Monday, September 20, 2010

Tomato-Basil Simmer Sauce Canning Extravaganza!

Yesterday, after a bit of calling around- Amy and I found what is probably one of the best deals on local tomatoes in Seattle.  We paid $27 for a 24 pound box of beautiful ripe lovelies from Top Banana here in Ballard.  I called a nearby U-pick farm, who was selling theirs for nearly $4 a pound!  Nonsense!

We had expected to end up with 12 pint jars full of our beautiful sauce- but the recipe we used somehow led us astray.  It may have been because we seeded our tomatoes, but the proportions were a bit out of whack.  However- we ended up with 6 jars of absolutely decadent, rich, garlicy sauce, and couldn't have been any more pleased.

The recipe that we used is here, and I absolutely recommend it.  We added a splash of red wine, three whole heads of roasted garlic (for our doubled recipe), herbs de provence, plus extra salt and lots of pepper.  I love bold flavors, and the freshness of the tomatoes and the basil still cut through perfectly.  

We started off by peeling the tomatoes:

 This was serious business.  Go ahead and ignore my sink full of dirty dishes.

Can we take a quick second and admire my gorgeous hand thrown bowls?  If you've ever been to my apartment for more than 5 minutes you probably already know all about them.  They were each under $4 and I really like to talk about them.   
From there: garlic was roasted, basil was diced, and pureed tomatoes and spices were added to the biggest pot I could find.

After the sauce had cooked down for quite some time- we were ready to get seriously serious.  Seriously though.

Once the garlic and basil were added to the sauce- we pulled it off the heat, added a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each of our warm, sterilized jars, and got down to business.

The fun and exciting action shots of me ladling sauce into jars all turned out grainy and dark!  The horror!

Once filled they went into a hot water bath for 35 long and excruciating minutes (I don't have/use a canning rack so I'm always a little nervous about breaking jars or killing someone with botulism- no big deal!)

They came out perfectly- all sealed up within seconds of coming out of the pot, and Matao and I busted one of them open for dinner tonight and about died from the goodness (not botulism).  Amy and I are planning on picking up another box of tomatoes for salsa, and maybe another round of tomato sauce.  I'd love to do some small jars to share.


Banshee said...

So you boiled them for 30 minutes? My mom and I are kind of arguing right now because I read on the Kerr website that the only way you can can soup is with a pressure cooker (I realize that your sauce is probably a lot more acidic than my soup.) But she feels like if we boiled it for awhile that it would be the same.

I don't trust her.

Renai said...


Water bath canning is only okay for high acid foods- which is why we also added a tablespoon of lemon juice to each of the jars. Soup would most likely need to be pressure sealed to kill all of the potential bacteria. The longer time in this case is just because of the jar size.

Ellie said...

i want in next time!!!

Lanette said...

I came upon this post by googling, because that's my favorite recipe for sauce, too. Thought you might want to know that in the last pic, you're holding the jar-grabber upside down (I did it myself for a long time, too!) The round part that you're holding actually fits quite nicely around the jars themselves :-)

Renai said...

Hah, hi Lanette! Luckily I figured that one out shortly after, but there will forever be photo evidence of me doing it wrong! Life got a whole lot better once I figured that one out. :)

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