Saturday, February 19, 2011

Canning Tomato Sauce

Last weekend I learned how to can tomato sauce the real way! By real, I mean, with my own jars sealing and able to be unrefrigerated afterwards. In the past we made it and then just put it into recycled glass jars and then to the fridge.

Tomatoes are in season in Guatemala right now and we were able to get a 50 pound box for Q75, or about $9.50.

First we scrubbed all of the produce, which included tomatoes, red peppers, and onions and put it into big pots to simmer down and reduce into a pulpy, red deliciousness.

We cooked it with sea salt, thyme and laurel, and one batch with cilantro. The point was to have a tomato sauce base that could then be turned into spaghetti sauce, salsa or any other tomato based sauce.

When it was ready, we put it all in the blender for a nice, even consistency and then back in the pot to simmer a little longer. When it was perfect, (sampling was a fun part of this phase!) We began filling the (heated) jars.

When we finished we had 22 large jars of tomato sauce! Since there were three of us doing it together, that was 7-8 apiece. When we worked out the price, (with the jars included which will make it even cheaper next time since we'll already have them,) each jar of tomato sauce was about Q10 or $1.25. At the store a jar of that size is around Q40 or about $5. So, it was 1/4 of the store price and, in my opinion, a lot tastier too! Next time it will be closer to 1/8 of the price since the jars are already purchased. We each took our individual 8 or 7 home and boiled them there for the sealing phase.

So far we've added miltomate to part of one jar to make a delicious Salsa Ranchera to eat with our eggs in the morning and used the other part of the jar to make some amazing spaghetti marinara sauce!

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