Well, dear reader, it is fall. Our trees are beginning to turn. There are spots of reds and oranges dotting the hillside. Fall is back to school. And it is about all the hard work from summer becomes our bounty.

Yesterday I drove to Bainbridge NY to the “Frog Pond”. It is a grand vegetable stand. I needed to get tomatoes for canning. 

I bought 2 boxes of tomatoes which equaled a bushel. Actually we are getting to the end of our tomatoes. I was a little surprised as tomatoes can last through September. It was a good choice to do spaghetti sauce this weekend and  not in 2 weeks.

The clerk told me that this was not the best year for tomatoes. Last year we had a tomato blight. It was cool and wet last summer. Personally I had more tomatoes off my own vines this year and the organic farm has had tomatoes for the last several weeks. It is a better year than last year.

I could have just canned the tomatoes for use during the year. However, I use spaghetti sauce more frequently than I do tomatoes. So this year, I decided to can my own spaghetti sauce.

On those cold dark nights during the winter, when I get home from work late, I love grabbing my own sauce for a quick dinner. Yum.

How do you can spaghetti sauce. I do essentially the same as canning tomatoes.

First you have to skin the tomatoes. You can do that quickly by dipping the tomatoes in a pan of boiling water. Take them all out when the first one splits the skin. Cool and peel.

An old Italian neighbor once told me that the secret of good spaghetti sauce is simmering the tomatoes until they cook down and are very thick.

My 2 boxes of tomatoes overfilled two 8 quart pots. I just filled the pots with peeled and quartred tomatoes. Then I topped the pot off with water. As the tomatoes cooked down, I simply added the rest. This batch cooked for about 18 hours. I would periodically stir the pots so that the bottom wouldn’t burn.

Put in the cooked tomatoes, what you like in your sauce. I chopped 3 large onions, and a whole bulb of garlic. You might think that is too much but I ended up with 10 quarts of sauce. I also chopped a good hand full of fresh basil. I added sea salt, ground pepper, bay leaves (7), parsley, and dried oregano as I didn’t have fresh.

I do not add sugar to my sauce and that is why I want to can my sauce. Commercial sauces all have some form of sugar. The body doesn’t need added sugar.

The canning process is simple. I sterilized the jars in the dishwasher. I boiled the lids. I put the hot sauce in the jar, clean the rim, place a lid and ring and put them in sink full of hot water. I fired up the canner. When it was boiling I put in the filled jars, supmerge them and process them in a boiling water bath for 50 minutes.

I have an 8 quart canner. So I did 2 cycles, of 4 and then 5 jars. You might be thinking that I just said I got 10 quarts. Well, we had spaghetti for dinner. Why not?

You might think this was a terribly long process. Not really. It took me a couple of hours to peel the tomatoes. They cooked all night on low, without any bother. I did a deep cleaning of the house, did some shopping, finished my charting and more. I will be in bed by 10pm.  Which is a good thing, as I am on call at 4am.

Canning spaghetti sauce is fussier than canning tomatoes. A little sweat now, will save me a LOT of sweat and time this winter. My own sauce and keeping a tradition alive is priceless.

Blessings, Mary Pat

Mary Pat FitzGibbons RN MS writes on health and weight loss issues for Baby Boomer Women.

The cost is about $3.00 a jar as this was a small batch.