Monday, August 23, 2010

Canning 101: Tomato Puree

What is a gal to do with all the tomatoes in her garden? If you're like me, you just eat them because you hardly get enough to eat fresh thanks to your short, cool growing season. But if you're like most of the other people in the USA, you can them!
Come on, most people can't eat 300lbs of tomatoes fresh anyway. I get mine from a farmer that drives over from the heat area (just about 30 minutes away) and attends our farmers market.

Tomato puree is quick (I mean quick!) and easy and can be used for so many things.
Take your fresh, washed tomatoes, put them in your blender and blend to a nice smooth puree. Yep, we're throwing the tomatoes in whole here- less the stem of course. No blanching, no peeling, nuthin'.
Once you've pureed your tomatoes you're going to want to pour them all into your stock pot and heat to a simmer. Here's the point where you decide how thick or thin you want your puree. Bringing it to a simmer for a few minutes will keep it thin, heating it for a longer period (depending on how juicy your tomatoes were) will reduce it to a thicker puree.
Pour your puree into warm jars, place your lid and band and water bath for 45 minutes. It's that simple!
You can use your puree as a base for tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or anything else. We eat a lot of "red soup," as my kids call it, in the winter so this is a quick yummy way to make it for them.
If you're looking for a few more things to do with tomatoes, here are a couple recipes:

BBQ Sauce
8c pureed seeded peeled plum tomatoes
1c pureed seeded green bell peppers
1 c pureed onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tb mustard seeds, crushed
1/2 Tb celery salt
1 dried chili pepper, seeded and crushed
3/4 c molasses
3/4 c malt vinegar
1/3 c Worcestershire sauce
2 Tb chili powder
2 tsp pepper
To a large stock pot, add half of the tomato puree. Bring to a roaring boil. While maintaining the boil, add remaining puree. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until reduced by half, about 1 hr. Add green pepper, onions, garlic, mustard and celery seeds and chili peppers. Return to a boil and cook apx 10 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and heat back to medium boil. Stir frequently and cook until desired consistency. For general BBQ sauce consistency, about 45 minutes.
Ladle into hot pint jars leaving 1/2" head space. Place lid and band on jar. Process in hot water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
5lbs yellow tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 1" piece peeled ginger root
1 Tb whole allspice
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2 c sugar
1 c honey
In stock pot crush tomatoes with potato masher. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently until tomatoes are soft, 20-30 minutes.
Press tomatoes though a food mill or sieve. Discard skin and seeds. Measure 8c of tomato pulp.
Meanwhile, tie ginger root, allspice and cinnamon sticks into cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.
In another pot combine tomato puree, sugar, honey and spice bag. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Cook until mixture thickens and mounds on a spoon. Discard spice bag.
Ladle butter into 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Place lid and band on jars. Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.


Jennifer said...

Do you need to add lemon juice at all to help with the acidity?
This looks so easy and definitely a frugal 'savings' during winter months.
We use tons of tomato sauce when making spaghetti, enchilada sauce, and soup...

Erin said...

Do you happen to have a recipe for canning tomato soup? Do you really leave the seeds in it? Thanks for posting, I look forward to all your posts!

Mountain Home Quilts said...

Ya know, I did mine without but since tomatoes pH level is right at the border line for HWB canning it wouldn't hurt to add some lemon juice or citric acid to make sure it's acidic enough! Thanks for asking about that! :)
Yes, I leave the seeds in. If you're using tomatoes like Romas which are much more meaty then there aren't as many seeds anyway. My plan was just to use the tomato base in the jar and then add whatever I had on hand at home when I made garlic and herbs, etc.

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

One of my other blogger friends was talking about the over-abundance of tomatoes :) :) :) I"m glad they seem to growing plentiful this season :) :) I do like puree!!!! This looks easy and the BBQ sauce...well, that's just yummy :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Luisa said...

while boiling add a spoon of sugar and a smal spoon of sault- keep off the acidity of tomatoes-
greetings from an italian quilter
Luisa from Genoa- North-Italy

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. I was having nightmares about tomatoes I have so many, lol!! I did make a couple modifications because I'm weird about canning. I added 1/2 tsp citric acid and a tsp. sea salt (because we like it) to each quart jar.

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