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Monday, July 26, 2010

How to can spaghetti sauce (part 1)

OK, so it's been awhile since I've posted over here. I am so sorry for that, but I am ready to get back to it. We have a pretty huge garden again this year. And by we, of course, I mean Josh...and the girls because Lord knows they love their worms (I know this because they bring some to show me almost every day...in the house). So anyway, my part in the whole deal is to cook and/or can what we get from the garden. My most famously delicious recipe being my canned spaghetti sauce, so I thought it would be a good place to start (also, because I'll be doing it in the next couple days).

I want to prompt this recipe with the fact that I don't use recipes for things like this. It is all a matter of taste and you either know how to cook or you don't. It takes time to develop a feel for it. I will give generalizations and a basic list of ingredients and the instructions I use for canning tomato products, but you may not like what I like, so please feel free to adjust at will. Just taste as you go and you will eventually end up with something you like. My advice on the subject is to write down what you start with and then whenever you make changes, make note of it. So next year you will have a better place to start. Also remember that certain tomatoes make the sauce taste differently. The best tomatoes for sauce are roma. They are meatier and have the best flavor. Cherry tomatoes are (in my opinion) not to be used. First of all, they are way too sweet. I used some last year (we got the plants for free so we squeezed them in later in the season) and I can taste which batch of sauce has them and which doesn't. Also, they take forever to peel and you end up squirting juice EVERYWHERE.

I also, want to make note that it's best to start small and work your way up. I mean this in every way possible. If this is your first time, it might be better to make a smaller amount for dinner one night just to gauge what you like. And the second way I mean this, is that you can't take away but you can always add. I mean, this is a general rule in cooking anyway, but it's especially important when you are taking all day to make 7 quarts of sauce. If it gets ruined, it's really hard to correct (unless you have an endless supply of time and ingredients and you are using a gigantic pot).

As with anything canned, you need to check the instructions on your canner to make sure you are doing it correctly. The last thing you want is to go through all the trouble and end up having to pitch it because of botulism.

I hope you've found this helpful. I'll follow up tomorrow with the actual "recipe".