Friday, July 5, 2013

Canned Tomato Sauce

Last week Chef Ema gave us a demo on how to make Tomato Passata, which is a traditional Italian crushed tomato sauce. This week we got to make what we learned. The entire class of 24 worked together and in the end we had made over 150 jars of the tomato sauce.

Jars prepped for canning
The method of canning is pretty easy, but there are lots of precautions that must be taken to make sure everything is preserved correctly and will still taste good when you open the jar months and even years later. All the jars must be washed and sterilized before filling them and then once they are filled they need to be processed in boiling water for about 30 minutes (the time varies depending on the size of the jars being used).

For this sauce we used San Marzano tomatoes and fresh basil. This is a modified version of the recipe we used in class.

  1. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Place the jars in a large pot lined with a jar rack or clean towels. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Sterilize the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Heat the lids in a small saucepan of freshly boiled water (do not boil).
  2. Clean the tomatoes and sort out any that are rotten or damaged (the damaged ones can be salvaged by cutting off the bruises).
  3. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and scoop them out when the skin begins to crack. Poke with a skewer or a fork and strain to release any excess juices. Run the tomatoes through a tomato mill (hand crank or electric) or a food mill. 
  4. Place a few basil leaves in the bottom of each jar and a 1/4 tsp of citric acid*.
  5.  Fill the jars with sauce leaving 1cm or 1/2" in headspace. Remove air bubbles with a non-metallic utensil and wipe the rims with a clean damp papertowel. Centre the hot lids on the clean rims and screw the bands on slightly.
  6. Place the filled jars back into your large pot and cover with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place the lid on the pot and bring to a full boil. Process the jars for 35 minutes from the point of boiling.
  7. When the time is up, turn off the heat and remove the lid from the pot. Let the jars rest for an additional 5 minutes. Place the jars on a cooling rack or on a counter lined with a towel. Leave then undisturbed for 24 hours. If the lids seam loose, that is ok, do NOT tighten them.
  8. Check the jars to make sure they have sealed properly. The lids should be curved down. Note: if the jars fail to seal, refrigerateand use within 2 days.
  9. Store the jars in a cool, dark place and use within one year. Labeling is recommended.
*Depending on the PH level of the tomatoes, tested with a PH thermometer, the citric acid might not be necessary

Jars filled with Tomato Passata

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