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September 22, 2010 / ryan303

How To Can Food Like Grandma.

Steve’s family does a lot of things homemade.  Which is so much fun for me because I like to do a lot of things homemade.  One of the very first times we hung out he told me that he has to make his Grandfathers Spaghetti and Meatballs.  Notice how I capitalized that? It’s on purpose.  This, everyone, is the best meal you will ever have.  And unfortunately, it’s a family secret.  So unless you make BFF with Stevie over here, you’ll have to find you’re own recipe.

The tomato sauce base, however, isn’t a secret.  And it, too, is delicious.  This is just a base tomato sauce and the point of this post is a how-to can and less a recipe for sauce.  It’s a very basic sauce, but it is really good and can be used for any other tomato sauce you like or want to try.

First things first– the tomatoes.  The whole magic in a sauce is the raw ingredients.  We picked some tomatoes from Young’s Market in Denver.   These tomatoes, I’m guessing, were cheap.  But what do I know when it comes to buying bushels of tomatoes? I live in the city.  We bought one bushel of tomatoes for $30.

After washing them of course, we cut the tomatoes into quarters and then boiled them in their own juices.  They create a lot of juice. A lot. I mean, just look at how much juice they make.

Before:

And After:

This from cooking just about 15 minutes.  It’s amazing how much they produce!

So after cooking them we then had to peel and seed them.  And thank God Almighty for this grinder we had.  I mean, the alternative was to boil the tomato to soften the skin and then seed them by hand.

If you don’t have a grinder you’ll have to concassé the tomato. Concassé is fancy for peeling and seeding your tomato.  What you’ll do to concassé tomatoes is this: first cut a small X into the bottom of the tomato then drop them into boiling, salted water.  The water needs to be really really hot.  After 30 seconds to a minute pull them out and drop them into an ice bath.  This will shock them and stop the cooking process.  The X that you cut into the bottom will have lifted corners that you can peel away from the tomato.  And to seed,  just cut them into quarters and use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds careful, though, not to pull too much of the meat of the tomato away.  Then drop the seeded and peeled tomatoes into a blender until you have a sauce.

The grinder was such an easy way to make the sauce because it does almost everything for you.  We had the seeder and peeler attachment, of course.

This is what it looked liked:

Fancy, huh?  So this is where we start to jar the tomatoes.  We take that sauce (and it’s going to make so much sauce, more than a gallon for sure) and then boil it for a while, let’s say 10 minutes, to rid it of as much water as we can.

After water is boiled away take your sterile jars and add the flavors.  We used basil from Steve’s dad’s garden and hot banana peppers from his sister’s garden.

Look how pretty!

You can buy these jars at your grocery store and you can use them over and over again.  It’s the lids you’ll have to replace.  We did six jars at a time because that all the pot we boiled the jars would allow.

First we took all six jars and added to them a sprig of basil (maybe about 5-7 medium sized leaves) a teaspoon of salt, and half of the banana peppers sliced lengthwise.

Then we filled the jars with the sauce until there was only about an inch from the top of the jar.

Coming along, eh?

Finally we took the sterile lids and added then without using our hands.  This is important because if you have these sit on your shelf for a few months you don’t want any bacteria.  Especially after going through all this work.  Make sure the lids are on very tight and add them to a pot of boiling water and make sure they are completely submerged in the water.  When they cool, they are will be sucked out leaving it nicely sealed.   We dropped them in a turkey fryer because it was much larger than any pot we could fit on the stove.

Boil these for 15 minutes and then set aside so they cool.

You cannot touch the jars for 12 hours.  Some say 24.

Steve has used this sauce some two years after they were first made.  So they keep a long time and the flavors says the same.  Try not to keep then in sunlight and they don’t necessarily need to refrigerated either.

This is a great base sauce for any thing you’d like to do with it.  We have crazy flavoring methods (which Steve tells me I’m not allowed to share) but if you have some great idea’s I’d love to hear ‘em.  Have fun!

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