Friday, May 28, 2010

My Attempt at Homemade Pizza/Pasta Sauce

I just finished cleaning up the kitchen (finally!) and I am tired now. Attempting to can was much more work than I had originally anticipated. I thought I knew next-to-nothing about canning before I began, but as I discovered once I got started, I actually knew nothing about canning! Thus, what I thought was going to be an afternoon project ended up turning into more of an all-day affair. Ah well, all in all, it was an interesting project and I think I would really enjoy canning if I was more organized next time and had the proper canning equipment. (Oh, and actually knowing something about canning would probably help things goes smoother, too! :-)

To get started, I sterilized a bunch of my free jars and lids in the dishwasher. While that was happening, I chopped up all my veggies and prepped them for the sauce. Then once I had my sauce done and boiling and my lids boiling in water, I ladled the sauce into the jars and attempted to seal them. Well...I soon discovered that the lids were not fitting or sealing properly. Baffled, I went on the internet to learn about canning (something I should have done more of before I got started!) Turns out, you can't (or at least, you shouldn't) reuse the flat lids. They are one-time-use only. So, I poured the sauce back into my pot, packed up my baby girl, and headed off to the store to buy some lids for my sauce. I came back with brand new smaller (pint-sized) jars and lids. Into the dishwasher they went. Then the jars went into a 200F oven to keep hot, which my mother-in-law suggested. Finally, I ladled the sauce into the hot jars and sealed them. According to this recipe, the jars are not processed in a water bath; they just seal themselves. I know of people who use this method and have not had trouble with spoilage. However, after doing a bit more research on the internet, I found that it is recommended that the jars get processed in a hot water bath. Because I am slightly paranoid (and still know virtually nothing about canning), I think I will keep my jars in the fridge, even though I am pretty sure they are sealed okay. Tomorrow I am planning on heading to the store in search of some proper canning supplies - a proper canning pot, jar tongs, and a wide-mouth funnel.

Here are a few pictures I snapped of the ordeal.

Here are all the veggies simmering.

Here's what it looked like after I pureed it through a blender.

Then I added tomato paste to it to thicken it up.Here's the final product.

Here's the recipe I used: (Please note that I am NOT an expert on safe canning practices. You are responsible for researching and following safe canning practices.)

Pizza/Pasta Sauce

12 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1 1/2 pounds onions, chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar (I would use a bit less next time)
2 Tbsp oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp basil
1/4 cup salt
6 5.5 oz cans tomato paste (or add enough to make it to whatever thickness you prefer)

Cook tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic until soft (about 15 minutes). Puree in blender, then add other ingredients. Bring to a boil and put hot into sterilized jars. Follow safe canning techniques to seal properly.

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