canning tomatoes

Fall is Here

I don’t know about you guys, but apparently Fall is here in Oregon. It turned fast, too. One week it was in the high 80’s, clear skies, great weather, and the next day it was pouring buckets, there were windstorms and gray skies. I’m so not ready yet! But looking at the weather forecast, it didn’t seem like summer would be returning. I packed all my tank tops into the spare closet and pulled out my sweaters. Boo.

In other Fall news, I tried canning for the first time!

For a few years now I’ve said I was going to do SOMETHING with all the tomatoes we grew in our garden. Every Fall I do nothing. We eat as many tomatoes as we can and then the rest go bad or I give them away. Not this year. I was finally going to do something with them. At first I thought maybe I’d just freeze them. I looked it up online and figured out a plan. Then I saw this at the grocery store:

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It was on sale and also had a $2 off coupon so for $10 I got to try canning for the first time and not feel like I had to make a huge investment. I had a huge tub of roma tomatoes.

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First I cut the tomatoes in half and then laid them on a pan for roasting. I sprinkled the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and some Italian seasoning and roasted them for the full 2 hours. They looked gorgeous when they were done!

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Here is the recipe I used for making tomato sauce:

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I didn’t have a food mill, so I tried to get the seeds out the best I could but kind of failed. Oh well. It didn’t hurt the sauce in any way. The skins were super easy to get off. I pureed it in the food mixer a little but but left it kind of chunky. Then into the pot to cook. I added a ton of fresh herbs from my garden–oregano, rosemary, basil and some pineapple sage. I also added some dried Italian spices (thyme and marjoram).

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If I had to do it all over again, I would sautee the diced onion and garlic for a few minutes before adding it to the sauce. Lesson learned! It didn’t affect the taste of the sauce at all, but I think cooking down the onions would be better. Just for future reference.

Now onto the canning part…Thankfully my little packet came with an easy guidebook (with recipes too). I had already cleaned the jars and then just had to heat them up.

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It was awesome that I’d also inadvertently made nearly the perfect amount for the three jars! And it sealed! Woot!!! First experience canning was a success!! At least it looks that way. Who knows 5 months from now when I take the sauce out of the pantry…cross your fingers! If it IS a success, I will definitely do much much more next year.

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Well, wait a second…I’ll be getting married this time next year so probably not canning….but maybe earlier in the summer I can. Anyways, I was happy that I finally tried canning! I might have to practice doing more this winter…..

Are you a canner? Any tips?