And so it begins. The season of tomatoes. The primary reason I moved to a community garden plot two seasons ago was to have the capacity to grow enough of my own tomatoes to can a year's worth of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Last year, I succeeded but I also tossed the skins, cores and scraps of my first few batches because I didn't know any better!
Since then, I have been enlightened by Erica over at Northwest Edible Life. It turns out, you can save all those scraps and turn them into sauce - and even if you bought your tomatoes, it's basically free since the sauce is from things you would have thrown out anyway!
I follow Erica's directions but do a couple things differently.
- I use a slow cooker
I cook my initial batch of scraps on high in my slow cooker, blend it and strain it into a different bowl. Then I rinse my slowcooker and put everything back in. I cook it on high without a lid until reduced to the thickness I like (about half).
- I use a pressure canner
I prefer pressure canning tomatoes in part because it's faster but also because I grow different colors of tomatoes and am unsure of their accidity levels. I just feel better about canning them in a pressure canner instead of a boiling water canner due to the acidity issue. If you want to try this, too, process pints 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.
- Tomato skins, seeds and scraps
- Immersion Blender
- Canning jars, lids, rings
- Bottled lemon juice or citric acid
- Standard caning tools (jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, funnel, etc)
- Slow cooker
- Pressure Canner or Water-Bath Canner
Find the directions online at Northwest Edible Life: Stop Throwing Away Free Tomato Sauce