I am a creature of excess; if one is good, six is better. Canning is no exception. I don’t believe I’ve ever canned a single batch of anything. Double or quadruple is more my speed. Spaghetti sauce is one where a quadruple batch barely lasts until the next season of tomatoes rolls around so it really does make sense. Why mess up the kitchen for just a few jars?
My sister and I undertake this colossal project together. We roll up to the St. Paul farmer’s market with wagons and strollers and get ourselves several bushels of tomatoes. You don’t even need to know which ones are best for sauce when you buy there, the nice folks will tell you.
After we haul the whole batch home, we get started. We stopped removing the skins last year and didn’t notice a difference in the sauce but did notice a huge difference in the amount of work. Just leave ‘em in there, trust me. The ginourmous stockpot comes out along with every bowl and spoon in the house. Seeds are everywhere. There’s hardly a surface without a red splatter on it. But, by the time we’re done we have several months worth of homemade spaghetti sauce for two families! Last year, after I ran out, I switched to a store-bought brand. I almost wept when I first ate it. Oh, how I missed that true, fresh tomato flavor, and, the dinnertime memory of two sisters making a big old mess in the kitchen, just like when we were young.
Here’s the recipe we use – feel free to tweak this as you wish. No two years are the same in our house.
Vickie’s Spaghetti Sauce
Makes 9 qts
½ bushel tomatoes (about 18 cups)
2 cups onion
1 bulb garlic
4 green peppers
2 c olive oil
¼ cup salt (or less)
1/8 cup black pepper
1 cup sugar
6 cups tomato paste
1 T basil
1 T oregano
3 bay leaves
Food process tomatoes with the seeds (and skins if you wish), with the onion, garlic and peppers. Mix all ingredients together and simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until it’s thick. Pressure cook in quart jars for 5 minutes at 10 pounds.
Check out the Pick Your Own site where you can learn everything you need to know about the actual canning process.
What is your favorite recipe for tomatoes this time of year?
Do you have another spaghetti sauce recipe you would like to share?