What a weekend we had canning tomato’s!
Every year since I have been married we as a family have canned our tomato sauce. We usually do it somewhere around the end of August or the first week in September. This year we did it a little later because everyone has been so busy with work and just life!
I was a little worried we may miss out because the tomato’s came in early this year!
But the manger at the fruit market where we buy our tomato’s told me many people can their tomato’s in late September, so you’re good he said, and there were plenty of tomato’s!
Gosh look at these beautiful tomato’s!
It’s a tradition my husband’s family has been doing for so many years. We would all get together at my mother and father-in-law’s home, and spend the whole weekend and sometimes it extended into two weekends making sauce. The family has really grown so now each does it at their own home with their own families. We miss getting together with everyone but it’s just too many people. Some of the family live’s in other states now too!
I’ve now shared this tradition with my side of the family. The last few years my sister and brother with their family’s come over and we spend the whole day making sauce! We got together early Sunday morning, I had some muffins, donuts, fruits and juices for a little morning snack, and of course there was coffee, tea and apple cider!
After our morning breakfast we began the process of making our sauce! Our tomato’s are washed three times in the bucket’s that we have set up with cool water.
We then begin the cutting of the tomato’s into quarters, and remove the top stem ever so slightly as not to waste any of the tomato’s! This process is serious business! My mother in law, Nona Rosa as my kids call her, make’s sure we do not waste any of the tomato’s!
Sunday there were 13 of us working on the sauce! No superstitions here, 13 is a lucky number for our family!
Cutting of the tomato’s is where it all starts and you need a lot of hands to do this many tomato’s!
Once we are done cutting the tomato’s they are placed in a large pot with some water, about a quarter of the way filled. The pot is ready to be placed on the burner for boiling. We do this outside with outdoor camping stoves. It’s a messy process!
The tomato’s will soften with the boiling and we continue to stir until they are soft. The tomato’s are then poured over a clean cheese cloth. Which has been placed over a basket and another large container for draining the fluid.
As you can see even some of the seeds are caught by the cheese cloth.
The tomato’s are scooped up with a small sauce pan. Then placed in one of our large containers and poured into the machine for grinding. We now will take the tomato’s and run them through the machine three times!
This machine also removes the seeds!
It’s already looking like sauce! But, it’s not ready yet!!!
We are now ready to cook to create our sauce! Salt is added to the sauce for taste and health reason’s as well!
Large pots are placed on the fire with two going at a time. It helps to cut down on the time it takes to make the sauce.The process will be repeated a few times this day!
We continue to stir so if your put on this duty you better not mess up and burn the sauce, or you will have some very upset people, speaking from experience!
While the sauce is cooking we had a picnic lunch outside. The weather was so beautiful! Just perfect for our harvest get together as we called it this year! No worries we took turn’s watching and stirring the sauce!
I made a charcuterie board of spiced sausages, cheese, olives, crackers and grapes! It was so delicious! Pasta with meatballs was part of our meal. As was salad and fresh Italian breads, rolls, and garlic oils! Oh we also had some corn on the cob from the farmers market! I know, it really didn’t go with our meal but the season is almost over. The last harvest is always so sweet, and our corn did not disappoint!
I made my harvest punch. Spiking it a little because we were all adults here! I also served sparkling waters, pop and little wine bottled drinks. What would a nice Italian meal be with out red & white!
My harvest punch is so delicious! Mixing some granny smith, red delicious apples, and oranges give it the right citrus sweet and tart flavors. I also added a white sparkling wine, frozen orange juice and apple cider! I just love this little pumpkin drink dispensers. My son bought it for me as a surprise present!
Back to work we went after our short lunch break!
The day before I pulled out our canning jars and put them in the dishwasher on a sanitation wash, the new lids and rings are washed in hot soapy water.
I cover all the lids with clean towels until we are ready to can…
Clean jars are all ready for our canning! I did cover them with a clean sheet that I only use for on our jars, for canning.
Our baskets and cheese cloths are also ready!
Once the sauce is at the stage of a good boil and the foam has created on top it’s ready to place in our jars! We now begin pouring the very hot sauce in the jars. We use a funnel that fits the size of the jar. The sauce is scooped up with a small pan and poured into the jar. If you like you can add a couple bay leaves. We then quickly cap, tighten, and place upside down on a flat surface for 48 to 72 hours.
We then have our sauce!!!!
I add my seasonings to my sauce when I’m preparing it for a meal. Some of the family members add bay leaves, garlic and seasonings during the canning process. It’s whatever you choose!
It’s such a fun day to spend with family, there’s so much talking, laughing and just spending time together. I think everyone is so proud of themselves after making the sauce.
We now have sauce for all year!
I will be adding my recipes to my site soon, just in case you are interested.
Thanks for stopping back by and have the best week!