Friday, September 05, 2008

Marinara Madness

I always, always, always plant loads of tomatoes. They are easy and fun to grow and obviously the payout is spectacular. This year our spring was so wet and cold that our tomato harvest is about 1 month late. I have lots of different varieties. Look at these orange ones called Sweet Tangerine.

I hate waste, and even though my specific recipe did not call for squash, I added two crooknecks; cut into bite sized pieces. I used a green bell pepper from my garden, a store bought onion, and a large handful of herbs that I have been growing on the deck. Basil, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, marjoram and oregano. Oh, and lots of garlic!
I cut an "X" at the bottom of each tomato to ease the peeling process. I dip the tomatoes in simmering water for about sixty seconds. Plunge them in ice water and slip off the skins. Then, I core the larger varieties. Roma's have small cores, I don't bother coring them. This was the yield from about 15 pounds of tomatoes. I just pureed them in a blender. Remind me to blog about my "rocking" blender sometime.
I have always wanted to make my own Marinara sauce. I got out my super huge soup pot that holds at least 5 gallons, sauteed the onions, bell pepper, squash, garlic in some olive oil. I always adjust the seasonings at every step. I did add the herbs once the saute was translucent, to bring out the oils of the herbs. Then I added the tomato puree and let it simmer, uncovered, until the mixture was thickened and reduced by half. Remember to check for salt and pepper. You will lose salt in the reduction process.A good dishwasher does all the jar sterilization work. Keep the jars warm, and ladle in the Marinara, leaving one inch of head space. Process in a pressure canner; 15 pounds of pressure if you live in altitude above 1,000 feet. I am at 5,000 feet so I processed for 25 minutes. Use 10 pounds pressure at sea level for 20 minutes.

Once the processing is done, the air will bubble up in the sauce for several hours and provide a very strong and safe vacuum seal.

I really like the color of my Marinara thanks to the awesome Sweet Tangerine Tomatoes. Here is my quart jar in the midst of my amazing herbs.

Does preserving your own food save money? No. But I absolutely love the feeling I have when I look in my pantry and see it there. It is like love in a jar. I love the entire process from soil tilling season to wiping clean and putting away the last jar in the pantry. Thank you Lord for our plentiful table.

1 comment:

Ritsumei said...

This looks yummy! I think that I need to plant more tomatoes next year so that I can do something similar. Only, are you sure that this is safe to can, rather than to freeze? I just took a canning class with the local county extension office and tomatoes can be sort of ticklish to get the acid just right, and especially where you're adding extras like squash... the freezer is probably safer. I do love your description of blanching though: I haven't tried that yet, and I'd like to do that so that I can put up some marinara too.