We all know too well that tomatoes at the end of the summer season neither look good nor are as smooth and lovely as the mid-season tomatoes.
This is because they expand and contract due to the cold night time temperatures and the warmer day time temperatures.
But don’t be put off by their wrinkly skin – what’s inside is still very rich in nutrients and equally delicious.
The sauce is made to a traditional Italian recipe. Here is the step by step illustrated process for making and canning your own Italian marinara sauce. It’s easy to make, and it’s both healthy and delicious.
Homemade marinara sauce makes a world of difference when compared with the stuff you buy in the grocery stores! It’s pumped full of vitamins and nutrients, and not tainted by BPA, additives, or high fructose corn syrup. Don’t be put off by the hands-on time needed to make this either because it’s worth it!
Consider that if you made 14 from-scratch spaghetti dinners, it would take you far more time than the 6 hours that these two batches of sauce took. To put it in measures, approximately 1 pound (0.454 of a kilogram) of tomatoes makes 1 quart jar of sauce (1.14 liters in the UK and 0.94 of a liter in the US).
Homemade Italian Marinara Sauce Recipe:
1. First, you have to peel your tomatoes. If your tomatoes are organic, you don’t have to worry about any nasty pesticide residue inside them. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to take them from boiling water to an ice bath and then squeeze the guts out of them, as follows.
2. Put water on to boil in a large stock pot. You don’t need to wash or cut the tomatoes before blanching them. In batches, place the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 3 minutes. Take more time if needed.
3. After you scoop the tomatoes out of the boiling water, place them directly into an ice bath and leave them there for at least 3 minutes.
4. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to be easily handled, use your fingers to dig the stem end out of the tomato and discard it. Then, squeeze the tomato over your blender – the skin should slide right off and leave you with a blender full of pulp. You don’t need to get rid of the seeds. Process them in the blender for about 30 seconds, resulting in a nice slightly chunky puree.
5. Meanwhile, using either a food processor or your blender, puree 2 bell peppers (any color is OK), 2 large onions, and 1 or 2 heads of garlic.
6. Add the tomatoes and veggies to a large stockpot. Then add the following seasonings – the first amount is per pound of tomatoes, and the second amount is for a 7 quart batch of sauce.
Seasonings to taste:
- 1 tsp – sea salt – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
- 1 tbsp – sugar – 1/3 cup
- 1 tsp – thyme – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
- 1 tbsp – oregano – 1/3 cup
- 1 tbsp – basil – 1/3 cup
- 1 pinch – powdered clove (trust me!) – 1 tbsp
- black pepper to taste
- 1 pinch – paprika – 1 tbsp
- 2 tbsp – extra virgin oil – 2/3 cup
7. With the lid on, bring the sauce to a simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Then, remove the lid, drop the heat and simmer gently for 3 additional hours. The lid being off will allow the liquid to evaporate so that the sauce can cook down and thicken.
8. When it’s time to can the sauce, don’t worry if the consistency is still a little bit watery. Over its time on the shelf, it will thicken for certain. If at serving time it is still runnier than you prefer, simply stir in a small tin of organic tomato paste to thicken it.
9. Fill disinfected quart jars with sauce, allowing 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) of headspace. Wipe the lip of your jars with a cloth dipped in white vinegar and then place the lids on.
10. Process the sauce in your pressure canner for 25 minutes at 7 pounds of pressure, adjusting for altitude.
11. Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for at least 12 hours or until cooled. Test the seals before putting them away.
There you are! Now you have many quarts of delicious, authentic Italian marinara sauce to serve at many meals to come. You can use this to make spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan, a base of an Italian vegetable soup, or you can thicken it to use it as a regular pizza sauce.
I bet you agree that this is a great way to make use of a bounty of end-of-season softened tomatoes!