Herbed Tomato Sauce

Herbed Tomato Sauce

A tomato-canning recipe for those who like preserving foods or have an abundance of tomatoes coming in from the garden. This tomato sauce is seasoned with an Italian-style variety of fresh and dried herbs and spices and can be used in most tomato-based pasta recipes.

Herbed Tomato Sauce (Canning Recipe)

Ingredients                Makes: 5 pints                 Time: 5 hours
20 lbs. tomatoes (making approx.10 cups cooked-down tomato – about 45 medium-sized tomatoes, preferably paste)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, de-stemmed and chopped
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves (remove before canning)
1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp honey ~or~ 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cane sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt, or more to taste
approx. 1/2 cup lemon juice (2 Tbsp per quart jar ~or~ 1 Tbsp per pint jar)

Sterilize jars and prepare canning equipment. Sterilize jars by boiling them with the lids removed in a large stockpot for a couple of minutes; only necessary if jars have been used for other canning purposes. If the jars are relatively clean, a soap and water bath is good enough. Ensure that the seal on the lids are not damaged in any way, otherwise replace. Take out the stockpot or canner, the canning wrack, jar lifter and any other tools you will require when getting ready to can.

Prepare the tomatoes for blanching. Blanching is a cooking process wherein a food, in this case the tomato, is scalded in boiling water then plunged into an ice-water bath to halt the cooking process. Begin by preparing an ice-water bath for the tomatoes by filling a large bowl 3/4 full with ice-cold water and some ice-cubes.

Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems. Cut out the top of the tomatoes and any wounds, then cut a small ‘x’ on the bottom of each one. Gently squeeze out any seeds, then transfer tomatoes to a large bowl.

Blanch the tomatoes. In a large sauce pot, fill half-way with clean or purified water and then bring to a boil. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water in batches, full but not enough to over crowd. Cook for about 1 min. then using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath to cool.

When the tomatoes have cooled for a couple of minutes in the ice-bath, the skins should slide right off. Remove the skins and then gently squeeze each tomato to discard the seeds and extra water; then transfer the skinned and gently squeezed tomatoes to a large clean bowl. When finished, drain the excess water out of the tomatoes using a large fine mesh strainer.

Cook the tomatoes. Transfer tomatoes to a large sauce-pot over medium heat and cook gently for about 30 minutes or until much of the clear liquid is cooked off and a thick saucy/chunky tomato mixture begins to form; then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally with wooden spatula to prevent burning. Chop the larger tomatoes into smaller pieces using the spatula while cooking.

Prepare the other ingredients. Dice the onion and set aside, then mince the garlic and set aside. In a skillet over medium-low heat add the olive oil and the diced onion and cook until transparent and tender; stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Transfer the onions and garlic to the sauce-pot of tomatoes.

Chop the fresh basil leaf and then also transfer to the tomato mixture. Stir in the remaining seasonings which include the dried oregano herb, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, honey and pickling salt.

Simmer the sauce. Allow the seasoned tomato sauce to simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes to allow flavours to blend. Remove the bay leaves when ready to can.

Fill the jars. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each single pint jar or 2 tablespoons to each quart jar. Using a large ladle, fill the jars with the tomato mixture to about 1/2-inch from the top; then give the contents a gentle stir to remove any bubbles or air-pockets and then refill if necessary again to 1/2-inch from the top. Wipe the rims and tighten the lids on until finger tight; not loose but not too tight.

Process the jars. Fill the canner or stockpot to about 2/3 full of luke-warm water. Transfer the filled jars to the canner into the rack using the jar lifter. Ensure the jars are covered by 1 to 2-inches of water, then bring the water to a boil. When water reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium to a gentle boil.

Process the jars in the water bath for 40 minutes for elevations up to 1000 Ft (for elevations 1,001 to 3,000 feet process for an additional 5 minutes; add 10 minutes for 3,001 to 6,000 feet; add 15 minutes for 6,001 feet to 8,000 feet). After the jars have finished processing, turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water bath for at least ten minutes before removing.

Transfer jars to counter to cool. Line some clean dish towels on a counter to transfer the jars when they are done processing in the water-bath. Carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter without tilting or shaking to the towel to be left undisturbed for 24 hours. Do not re-tighten the lids if they have become loose. As the jars cool you should hear a “popping sound” telling you that your jars are sealing.

Cool jars undisturbed. Allow the jars to cool upright completely undisturbed for 24 hours to guarantee success. Check the jars have sealed properly by pressing down on the middle of the lid, if it pops back, it is not sealed. The disc on top should be curved downward and not move when pressed if properly sealed. Label the jars including the date they were made. Store the sealed jars in a cool dark place like a pantry, cellar or cold-storage room. Canned tomato sauce keeps well for 1 year.

If the jars did not seal properly, just put the jars in the fridge and use within a week. Any extra left-over tomato sauce that does not fill a jar or if you are not canning, can be stored in a refrigerator, just use within a week.

Recipe shared by J. Marshall

Nutritional Information
~Tomatoes are excellent sources for the essential nutrient Vitamin C.

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