1. Buy Roma Roma “Pomodoro” (tomatoes) are the fruit of choice for many recipes. These oblong tomatoes have more flesh than your regular, “garden variety” tomatoes.
2. Go Home(ah) Load up your panniers and pedal your tomatoes home. Stick to your 100 mile diet by not adding to greenhouse gases on the way home from the market. Burn off some calories in advance of all the pasta you’re going to eat. View slide
3. Sort’em Layout out the tomatoes on a tarp. Pick out the ripest ones and put the rest aside to sit in the sun for a day. Your sauce will taste best if made from the ripe ones. View slide
4. Wash’em Soak the tomatoes in water and some sort of vegetable soap to wash off any dirt and pesticides. Rinse well to avoid foamy spaghetti. An old kitchen sink works well for this, but a big colander will do.
5. Cut’em Up Cut the washed tomatoes into quarters. Be sure to cut out any stems and white flesh. (Thanks to Patrick who helped us with this step).
6. Cook’em Put a bit of olive oil in a big stock pot. Add in the cut tomatoes in small batches. Cook until they release their juice and you have a nice soupy “mash”.
7. Strain’em Remove the excess liquid by filtering the mash through a sheet or cheesecloth. Ben’s parents taught us to use a half-bushel basket with a sheet in side. Capture the liquid in a pot. It makes great soup stock.
8. Soup’s On Straining the mash removes almost half of the liquid. No point canning water! It makes great soup stock. Share with your neighbours!
10. Extrude It! An extruder separates the seeds and the skins from the thick, “pulpy” sauce that you want to can. We started with a manual, crank version, but eventually invested in an electric model.
10. Extrude it! Add the mash to the hopper at the top. Force it into the shaft with the plunger.The engine turns an auger that forces the mash through a cone sieve. The skins and seeds fall out the end. The sauce comes through the sides of the cone into the funnel and down into the pot.
11. Can it! Mix the sauce with some diced onion, a few basil leaves and a pinch of salt. Put it into clean, 1-litre mason jars, leaving some headspace at the top. Be sure to wipe the rim. Put new lids and screw tops on finger tight.
13. Pressure Can It! For years, we used the water processing method in which you boil the jars under water for 40 minutes. The air inside the jars escapes through the finger tightened lids, leaving behind a vacuum that bacteria abhor. Since modern tomatoes tend to have low acidity, you’re better off using a pressure canner to ensure that the jars are processed well.
14. Repeat! Yesterday, we processed 3 bushels of tomatoes into about 32 litres of thick tomato sauce. Since we’re sharing that batch with Patrick & Chantal, we’ll probably need to do another 2 bushels to see us through the winter.