Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Canning Those Tomatoes/Sauces and Better Sauce Ideas

While waiting for the bumper crops to start, those tomatoes start to come in. I love to eat the wonderful fruits as they come in the house, having that kind of reward is so wonderful. I have, through the years come up with many uses as has Danielle. Coming from England she brings with her a different pallet as well as fresh eating ideas.

Along with those big round bundle of joys comes the start of the Paste Tomato harvest, Roma's. I plant Heirloom Roma's which don't grow as big as the ones at the store, but are packed with 2x more flavor and meaty goodness. As the war against GMO's continues, I couldn't tell you the differences of nutritional values between the two because I plant Heirloom seeds.

A few years ago I bought a few Roma's at my local GMO peddler store. I cut mine open and compared them side by side. Mine didn't have such an even color, nor was its shape perfect. Mine was smaller and didn't weigh as much and wasn't as plump. When I cut them open I could see right away mine was more compacted and wasn't as juicy. But the color inside was as rich as the outside color, the GMO fruit was whiter and had more runny juice inside. It had a much better shape and even blotted color.

When thinking about a sauce tomato, consider water content and pulp content as these are important qualities when making good sauces. Starting out with a good quality Heirloom Roma is the first step in making a good sauce.

Once the Roma's start to come in, just before the bumper crop, for a few weeks you will start to harvest a few pounds a week. The rate at which they start to come in increases every couple of days. This period last a couple weeks in my zone, and so I have to prepare and process those early Roma's.

Often I will process the first ten/fifteen pounds and freeze the pulpy juice and when the bumper crops hit, and I am in full processing swing, I will thaw that stuff out and mix it with my fresh tomato sauce. However, in both cases I allow my homemade puree to sit in a stainless steel bowl, covered in the fridge, overnight.

If your making your own stuff, homesteading or just being frugal, time and money is the two things we want to reduce. This can also help make us a better product. By letting the homemade puree sit overnight, the water content of the juice rises to the top, allowing us to skim it off so that it isn't stirred back into our sauce, reducing energy and cooking time to make a quality, thick sauce.

Even after canning, compare my approach to your traditional sauce by setting the two jars side by side on a shelf for a few days. You will see how much less water content my method has. Also your sauce will be thicker, richer and you will use 30% less energy making the same amount of product.

Although I adjust the Spaghetti recipe a little, I use the one found in Ball's Blue Book.


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