Do you know how long it takes to skin and seed 30 lbs of tomatoes? I didn't, until I did it a few days ago to can some homemade tomato sauce for the winter. Let me just say that it took a LOT longer than I had anticipated. Of course, I kept getting distracted by the kids. But I am reconsidering my idea of planting a bunch of tomato plants next spring...
Here's a recipe for Tomato Sauce that I got from the book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" written by Barbara Kingsolver. I've modified it slightly for my own use, but the original recipe on the book is as follows:
30 lbs tomatoes, pureed
4 large onions, chopped
1 cup dried basil
1/2 cup honey
4 tbsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. ground dried lemon peel
2 tbsp. thyme
2 tbsp. garlic powder (or more, to taste)
2 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Soften onions in a heavy 3-gallon kettle - add a small amount of water if necessary but no oil if you are canning (very important!). Add pureed tomatoes and all seasonings, bring to a boil, and simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours until sauce has thickened to your liking. Stir frequently, especially toward the end, to avoid burning. Meanwhile, heat water in canner bath, sterilize jars in boiling water, and pour boiling water over jar lids.
Bottled lemon juice or citric acid - NOT optional!
Add 2 tbsp. of lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. citric acid to each quart jar (1/2 that much to pint jars). This ensures that the sauce will be safely acidic. When the sauce is ready, ladle it into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cap jars, lower gently into canner and boil for 35 minutes. Remove, cool, check all seals, label, and store for winter.
When I made this, I had enough for 4 500 ml jars and 23 250 ml jars, plus enough sauce to go with the roasted garlic ravioli we had for supper the next night :)
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