It’s halfway through October, and the dust of a new school year is starting to settle. As parents, we’re busy adjusting our schedules with an influx of homework, sports, and extracurricular activities. Trying to manage it all can be stressful, and meal-planning is just one more thing to worry about.
After my successful trip into British Columbia’s Okanagan region, I got the ‘bug’ to preserve and can all of the produce I possibly could. Because, well, zombie apocalypse. Or simple healthy organic food that doesn’t need refrigeration or freezing! The 90 pounds of roma tomatoes I purchased from Covert Farms yielded 16 1 litre jars of organic canned tomato sauce.
Organic Canned Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
35 to 46 lbs roma-style tomatoes
14 Tbsp bottled lemon juice
Prepare the jars and lids:
Wash all jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch and bring to a simmer. Using a pair of canning tongs, lower the jars, lids and rings in gently. Boil for 4 minutes and remove with the tongs, placing them on a wooden cutting board.
Peel and core the tomatoes:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large cooler of ice water at the ready. Gently lower the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch them for 60 seconds. Remove with a strainer and transfer them to the ice water. Once cool, the skins should peel off easily. I reached into the cooler with sleeves rolled up and did this job with my hands, easily removing both the cores and skins.
Prepare the sauce:
Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add them to a large stockpot. Place stockpot over medium-high heat, crushing and stirring the tomatoes to keep from burning. Continue until all the tomatoes are added and crushed. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low boil. Reduce to the desired thickness, by a third for a thin sauce, or by half for a thick sauce. For a fine, smooth sauce you can blend in a Vitamix in batches.
Fill and close the jars:
Add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice and one teaspoon of salt to each jar; add a teaspoon of sugar to offset the added acidity if desired. Use a ladle to pour the sauce into the jars through a canning funnel, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top. Run a clean chopstick around the inside of the jar to dislodge any trapped air. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place the lids on, and screw on the rings until just finger-tight.
Seal the jars:
Using canning tongs, gently transfer the jars to the canner, taking care to keep them vertical. When all the jars are in the canner, there should be at least 1 inch water covering them; if you need more, add water from the kettle until the jars are sufficiently covered. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, and process for 40 minutes.
Remove and cool:
Using canning tongs, gently remove the jars from the canner and transfer them to a kitchen towel or cooling rack, again keeping them vertical. Do not set hot jars directly on to cool counter surfaces. Leave to cool, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours. If any of the jars do not seal when cool, reprocess using the method above, or refrigerate and use immediately.
Label and store:
Add a label to the lid or side of your jar, noting the date it was canned. Remove the rings and store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening.
As summer slips into crisp and busy autumn, we have always been taught to switch gears. When we were in school, this time of year meant new outfits and funky pencil cases. Time to learn. Time to re-aquaint with the friends who were at the cottage all summer. And then you got older. Don’t you remember pouring over the thickest Vogue of the year to master that year’s trends? Tweed? Chocolate brown?