Tuesday, September 30, 2008

All about Tomatoes

At this time of year, I remember my mother would do lots of canning, it was "canning season" at our house for a good month or two! By the time the canning was done for the year though, we would have 3 or 4 shelving units full of jams, sauces, fruits, and veggies.

We had a decent size garden to feed the 10 of us. However, it was usually just enough to feed us and not to do the preserving for the winter months. So we would go to down the street to the "veggie farm stand" and get several bushels of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers or whatever veggie we were going to work on for that week.

Then we would go home and start what seemed like endless days of grinding, cutting and sieveing the fresh goodies to make spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, stewed tomatoes, salsa, sweet relish, bread and butter pickles or whatever fruit or veggie we had gotten to preserve for that week.

Despite all the work, I miss those days! I loved working with my mom in the kitchen! I loved the time we would spend together talking and enjoying life.

Here are two of our tomato recipes.


15-20 tomatoes (use more if needed)
3 cups onion, chopped
3 cups peppers, chopped (use different types of peppers to get the varying degrees of "hot")
½ cup vinegar
4 tsp. sugar
7-10 dashes garlic powder
1 carrot
3 oz. tomato paste

Put all together. Simmer until thick. Get jars, lids, and rings hot. Fill jars leaving ¼ inch head space. Boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Let cool on counter.

Italian Sauce

6 medium carrots, shredded
3 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup cooking oil
6 28-oz cans tomatoes
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. dried basil, crushed
2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves

In a 8-10 quart Dutch oven, cook carrots, onion, and garlic in hot cooking oil til onion is tender and not brown. Add undrained tomatoes, sugar, salt, basil, oregano, pepper and bay leaves. Boil gently, uncovered for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool Italian Sauce. Remove bay leaves and disgard. Place about 1/4 of the mixture at a time in blender container and blend til smooth. Freezes or cans well.

My notes: I have used a combination of stewed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, crushed tomatoes. I let this simmer all day on low in the crockpot. I use the blender due to my family not liking chunky spaghetti sauce. When I cook it all day I don't cook the carrots, onions, and garlic first! I let them get tender in the tomatoes. I add the browned ground meat after I have blended the sauce in the blender. Enjoy! This is my mom's spaghetti sauce recipe that I grew up with! It is a tried and true recipe! It is even good as pizza sauce!

What are your favorite recipes for tomatoes?

I would love to get back into the preserving/canning arena! I have been wondering to myself if the canning/preserving is really worth it to do or if getting the frozen & canned veggies at the store is the "cheaper" way to go.

Sound off: Do you preserve/can tomatoes and other veggies for use during the winter? If so, what do you preserve? What tips would you have for a beginner? Leave me comments!!


K-- said...

Thanks for the Recipes! Our garden didn't do so well this year, but I grew up with the same kind of canning season. It was lots of hard, and often hot work, but a great family time. Each of us (just me and my brother) had specific jobs to do. The busiest were "corn" days. We all shucked (800 ears!), then I cooked, Mom cut, and my brother bagged and took out the cobs. With the economy as it is, the interest in canning and freezing is sure to increase--even in folks who didn't grow up with it. I'd love to have more of your recipes for tomatoes! Thanks for the post!

Innocent Observer said...

We do a lot of preserving and you are right on; frozen stuff from the grocery is far less expensive. If you are doing it purely for financial reasons, don't.

For us we enjoy the process, make things that we cannot buy, get a huge thrill seeing our stock, and feel immensely satisfied opening a jar that we sealed.

We've done mostly jam this year...so far we have applesauce, beets, potatoes, Autumn Olive berry, blueberry jam, peach jam, blackberry jam, soon we will do the grape...mmm!