Whew!! Today has been a busy day! After church, I came home and got to work on those tomatoes that have been sitting on the counter. I also went to the garden and picked every red plum tomato I could find (there was a lot!). I found a recipe for tomato sauce in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. It was pretty easy (thank goodness). I washed all the tomatoes then cut off the stem end and any yucky parts, quartered them, tossed a few in a large pot set on medium high and brought them to a boil. Once they started to boil, I used a potato masher to squash them and stir them up. I kept adding more tomatoes, squashing and stirring, until all of them were in the pot. I actually had to use 2 pots because I didn't listen when it said to use a BIG pot. Lesson learned. Once they were all in the pots, I boiled them for about 10 minutes to get them all soft and squishy. Next, I started to use my little fine mesh strainer to strain out the skins and seeds but, after straining FOREVER, I finally got smart and used the mesh strainer that I clean all my veggies in. It worked beautifully and I had the seeds and skins and pulp in one container and my tomato juice in another in a jiffy. I set the pot of tomato juice on the stove again and brought it to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Once it had reduced by about 1/3 to 1/2 I was ready to bottle. I put 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. dried seasonings (I used garlic, basil, oregano and rosemary) into each quart jar and then ladled the tomato sauce into the jar, leaving 1/2 " headspace. I wiped around the rim with a clean cloth, put on my lids and rings and processed them in a water bath canner for 40 minutes. After all that work, I only got 3 quart jars! Next time I will make sure to use pint jars. At least it will SEEM like I have more!!!
The Prairie Homestead, Frugally Sustainable