October 13, 2013

It's Time To Defrost Those Tomatoes

Last jar of 2012 pizza sauce. 

I'm down to my last jar of pizza sauce; it's time to make more! Ordinarily, I would have started canning pizza sauce in July or August. But I did not have a very good tomato harvest this summer, likely due to too much rain and very little sun. We had enough for fresh eating but extras for preserving amounted to only a few every other day. I popped these into the freezer for a future sauce making and canning session.

Frozen Amish Paste tomatoes from this summer's pickings. 

A couple of year's ago I discovered that peeling frozen tomatoes is so much easier than the boiling water/ice dunk method. Now, however, I have my Roma juicer/squeezer, so I use it instead. It's easier still!

Tomato juice cooking down with homegrown thyme, oregano, & rosemary

Also easy, is cooking down the juice in a crock pot. It never scorches and uses less electricity than my electric stove. I add everything during the cooking down stage except salt. I add salt to the canning jars when I fill them. I figure if salt ever becomes scarce, I at least have my canned goods seasoned to taste. Also I add my lemon juice or citric acid as I fill the jars. On that note, I wanted to mention an interesting post over at Thoughts from Frank and Fern, "Why Acidify Tomatoes?"

Sadly, I only had one crock pot's worth of juice, making my sauce seem all the more precious. And since this is a several day process, the crock pot spends the night in my spare fridge in the pantry.

Except, horror of horrors......

Is this a good time to mention I can be a tad clumsy?

What can I say? Except that I discovered Aldi's now carries organic tomato sauce (marinara or tomato basil) for about $2 a jar. Looks like a stock-up trip is in order.

22 comments:

BA Norrgard said...

Ohhh no! That's a tragedy. : (

Stephanie Taylor (Lilly) said...

Aw, total bummer. Glad to hear about the Aldi's deal though.

A Dotsenko said...

Oh that is just do sad

Ngo Family Farm said...

Oh NOOOOOOOOO!!! Bummer. (Can't say I haven't done something similar myself once or twice, though!)
-Jaime

Dani said...

Grrrrrrr. I know what I would have said if that happened to me...

Mama Pea said...

Ack! Did you hear that sharp intake of breath and moan from me when your last picture came up? Did the crock pot survive?

Quinn said...

Ooooooh, Leigh! I know how you feel - from sad personal experience, I'm sorry to say! And it adds insult to injury that in addition to losing the contents, there is a mess to clean up as well :(
Hope your crock survived uncracked.
One of my favorite old pyrex pots slipped out of my hands as I was rinsing it, and it hit the edge of the sink and shattered. Not going to be easy to replace that particular one, as it is an unusual size, but I'll be looking at tag sales and thrift shops with fingers crossed.

Frank and Fern said...

Oh, Leigh,

I am sorry to hear that you can be clumsy like me! It's good you still have the option of stocking up at the store.

Take care,

Fern

Leigh said...

Thank you all for your commiserations! I reckon we've all had something like that happen. It just had to happen with my only little bit of sauce, LOL. Dan says things like this are character building. :)

Frank and Fern said...

Leigh,

Thank you for linking to my tomato post. I really enjoy learning from others and your site is full of good, reliable data. You have put a lot of work into sharing what you know and it is a great benefit to all of us.

Thank you again for helping with the post.

Fern

DFW said...

I gasped at that last photo! I could just feel your heart sink at the moment it happened. Hope the crock pot survived!

Leigh said...

Fern, thank you! I felt honored to be included in your post. I wholeheartedly agree with safety first, but don't think it's wrong to question and research where some of our conventions come from.

DFW, thanks! And yes, the crock pot survived, thankfully.

DebbieB said...

Oh no! All I could think of was YOUR safety - I hope it didn't hit you on the way down, and that you weren't scalded by hot tomato sauce! Crockpots can be replaced.

Renee Nefe said...

oh no! I do hope the crock pot survived.

I froze my tomatoes also. Then I sliced them still frozen in half and put them in pans in the oven...roasting them for about an hour. Then used my food mill to turn them into sauce and crock pot to condense.

I'm so pleased with my 3 jars, I don't know that I'll ever want to actually eat them. lol

Thistle Cove Farm said...

it's enough to make you cry but glad you found sauce on sale. very nice.

Ed said...

I've been canning tomatoes for personal consumption for probably 15 years now and I've never used a drop of lemon juice or other acidic juice. In fact, I just can the tomatoes with just themselves, no salt or any other ingredient other than tomato. I always thought that was for the same reasons you add acidic juice to fruit canning to preserve the color and since I don't care if my tomato sauce is bright red or brownish red, why use it. I also like to use all my spices at the time of cooking to impart maximum flavor and also to season it to the dish I'm cooking.

From reading the above link, it seems as if the reason 'why' it is used is to make it acidic enough that bacteria doesn't grow? Isn't that what the canning does by applying heat under pressure? I should also note that although I have canned heirloom tomatoes, the majority of the tomatoes I can are modern hybrids.

Sandy said...

Leigh,

Oh no!!!! I'm sorry to see you lost an entire bucket of sauce.

Thank you for the information regarding using the crock pot for sauce instead of the stove. I will do this next time, save a little money on the electric.

Great advice on peeling frozen tomatoes instead of using the old process.

Susan said...

I thought only I would do something like that - but misery likes company, right? So sorry for the loss of your precious sauce and I hope your crock pot survived! In all of the years that I have been canning tomatoes (let's just say 'many'), while I do add salt, I have never added lemon juice or citric acid. I will have to read the post you referenced.

Laura Jeanne said...

Oh no! I almost cried when I saw the last picture. I'm so sorry that happened to you! But these things do happen, to everybody, once in a while.

Katy said...

re: Dan's comment - lol! I'm officially a fan of Dan! :)

benita said...

Well, rats! And tomato sauce will be found in the oddest places for weeks to come, too.

All that work...

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Ouch. Burn. Scar. Guess that answers that for you. Who needs lemons when you ain't got tomatoes.