Friday, August 26, 2011

Preserving Floyd: Marinara and Ketchup

I previously talked about how most tomato recipes start with scalding or blanching, peeling, and coring.  When it comes to tomato sauces and condiments more of the actions starting out are the same. Which means you could prepare a huge batch of tomatoes up to the point where the flavorings diverge, divide the plain prepared tomatoes and make multiple sauces and condiments.  It's ambitious but can be done.

An example of this is marinara and chunky pasta sauces.  I start out my sauces by combining tomatoes, peppers (sweet and mildly hot), onion, garlic, basil, cutting celery, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in my large roasting pan.  I pop it into a 350F oven and roast until the vegetables are tender.  If you prefer this can be done in a pot on the stove.  Just give the tomatoes a good mash to start the juices.
Once the veg are tender I start blending them with the immersion blender.  You could use a food mill or processor for this.  Be careful if your goal is chunky sauce and marinara sauce and puree only a bit before removing the amount you want to can or freeze for a chunky sauce.  Blend thoroughly all of the remaining veg for marinara sauce.

Once the veg are blended smooth, pass the sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds and solids.  Press down on the solids and rub them around to extract as much juice as possible.

Return the smooth tomato sauce to a pot.  At this point the sauce is thin and could be canned as a general use "Italian" tomato sauce.  For marinara sauce continue cooking the sauce down until it is reduced 1/3 -1/2 of its original volume or is the thickness you prefer.

All of the above sauces have been made low acid by the addition of low acid vegetables to the tomatoes and must be pressure canned or frozen.

To freeze: Ladle the sauces into freezer containers of a size to suit your personal use.  I find quarts to be appropriate for pasta sauces and pints for general use tomato sauces.  Leave an inch of space for expansion as the sauces freeze.  Be sure to label and date the containers.

To can:  Bring your sauces to a boil and then reduce to a fast simmer to keep hot while jarring.  To each pint jar add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice.  To each quart jar add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice.  This ups the acidity of the sauce and is an added safety measure.  It will not affect the flavor of your sauce in any noticeable way except to perhaps brighten it a little.  Fill jars leaving a generous 1" of head space.  Wipe rims, and adjust lids.  Process jars in a pressure canner at 10 lbs of pressure (adjusted for your altitude), pints for 30 minutes and quarts for 35 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow the pressure to completely zero out naturally.  Remove jars, allow to sit for 24 hours then wash, label, date and store.

8 quarts of quartered tomatoes
1 small bunch of parsley
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sugar
3 stalks celery and leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons salt

Combine all of the above in a large pot.  Mash the tomatoes a little to start the juice and then simmer until the veg are tender.  Process with a food mill, processor or immersion blender and then sieve to remove solids.  Press on the solids to extract as much juice as possible.

Again, this will leave you with a tomato sauce that is appropriate at this stage to pressure can or freeze according to the above directions.  You can double or triple the recipe so far to accommodate sauce and ketchup.  Just keep track of how many times you've increased the recipe and how much is left once you remove what you want for plain sauce.

To continue making ketchup add the following ingredients.  These amounts are based on the amount of sauce made by the original 8 qts. cut tomatoes recipe.

Return the sieved sauce to the pot and add the following spices tied in a cheesecloth bag or infuser: 1 tablespoon each of celery seed, mustard seed, peppercorns, and allspice berries.  1 teaspoon of whole cloves.  Add 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar and 2 cups of vinegar directly to the sauce.  Bring to a boil and then to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for several hours until the volume is about 1/2 or a little less than the original amount or thickened to your taste.

Because of the added vinegar in the recipe it can be water bath processed.  Fill pint jars leaving 1/4" head space and process for 10 minutes (adjusted for your altitude).

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