Now lets talk about tomatoes!
Last year, I planted 40…yes FORTY tomato plants. On purpose. Because I’m crazy.
I ended up having SO MANY tomatoes, that by the end of the summer, I had canned almost two years worth of tomato sauce, tomato juice and tomato soup. And, I still had tomatoes! I was begging people to please come pick my tomatoes and take them far, far away from my house.
While canning that many tomatoes was a wonderful thing…I still hadn’t fully recovered from it when it came time to plant tomatoes this year. Therefore, I only planted 20 tomato plants this spring. *cough*
The good thing is…I never have to buy any tomato juice, sauce or soup. Ever. And the home-canned stuff is SO GOOD!!!
Here’s the way I make tomato juice and tomato sauce…
First, you start with bunches and bunches of pretty tomatoes, like these. You can take the skins off and the seeds out if you want to…I pretty much just WASH them. I leave the skin on and and the seeds in…mostly because I’m just too lazy to do otherwise. My family doesn’t know the difference, and you can’t really even tell that the seeds and skin are still there. At all.
Next, I cut the tomatoes into fourths and put them into my blender.
The tomatoes are then blended up until they are liquid.
(Mmm, tomato smoothie anyone?)
After I blend up my tomatoes, they go into a big pot. Obviously this pot was not quite big enough! Filling your pot this full will just about guarantee that your pot will boil over and spill all over your stovetop creating a cooked on tomato mess. (Picture of the boiled over mess not available…because I scooped some out before it boiled over, thank you very much.)
Next, I boil my tomatoes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. After a while it begins to look like this. Once that bubbly froth is just about all gone from the top (about an hour and a half or so after beginning the boiling process), you have made tomato juice, and you’re able to go ahead with the hot water bath process of canning tomato juice.
But, if you want tomato sauce, continue to let it boil for another hour or so. You’ll know your tomato sauce is done “saucing” when most of the watery liquid has evaporated. If you continue to cook it at this point, you will have tomato paste…which is fine…if you want tomato paste.
Can your tomato sauce for 25-30 minutes following the hot water bath instructions here.
Then, you will have tomato juice for yummy veggie soups and such…and tomato sauce for sloppy joes, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce…and whatever else you use tomato sauce for. (If you want to, you can add your herbs and spices into the sauce while your making it so that you’ve got your spaghetti and pizza sauce already put together in your jars!)
I have a wonderful recipe for tomato soup that I’ll be sure to share soon!