Monday, September 16, 2013

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes

It has been a marvelous year for tomatoes around here, even though they got off to a late start due to a chilly spring.  I have canned tomatoes and juice, and my daughter has hauled bushels of tomatoes to work to pass out amongst her co-workers.  The supply is slowing down and the tomatoes are getting smaller.  Blight has almost killed the heirloom varieties, while the blight-resistant plants look as though they will give us tomatoes until frost, and even after, if I pick some of the green ones and bring them inside.  
I'm sick of messing with tomatoes now.  I don't need to can any more.  A while back I tried my hand at sauce.  Thanks to advice from a friend who had already been down that road, I knew I should put the juice in my heaviest pan to reduce it to sauce; a light-weight pan, she told me, would cause the juice/sauce to burn and stick to the bottom. 

My mother gave me her two best stainless steel pans many years ago.  She bought them at one of those parties where a guy cooks a meal for several people with very few groceries, using little or no oil or shortening.  The pans were terribly expensive; I was surprised Mother bought them, as frugal as she was.  Anyhow, she used them for years and passed them along to me.  The pan you see here is the larger one, which holds a little over a gallon.  Last time I made tomato sauce it cooked for six hours or so on medium, and never offered to stick.  
Now, my Ball Blue Book said to reduce the juice 50% and it would be sauce.  Perhaps they assumed I would be using Roma tomatoes, which don't produce as much juice as regular ones, because when it was reduced by half, it was about the thickness of commercially canned tomato juice.  

I'd say I reduced mine down to about 20% of what I started with before it seemed thick enough.  

I canned the sauce in half-pint jars and came up with six jars.  You can buy tomato sauce for fifty cents a can.  I cooked all day long, made a big mess, and had three bucks' worth of product at the end. Not worth it, I decided.  I probably used three bucks' worth of propane!

So guess what I'm doing today?  Making more sauce.  I had all these ripe tomatoes sitting around the kitchen in buckets and I just hated to think about tossing them out.  I guess there's the pride of making it myself to be considered.     


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Your sauce looks might good. Having it on hand will help to make some great meals later on. It would seem a waste not to use those tomatoes and like you say you'll have a good feeling when it's done. It is great to have a good feeling of accomplishment.


I haven't canned tomatoes or sauce in years. Yours looks good. A lot of work, I know.

Margaret said...

Homegrown tomatoes are so delicious(and different from store bought) that I hate to waste them. I got lots this year too--not as many as you but enough to keep me, my parents and several friends happy.

Carlene Noggle said...

Donna, when I use to have tomato plants and had many left over, I would boil them just a minute or so to take the skins off and then I would freeze them in pint or quart bags for soups , chili, etc. I have also picked green tomatoes, washed them , sliced them and laid them on a cookie sheet in my refrigerator freezer to freeze them then put them in a freezer bag and placed them in my deep freeze. I love fried green tomatoes and I think they taste the same frozen! all you have have to do is take them out of the freezer and flour/cornmeal them and then fry them. love ya!