Last weekend, Sandi went to the Garden Park to shop for produce. She asked me if we should do any canning. So, I told her that it was her decision and she could get whatever she thought best. To my surprise, she walks in with 15 pounds of tomatoes. “We’re making sauce!” she says. “Great!” I say. I was quickly to discover why more people don’t make their own tomato sauce.
Our epic sauce journey began on Sunday morning. We settled on a classic recipe from our trusty Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (recipe below) and we got down to work. Now, normally, Sandi and I do these sorts of things as a team. It had been our first weekend home together in more than a month, so there were all sorts of chores to do around the house and Mikey to play with. So, I ended up doing most of the work on this, while Sandi worked on other things. Let me tell you, “always swim with a partner” kind of applies here. There is enough work here for two people.
The bulk of the work involved the peeling and seeding. 15 pounds of tomatoes is a lot, and each one had to be blanched, peeled, seeded, and strained. Three hours later (yes, three) I finally had all the tomatoes pureed and ready for the sauce. I had to take a break at this point, because I was already exhausted. How did our grandmothers do it? Break over, and next came chopping and measuring the veggies, followed by some time on the stove to reduce the sauce to 2/3 of what where it started. Seven hours later, I finally had the sauce in the cans and cooling. Whew!
In the end, all I ended up with was five lousy jars of sauce.
So, I now know why most folks suggest using roma-style tomatoes for sauce. They are easier to seed, and that could have saved me a ton of time and back-ache. A working food-mill would have done the trip also, but we couldn’t find the fine plate for it, so it sat on the counter mocking me every time I passed it.
In case you are up for similar torture, here is the recipe:
Was it worth it? The jury is still out. But, sometimes you have to suffer for your supper and to live up to your ideals.