Last summer, the late blight destroyed the vast majority of east coast tomato crops but this year, there are fat, flavorful tomatoes hanging from vines everywhere ya look. In fact, this one was hanging off the vine in a pot in our little container garden just a few days ago. It's an Ulster Germaid grown from seeds I bought from our very own Hudson Valley Seed Library this spring.
I managed to put up 10 pints of this simple, tasty tomato sauce just hours before Hurricane Irene descended on Ulster County with a vengeance. The resulting devastation and power outage (we were without power for four days and we were among the lucky ones in this area!) did delay my posting this for over a week. But, as they say, better late than never...
I used a mix of heirloom tomatoes from our CSA, Hearty Roots Community Farm, and plum tomatoes from Hardeman's farmstand just down the road from them in Red Hook.
I kept the additions simple - sautéed onions and garlic, fresh basil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a little red wine.
Although there's considerable prep time involved, the process is quite simple -- just blanch, peel, chop, sautée, simmer, sterilize, and can!
It takes a little while but there's something very satisfying about pulling the skins off those delicious red 'maters.
After chatting with my cousin, Nina, our family's culinary oracle, I decided to be daring (or terribly foolish, TBD, depending on whether I end up poisoning my whole family with botulism...) and ignore the guidelines about adding lemon juice or citric acid to the jars prior to canning. I tried to minimize the risks by keeping my non-tomato additions minimal to ensure that the sauce will be of a higher acidity, having the sauce at a boil when it came time to ladle it into the jars, thoroughly sterilizing the jars, and processing the hell out of them once full and capped. However, none of this will actually prevent botulism so my directions below call for lemon juice as I do not want to be responsible for causing any deaths among my readers...
I am a relative canning novice but I have canned tomato sauce in this manner in the past without killing anyone so I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope for the best. But YOU should add the lemon juice or citric acid to the jars or use a pressure canner since that will allow you to get the sauce hot enough to actually kill any botulin.
Remember that important adage (adored by parents the world over): "Do as I say, not as I do." Here's the recipe.