Ghost of Sauces past… Home Canned Pasta Sauce

Food memories, they are a strong force. I have read in psychology books that when a memory is coupled with taste or smell it lasting power is strengthened. That is why particular foods have effect on us. How your mother made bread, or dad’s burgers. I don’t have many distinct food memories that I can recall- save one. My father’s Tomato Sauce.

Do everything in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14:

My father never really talked, he was a cold man. He did enjoy cooking. I remember sitting in the kitchen one summer with the biggest stock pots we owned on our antique stove simmering away. My father, only speaking to an 8 year old me when I needed to mash or stir. All the while standing on an old library stool, barely tall enough to look inside the pot. The smell filled the entire Victorian home. The heat of summer and stove making both of us sweat. In the end- It tasted better then any of the store bought canned stuff my mother ever picked up from the market. After my parents divorced, I took over cooking in my home. I would spend hours trying to recreate that sauce…with no success. Many times I asked but a man of little words doesn’t keep recipes. It wasn’t until I was 30 years old and decided to teach myself to can that I found that flavour again. I figured out his secret by trial and error – simmering beef ribs in the pot the entire time until meat falls off bone. (For you non vegans – This is defiantly the way to go!) My father froze the sauce in large containers (meat must be pressure canned or frozen.)

Now trying a more plant based life I no longer use beef ribs. I still like to use the tomatoes I grow – just like my father- which is usually a combo of beefsteak and Roma. It may not have that beef rib flavour- the freshness of the garden is unmistakable and cannot be obtained by going to the shop and buying a jar. Even though this recipe has lots of low acid veg in it – it has been balanced and designed for safe water bath canning. That said- do not change proportions of veg or liquid. You will alter results and may be unsafe. Feel free to add spices. Lastly it does call for bottled lemon, the PH is consistent in bottled lemon juice and produces a consistent safe canning product unlike real lemons, who’s PH can vary greatly.

Italian Style Tomato sauce- A Bernardin Recipe

8 cups (2000 ml) tomato purée, about 5 lb (2.2 kg), 20 roma tomatoes,

2/3 cup (150 ml) finely chopped onion

2/3 cup (150 ml) finely chopped celery

1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped carrot

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp (60 ml) bottled lemon juice

2 tsp (10 ml) salt

1/2 tsp (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper

1/4 – 1/2 tsp (1-2 ml) red pepper flakes

Place 3 clean 500 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.

• Blanch, peel, core and chop tomatoes; place in colander. Let stand 15 minutes; discard liquid. Purée tomato pulp in a food processor or pass through a sieve or food mill. Measure 8 cups (2000 ml).

• Place onion, celery, carrot and garlic in a large stainless steel saucepan; add 1 cup (250 ml) tomato purée. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, boil gently, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining tomato purée 1 cup (250 ml) at a time while maintaining mixture at a boil, stirring frequently. Stir in lemon juice, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Boil hard, stirring frequently, until desired consistency is reached, about 15 minutes.

• Ladle sauce into a hot jar to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top rim (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot lid on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining sauce.

• When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of hot water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process – boil filled jars – 35 minutes.

• When processing time is complete, turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.

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