Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tips & Tricks that will save you HOURS canning tomato sauce

I have been canning for several years now. Tomato sauce is not something I perfected over night. A lot of trial and error has gone into learning how to make the perfect tomato sauce. :) I am constantly learning new methods and this weekend I learned a tip that was pretty amazing! I will take you step by step through my tomato sauce canning process and share the tips along the way as well as equipment that can be very useful during the process.

Here is a guide that I have used over the years to refer to when canning tomato sauce, it is a USDA approved recipe as well. Canning Tomato Sauce

There are a couple pieces of equipment that are a great investment if you plan to can sauce for years to come, not only tomato sauce but applesauce and other things as well! The one thing you can't do with this veggie strainer is berries, screen and parts can be destroyed over time from the seeds. Another option is the hand cranking Victorio-VKP250-Strainer-Sauce-Maker Victorio sells motors to add on as an optional feature VICTORIO-VKP250-M-Strainer-Electric-Accessory. There are also a variety of screens options with Victorio, so you can do berries if you own the correct screen. I am fortunate to have a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a meat grinder attachment & Veggie Strainer and it's more than paid for itself over the years. If you would like to purchase one for yourself here is a link KitchenAid-Attachment-Vegetable-Strainer-with/Meat Grinder or if you already own the Meat Grinder attachment KitchenAid-Vegetable-Strainer Parts with out/Meat Grinder With this attachment I am able to completely skip the removal of tomato skins. I chop my tomatoes into chunks and scoop out the seeds and water. I then run them through the veggie strainer, I then take the contents out of the waste bowl and run it through the veggie strainer one more time as there is still often a good amount of pulp left. After the second run through the strainer it is pretty much just skins that are left behind. We usually compost that. 

Freshly Sauced Tomatoes (in my 6 quart Crock Pot insert)
You can cook your sauce down in a pot or leave it in your crock pot on low over night like I did. The water will boil off in the pot over several hours and in the crock pot the water separates from the sauce. You can crack the lid of your crock pot open and that will help the water to escape some. 

This weekend upon browsing a Canning Group I am in on facebook some ladies were helping a lady who had waaaaay to much water in her jars of sauce and it completely separated, 1/2 to 3/4 of the jar was water and the sauce had floated to the top.  A couple of experienced canners gave a really neat tip! This tip will literally save hours of time when reducing your freshly sauced tomatoes into a nice tomato sauce consistency. So upon waking up this morning to check on my sauce, I thought I would try this method myself and I was amazed at the amount of water I successfully separated from my sauce!  

Take a paper towel (Brawny or Costco's Kirkland brand seem to work best) double or triple the thickness. I tripled the thickness of it, so it took a minute to soak the towel. Gently press a few times until  you see water filter through the paper towel.
The sauce is thick enough it will not penetrate through the paper towel but the water will. This was a genius idea and in a matter of 15-20 minutes I successfully separated a lot of water from my sauce!

This is my 4.5 Quart Kitchen Aid mixing bowl! Almost completely full of water! Isn't that amazing!? My family thought it was :) We took this juice and put it out in the compost pile as well.  And below is the finished product! Sauce that is reduced and ready to can. So it reduced by a little more than half after cooking & removing the water.

I hope these tips & tricks have been helpful! This paper towel trick I will continue to use as I am completely sold on it now. If anyone has any questions feel free to comment below and thanks for reading...
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