Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tomato Stuff

The past few weeks have been crazy busy getting used to a school schedule. Even so, my husband and I have found some time to get some more canning done. We have to get it done so all the hard work in the garden over the summer (thanks mom! she came and helped out for several weeks) would not be wasted. We have canned so many things that I've lost count. We have more than enough pickles to last us a couple of years. Our tomatoes have finally started to turn so we've been able to stock up on our fresh canned tomato sauce which we use all the time. We also got all of our corn out of the garden before too many insects got to it. I think we could have opened our own farmers market!

Last batch of pickles with some pickled green beans in there too.

See our farmers market counter? Funny thing is that it looks like this again--a week later! 

So, for any type of tomato canning, you want to blanch the tomatoes to get the skin off because the skin is just not that fun to chew on when you are eating salsa, tomato sauce, or any other tomato thing. After a couple years of blanching the real way standing over a pot of boiling water with 3-4 tomatoes in the water for a minute or so then submerging it into a bowl of icy cold water and having to change both waters after about ten minutes. I found a way to do it in the oven. So much faster and easier.

Core tomatoes. If they are really big, cut them in half. put them in a pan--not touching I learned after the first time I tried it. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. The skins should come off pretty easily after the tomatoes have cooled enough to touch them.

After peeling the tomatoes, I squeezed out the extra watery juicy stuff because I have yet to make a thick enough tomato sauce. Then, put the squeezed and squashed tomato into a heavy pot. I filled mine up to the brim because it will cook down. You can see the sauce lines going down the sides of the pot. I reduced mine about half way. Every so often, I took a soup ladle and took out some more water. My goal was to try for thick sauce this time. It took about an hour to simmer it down.

Once as thick as I think I can possibly get it, I blended it to create a smooth sauce. 

 Processed and finished. I don't mind the seeds in there. If you don't like the seeds you can always use a sieve to get few to no seeds. 

I had to post a picture of this. This poor pot has been through so much with me. There is never a time when I fail to burn the bottom. I am not a good example of staying close to my cooking items to keep them from burning the bottom. A little soap and water and back on the oven to get the burnt stuff up. It works, and year after year this pot and I go through the same love/hate relationship. 

Did I inspire you? If so, here are some recipes. Enjoy!

Tomato Sauce
Core tomatoes and put in a pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min. Peel and place in pot. Smash, cook, and stir frequently until desired thickness. Put 1 tablespoon lemon juice in jars. Fill to 1/4 inch headspace. Process for 30 minutes in boiling water bath.
NOTE: 24 pounds tomatoes = approximately 6 pints

Cream Style Corn
9 cups corn
1 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups water

Thickening sauce:
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups water
Mix together before adding to corn.

Husk corn. Cut the tips of the kernels off of the corn cob. Scrape the rest of the kernels off with the back of the knife or a spoon. Cook in a heavy pot. Add sugar, salt and water. Bring to boil. Add thickening sauce. Cook additional 10 min. Stir constantly. Remove from heat, cool, transfer to freezer safe containers (I use freezer bags), freeze. 

Yes, I did burn the pan with cream corn too. I told you this pan and I... :)

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