning last year, and this year roasting and canning. I think this will be the preferable way from now on.
We maintain an open comment policy, please feel free to start a discussion or tell us what you think about this article. No registration is required but we will police for profanity and trolls.