One of my most favorite things to do is cook. I started small with store-bought spaghetti with frozen meatballs and recently graduated to homemade spaghetti with meatballs. By homemade I mean homemade noodles, homemade meatballs, and, of course, homemade sauce.
I’ve actually never made my own sauce before. One of my dreams when we stop gallivanting all over the world is to have a home with a lovely garden where I can grow my own fruits and veggies. If you do the math, it’s really not economical to make your own sauce in the States. You’ll probably spend more on all the ingredients than you would on a jar of Prego or Ragu.
Here the opposite is true. I can spend 30 TJS on a tiny can of tomato “sauce” that’s really more like salsa, or spend 30 TJS on 25 kilos of tomatoes and all the other ingredients for sauce. It’s pretty much my canning dream come true. Then came the fun part. Actually making the sauce.
For anyone who’s not made tomato sauce before, let me tell you – it’s a damn process. Before the satisfaction of ladling everything into your canning jars you must first wash, blanch, peel, cut, de-seed, de-juice, dice, cook, and simmer the tomatoes. Then wait about 45-60 minutes for everything to soften and cook down enough to be called sauce instead of “runny water with some tomato bits in it.”
It was a labor of love though. And I didn’t just do sauce. My 25 kilos gave me not only six quarts of sauce, but also four pints of ketchup (which I CAN’T BELIEVE we didn’t remember to pack) and four pints of salsa. It was exhausting but well worth it. On top of that I also got six kilos of cucumbers for an assortment of pickles including some excellent honeyed bread and butter. After literally hours of prep for the tomatoes, the 15 minutes top-to-bottom for the pickles was like a dream.
If I have time and our kickass produce lady still has good tomatoes I may repeat the process so I can be sure we will make it through winter comfortably.
I have run into a new problem though. I don’t think I brought enough jars.