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The Enchanting Aroma of Tomato Sauce

August 21, 2011

Tomato Sauce on The Stove Brightens a Dreary Day

There is nothing like the scent of *Tomato Sauce* simmering on the stove.  We had a very rare day of overcast in the greater Bippus Area (GBA) yesterday, and we have been very short on days where it was overcast, and we could really use some more rain, but it was overcast and dreary, nevertheless.  But on the first floor of our house, the smell of tomatoes (after having been “Squeezo-Strainered”) simmering in giant pots on the stove, could drive a sane man crazy.

Crazy with hunger, and the desire to dip a finger, or a spoon, into the sweet red stuff, and have a little taste.  The tomatoes have started coming in pretty good, and making sauce is one way to preserve that rich goodness, for later on in the year.  Now you don’t have to grow your own ‘maters, you can always pick up  bushel at your local farmer’s market, and proceed.  But our garden has produced, and so we shall process, and store.  And give thanks to the Lord for the plenty.

So let me walk you through the process, with a due credit to Wifey the Photographer, and tomato processor extraordinaire, without whom none of this post would have been possible.  (Some of us still have to work on Saturdays).

The Bottom of the Bushel Basket of 'Maters

You get you some ‘maters.  Even the oogly ones can be trimmed up, and run through the squeezo-strainer, which separates the pulp from the skin and stems and seeds and umm, stuff.

Creating Tomato Sauce in the Squeezo-Strainer

You run them through the squeezo-strainer.  You can see the *rejects* from the strainer that fell on the board, containing skin, seeds and other stuff.  The good stuff goes in the bowl.  What you don’t see in the photo above is the 5 gallon bucket of ickees, which gets fed to the chickens and pavos.

Curious Critters Come to Investigate

Frequently, some of the curious neighbors drop in to see what is going on.  In this case the ducks and geese were curious.  And the handle went round and round, collecting the red juice.

Tomato Sauce on the Stovetop

The red juice is placed in a stock pot on the stove and simmered, very gently.  It is VERY EASY to burn this stuff, so one must be patient, and use the lowest setting on the burner.  (Ever wonder why they call it a burner?)  Hmm.  Anyway, this is where the temptation part comes in, because this simmering sauce smells up the whole first floor, and it is scrumpt-dilly-icisous.  And the sauce must be reduced v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, in order not to burn it.

Tomato Sauce- The Final Product

When the sauce has the desired thickness, it is time to can it.  Tomatoes being very acidic can be processed in a hot water bath canner (as opposed to a pressure canner).  The hot liquid is ladeled into hot quart jars, and processed  in the hot water bath canner for about 35 minutes.  Then the jars are lifted out and allowed to cool like the ones above.  Once they get down to room temperature (usually overnight) and pass the *tap test* which insures that the lids are properly sealed, they can be moved to a cool dark place for storage.

As the tomatoes continue to come in from the garden we will turn them into a variety of stored goods, including spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, canned tomatoes and salsa.  If your garden gives up to you in plenty, then you will want to learn some processing techniques.  And if your garden does not, then you will want to learn some processing techniques, and also visit the farmer’s market for your produce this year,  and put in a bigger plot of tomatoes next year.

Because the smell of these suckers cooking down in your kitchen is indescribable.  Luscious.  Delicious.  Wonderful.  YOU GOTTA TRY IT.  You can thank me later.

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