They say if you can’t be a good example then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning. So… I’m sharing my experience with dun, dun dunnnnn…. canning homemade tomato sauce.

Oh the visions I had of jars and jars and jars of a thick, rich, complex, yummy homemade better than anything you could ever buy canned tomato sauce from the fruit of my efforts in my veggie garden. What I’ve ended up with after using 35 pounds of my fresh from the garden tomatoes was three and three quarter quart jars of possibly the longest, exhausting most expensive cooking process ever.

my 1st big pick of the season
blanching

peeling

 First offense, I used my primo tomatoes for this project which happened to be from my first of the season big bumper crop, which are always the tastiest you know. Okay, I did devour a few with salt and pepper before the long torturous adventure but we wont’ count them cause I had to share them with my family. Picked fresh the evening prior to said slave labor.

After hours of washing, blanching and peeling all these beauties I then had to core and get the seeds and juice out of every single tomato. A totally thankless job and time consuming beyond belief. You would think there would be some easier way to do this, maybe there is but I’m unaware of it so I did it all with a paring knife and my fingers. I honestly don’t know how anyone would do this more than once in their lifetime. Maybe that’s why Ragu is a huge and profitable company.

I started this project at four in the afternoon. First mistake. Second mistake – I did it by myself. Had I known, I would’ve had a friend over to help. Preferably one that hates tomato sauce so I wouldn’t have to share.

Slaving away for hours it is now about 11:00 pm and I’ve finally got every tomato peeled, seeded and juiced and in the biggest pot I own besides my big canner. I follow the directions from many websites that tell me to now reduce my tomatoes by one third for a thin sauce and by half for a thick sauce.  Easy peasy I’m thinking after all this neck straining feet killing work.

skinned

They didn’t say anything about the tomatoes burning to the bottom of the pot! Oh son of a @!*%! Well so now I’m trying to regulate my now fire roasted tomatoes (a.k.a. burnt) into a gentle simmer… three and a half hours later (yes, that’s what I said… 3 and a half) it has only reduced by like 1/8th. Ugh… I’m going cross-eyed with exhaustion and trying to pull out the little burnt flecks floating around. So I decide that sleep will win out and I take the whole thing and put it in the refrigerator and finish Tuesday. No telling what that will do to my end result of now a smoky-ish sauce. Jeesh… but I’m not giving up dammit.

I drag myself out of bed at 9:30 and pull the pot out of the fridge and get it back on the burner. It wasn’t even cold to the touch. It probably spoiled everything in my refrigerator, too. So back to simmering. I finally felt it was reduced enough by 1:30 in the afternoon (!). That is seven hours folks. Besides it probably not having any nutrients left in it at all, I probably will have an electric bill out of this world.

reduced – finally!

Excitedly, I have my jars ready and start ladling the sauce in and start to realize that there is no way this will make 7 quarts like the directions said it would. I manage to scrape out three and three quarter jars out of the pot and start canning. They are still in the canner as I write this and it is 3:30 pm.

filling up a whopping 3 3/4 jars
lonely tomato sauce

The number one thing I’ve learned from this expedition is that unless someone has some magical formula to reduce time by like 100 times, this is my first and last time I will ever make canned tomato sauce. I don’t care if it turns out to be the best dang tomato sauce I’ve ever tasted. Liquid gold, texas tea. Nope, that’s it. Never again. Chocked up to be yet another lesson learned. Did I mention that my husband hates spaghetti?

Homemade & Canned Tomato Sauce – my final cost = probably about $50 a jar

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