Well, I finally did it. I finally finished up with the last vestiges of the tomato garden. It took a couple of days, in two batches, to slow cook all of the tomato puree, whole tomatoes, fresh garlic, onions, herbs, spices and parmesan cheese ( a whopping four pounds of it) in the roaster oven. I took all of the cooked tomato stuff away in stock pots, and processed it in the blender, in small batches, right into the deep side of my kitchen sink.
It was the only way I could get all of that stuff into a consistent sauce. (Don’t worry, the sink got sterilized before I put the food into it.) Besides, I needed those stock pots back for canning.
I washed and readied twenty-four jars. It wasn’t enough. I had to ready another half a dozen jars. By one in the morning, I had successfully canned seven and a half gallons of sauce. And I only lost one quart! (Note to Self: Make sure you have the towel ready before you take the boiling hot sauce out of the water!) I set down a jar, turned to quickly grab a towel to put under it, and listened to that jar explode before I had even completed my turn. So, I lost a quart of sauce, but I learned a lesson. It evens out, I guess. Yes, it does, considering my hand was not on the jar when it went, and I had set it down onto a big bun pan. The pan caught almost all of the carnage, and I didn’t have to go to the burn unit. I lucked out!
All in all, my first-ever adventure in canning went well. The pepper sauce is all made up, and has been a hit. I have seven and a quarter gallons of tomato sauce, ready to go. Some goes out as gifts, and the rest goes into the basement…nice and clean and cool, and we’ll have enough pasta sauce to last until next year’s gardening adventures!
Say Hello to the Bucket Jungle Class of 2011!