I am a total glutton for punishment. I recently spent a whole day canning spaghetti sauce. I had went to the farmers market in Houston with friends Saturday morning. I had it in the back of my mind I wanted to can some more homemade spaghetti sauce. I love this sauce, its versatile in about 20 minutes; I can have a hot home made tasting dinner. If you walk to the back of the farmers market at Canino’s in Houston, you can get bulk produce for cheap. Feeling a rush of bargaining prowess, I angled for 50 pounds of tomatoes for 20 dollars. That’s a good deal. These were very nice and ripe tomatoes. It was 50 pounds and had I not learned my lesson last summer when I picked a bushel of peaches and made a variety of things from them last summer, no, I had not learned my lesson.
I also purchased some yellow onions and some inexpensive spices in bulk at the spice store across from Canino’s. So for less than 25 dollars, I was totally armed with everything I needed to make spaghetti sauce. I did have to run out and buy some new lids. But that entire purchase was about 4 dollars. So, 29 bucks had me going to make lots of spaghetti sauce. There are these preliminary steps in canning. The things people don’t tell you about. You need to get all of your jars together, wash, and sanitize them. Get your lids and rings in hot water as well. For me locating everything takes awhile. Today it took much longer, as my hallway closet shelves came out of alignment and things went crashing down. This added another good hour to this canning project, but I was a determined woman at this point.
I lugged my tomatoes upstairs. Washed the tomatoes, and began to locate all of the pots I would need. The canner, obviously, the pot to immerse the tomatoes into to get their skins off, a pot to put the chopped tomatoes into, and then a pot to put the tomato skins into. This is a messy proposition. I used the recipe from the Presto canning site, it is the one I used last year, and it turned out well.
They make this sound easy, I have a smaller galley kitchen, so that means washing the tomatoes then putting them into the boxes that they came out of, scoring them, pulling out the ones out of hot water, dunking other tomatoes into boiling water, then going over to the sink, peeling tomatoes and then chopping them up, and starting this process over again. This honestly takes awhile. You do get a moment to rest when the sauce is boiling away. That also means lining up your jars, and getting them ready.
I made two batches, starting around 1 pm, and finishing around 8 pm. I got 29 quarts 19 pints (I was very tired when I originally wrote this) out of this project, putting my cost at about a dollar a quart if we don’t add my labor. My kitchen will still take some cleaning; sauce overboiled briefly, tomatoes splash when you peel them, and water drips when tomatoes are in transit.
Right now my arms are sore, my skin on my hands feels like it has been through a wonderful skin peel. I am sure I won’t do this at least for a little while. Or at least until I come up with another great deal at the farmers market.
This post is not intended to be a guide on canning; this is merely my experience of that particular day. I highly recommend going to other sites for information about canning. I do not develop any canning recipes, and I don’t recommend doing anything other than following a recipe from an official canning or USDA website for canning. I have used this recipe a couple of times now in making spaghetti sauce, it isn’t my recipe, and I have had good luck with this recipe multiple times now. Please seek answers regarding canning from other resources; I am not an expert on canning, other resources are more authoritative on your canning questions.
My day of canning spaghetti sauce
- 30 pounds tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped celery or green pepper
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 4 tablespoons minced parsley
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Procedure: Caution: Do not increase the proportion of onions, peppers, or mushrooms. Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Dip in cold water and slip off skins. Remove cores and quarter tomatoes.
- Boil 20 minutes, uncovered, in a large saucepan. Put through food mill or sieve. Sauté onions, garlic, celery or peppers, and mushrooms (if desired) in vegetable oil until tender. Combine sautéed vegetables, tomatoes, salt, oregano, parsley, black pepper, and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Simmer uncovered, until thick enough for serving. At this time the initial volume will have been reduced by nearly one-half. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids. Dial Gauge Canner—Process at 11 pounds pressure - Pints 20 minutes and Quarts 25 minutes. Weighted Gauge Canner—Process at 10 pounds pressure - Pints 20 minutes and Quarts 25 minutes.