Whole Green Love | Monthly Archive | October

15 Oct

This past weekend was a weekend with no plans. Never happens. I love those kinds of weekends more than anything in the world. I even had a little time to do some canning.

Nic and I had been postponing lazy about preserving of our last batch of tomatoes from the garden. Sadly, our crop didn’t turn out that awesome this year. I thought it would be a good year because our plants had a lot of flowers that sprouted into tomatoes, but it seems like the summer went from scorching hot to chilly. My little tomato babies weren’t able to ripen.

From the tomatoes that our garden did produce, we turned into spaghetti sauce. Lovely, delicious sauce. I use a recipe that I got from Nic’s Aunt Tracy (thanks Tracy!). In all honesty, I’m not sure if this is a family recipe or if it comes from a cookbook, so I apologize for not citing it any further. In my searches, I have not found a recipe just like this. It is amazing, flavorful, and easy to make (the chopping just takes some time). Nic and I tried canning this year for a couple of reasons. It won’t overrun our chest freezer since we do buy many things in bulk and freeze other items from our garden. And also, I’d like to get away from storing as many things in plastic as possible. That said, we have made this recipe for 4 years now and this is the first year that we are canning it. The sauce freezes great! If you can find glass containers to freeze your sauce in, awesome. Otherwise, look for BPA free plastic containers.

Canned Spaghetti Sauce

24 cups quartered tomatoes, washed with no stems*

6 cups diced onions (1/2 red, 1/2 white)

5 1/2 tsp diced garlic

1 cup & 2 Tbsp olive oil

3 – 12 oz cans of tomato paste

3/4 cup chopped red peppers*

3/4 cup chopped green peppers*

6 Tbsp dried oregano

6 Tbsp dried basil

6 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp black pepper

3/4 cup sugar

6 big bay leaves

Blend or food process (the immersion blender works great for this!) tomatoes into small chunks. Mix all ingredients and tomatoes into a large soup kettle. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Do not let the sauce burn on the bottom of the pot. Remove the bay leaves and pour into sterilized jars. Proceed to can using the water bath or pressure canner method and let cool.

Update: If you choose the water bath method for canning, you must add 2 Tbsp of lemon juice into each quart of sauce to ensure safe canning! We added the lemon juice to the batch you see in the photo below and you cannot taste the addition. Totally delicious!

 

All of the ingredients have been mixed together and the sauce isn’t quite to boiling yet!

Cooked for 1 hour and ready to be canned!

I have not used a pressure canner before, nor am I familiar with that process. The notes on this recipe that has been passed on to me say you would process pints for 20 minutes at 11-12 pounds and quarts for 25 minutes at 11-12 pounds. Please use your discretion. Since we have a glass top stove, we processed ours using the water bath method for 45 minutes on the grill.

This recipe makes 20 pints or 10 quarts of sauce.

*We don’t even mess around with peeling or deseeding our tomatoes. There are a lot of nutrients in the tomato skins that I don’t want to miss out on and I don’t mind the seeds. If you are using an immersion blender to puree your tomatoes, you won’t even notice that the tomato skin is in the sauce. We grow San Marzano’s in our garden which are meatier than other tomatoes and totally perfect for sauces. If you can, find a meatier tomato for this recipe. Also, this recipe calls for green and red peppers, which are great, but I have also used banana peppers. They work just fine too. Essentially, I use whatever is available from our garden at the time I’m making the sauce.

If you try your hand at making this recipe, I hope you love it as much as I do. Not only is it the perfect way to use up tomatoes in the garden, but once you have the sauce made I love being 10 minutes away from a homemade meal. We always keep spaghetti noodles on hand and whether we have some ground beef in the freezer or not, it’s the perfect meal. We have also used the sauce in a pinch when we don’t have pizza sauce on hand. Just run a small amount of it through a fine strainer so that it is a little bit thicker than spaghetti sauce to smear on a crust.

This spaghetti sauce can also be used for a gift for the coming holiday season. Wedge a beautiful jar of your homemade sauce in a gift basket with some lovely whole wheat spaghetti noodles, a wedge of Parmesan cheese, and a gift card to your local bakery. Your gift recipient can pick up a fresh loaf of bread to round out the meal.

What goodies did you can this year?

This recipe was shared on Fat Tuesday.