Thursday, September 12, 2013

Canned Plain Tomato Purée

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein 

This is the real colour. No word of a lie.

Have you ever had an excess of problems? They seem to come in waves, one after the other. Lately it seems like they’ve been coming in tsunami form for me...

I’m slightly more calm today than a couple days ago. Had a good meeting in the afternoon Wednesday and had new roof shingles put on yesterday. Terry’s Roofing, from Mill Village, down the road. They worked fast, were very reasonable and clean-up was perfect. Highly recommended.

How unlike the last time I had a roof done in Halifax when I had to take the guy to court. That cost an arm and a leg, plus a few bites of belly.

That was Central Roofing. Not a good experience at all and had to have the entire job replaced for my own peace of mind. He was also arrested for threatening me. But I did learn about Small Claims Court and Adult Diversion (a farce), so it wasn’t a total loss.

I’m ready for the next time anyone screws with me. I'm short, but mighty. And tenacious.

So things are a little brighter than they were this time 48 hours ago. Still lots of hurdles to overcome – new furnace goes in September 20 – but I’m resilient, like a tree learning to grow in constant gale. Bent but not bowed.

Another “issue” I’ve been having lately is with the tomatoes in the garden. Our Roma have decided to mount a sustained attack. I pick a half a peck (4 quarts, or thereabouts) daily, or so it seems. If they came pre-pickled it wouldn’t be so bad.

But alas, they do not. So I’m left to deal with the bounty we created in our garden. Today I'll pick our first heirloom tomatoes. They're yellow.

Luckily there’s tomato sauce. I’ve made two batches already. But one kind I haven’t made is good, old “plain” tomato sauce.

This is essentially just pure tomato, with salt added. It’s the basic you can use to create anything you want by adding to it: pizza, tomato soup, cabbage rolls...

It’s good to have on hand. I can’t believe that a full pot of tomatoes only made 1500 ml. But it is 1500ml I didn’t have before.

Do this. It’s handy to have.

Canned Plain Tomato Purée
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook: 3 hours  | Yield varies
3 500ml Mason jars
12 quarts Roma tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
lemon juice

Chop the tomatoes into chunks and place in a 12 quart Dutch oven pot. Add the water and salt. Mash lightly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, place the cover on ajar and let cook for 2 hours.

Purée with a stick blender and let cook again until the sauce is the thickness you desire – about 1 hour will do it. Stir occasionally so the sauce doesn’t stick.

Pass the sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds and then bring the sauce back to a simmer.

Place 1 tbsp of lemon juice in each 500 ml jar or 2 tbsp per 1 quart/1L. This makes the sauce more acidic so it won’t spoil.

Pour the hot sauce into each jar leaving about 1/4” to 1/2” head room. My yield was exactly 1500 ml but if you cook it more (or less) your quantity will change. 

Tighten lids with fingers. Process in a hot water bath for 35 minutes.

Let cool completely. Retighten lids and store.


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