Adventures in Canning: MARINARA
This is the first year I’ve canned marinara. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to make it from scratch. I always just grabbed a packet of spice mix, tomato paste, and a jar or two of pre-made sauce. This year, we’ve had SO many tomatoes. Like the old woman that lived in the shoe…. We didn’t know what to do! So, we got creative and spunky, and my mom and I set out to figure out marinara.
The First Step: Scald the tomatoes…
We chose to use Travler tomatoes, but you can use whatever kind you like. The main thing is…. They need to be ripe, and you need to leave them in simmering water until the skin starts to crack open. Sometimes, tomatoes are stubborn, and no matter how long you leave them in the simmering water, they won’t break open! (Side Note: Wouldn’t it be nice if the Christ-Followers were that stubborn in their faith…. That no matter what – they don’t break open under heat and pressure.)
If you get one of these stubborn tomatoes, never fear. Just leave it in the water for a while, take it out, and puncture the skin with a spoon or knife or whatever you have.
NEXT STEP: Peel the tomatoes.
I don’t have a picture of this step because my hubby was off in Dumas tearing down a building our church has been given. I couldn’t take it myself because I had on gloves and tomato juice was…. Well, let’s just say it’s not good for the camera! Just take the cooled tomato and use your hands to peel off the skin. This part is MESSY! Not gonna lie to you about it, but the end result is worth it! I peel them in the sink with a trash can close by me. After the skin is removed, I hold the tomato by the top (where the core is located). Then I use my other hand to pull all the tomato goodness away from the core. This tomato wonderfulness goes into a bowl and the core goes in the trash.
You could skip the scalding and coring by hand process by peeling and coring them with a knife. You don’t want to do it that way… but you could.
That my friend is what luscious tomato-ness looks like!
Next for the add ins. We added LOTS of chopped onions. We had 2 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes, and we added 3 pounds of chopped onion. You can add as much as you like. We sometimes add more.
Then, I added 1 tube of Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs Paste (I divided it between my two pans of tomatoes), 1 tube of Gourmet Garden Basil Herbs Paste (again, divide between the two pans), and I added 2 tablespoons of garlic paste per pan. I also added ancho chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Now, in my previous batches of marinara, I used herbs from my front porch. I picked most of them, and I didn’t have enough to do a whole recipe, so I got the fresh herb paste from the produce section at the store.
You want to cook it on the stove at a simmer until it reduces by half. It takes hours for that to happen, so don’t get impatient. You will need to stir it from time to time or the tomatoes will start sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Aren’t they just beautiful!!!
Once it’s reduced, you have options! Oh, how I love options! You can leave it chunky, or you can take an immersion blender and blend it up. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender…
Now, it’s time to jar. I’m not a fan of the cold pack method unless I’m canning certain things. We don’t want these tomatoes to cook any more; I mean… We’ve been cooking them ALL DAY for goodness sake!!! So…. Here’s what I do:
- I make sure that the tomatoes are simmering almost to the point of a boil.
- I make sure my lids are in a pan of simmering water. (EVERYTHING MUST BE HOT!)
- I put the marinara in the jar, place the hot lid on the jar, and screw on the ring VERY TIGHT.
- THEN FOR THE TRICK….. ARE YOU READY? ….. I turn them upside down until they completely cool!
WHY? Well, you won’t hear very much of that popping noise that goes on when you can if you do that. Also, we want the heat to concentrate at the seal to make sure that they get completely sealed!
That’s it! I usually leave mine upside down overnight. I like to make sure the seal has plenty of time to get hot. I know that’s not quite the traditional method….. But have we ever known me to be very traditional? Exactly!
I hope you’ll try making your own marinara. Not that I”m trying to sell you on it or anything, but the store bought and powder packet versions always gave me and the hubby heartburn. Not the homemade stuff! Plus, this is free of all those chemicals and what not that companies put in the food… YUCK YUCK YUCK!!! And you’re supporting your local farmers. Now, that’s a good thing!
Here’s the Recipe:
2 – 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes (I used Traveler tomatoes)
3 lbs Chopped Onion
1 Tube Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs Paste
1 Tube Gourmet Garden Basil Herbs Paste
4 Tablespoons Garlic Paste
Ancho Chili Powder to taste
Salt To Taste
Pepper to Taste
Here’s the How To:
Peel and core all the tomatoes. I use the scald and peel by hand method, but whatever works.
combine all the ingredients and stir. Simmer on the stove until it reduces by about half.
Pack and jar while everything is simmering (lids included). Then flip upside down on the counter overnight.
Did you try this? Do you like it? Let me know. Oh, and if you have canning tips you’d like to share, comment below.