Monday, October 14, 2013

Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce!

A little taste of summer:

I know... I know... It's fall- start doing fall things and stop doing summer things. But I can't seem to let summer go juuuust yet. Is it me? Or does it feel like fall is going by rather quickly? I mean, if I'm honest with myself, I shouldn't be canning fresh tomatoes... but if they're still growing, I'm still canning.

However, for our wedding we were given a dutch oven. If you've never used one of these babies, GO BUY ONE! Not to mention, they're the perfect chili pot (see, that's fall-ish).

So, I came across an abundance of freshly picked tomatoes, and had to make some spaghetti sauce.
Little side story: before I came to college, I wasn't aware spaghetti sauce came in a jar. My parents had always made it homemade... I didn't know the other stuff existed. It was a blessing and a curse: I've had great sauce all this time... but now I'm too snobby to accept it in a jar... Actually, I'm sure if you were to serve it to me, I probably wouldn't notice.

Back to the point. So I made this great spaghetti sauce and then I learned how to can it! It's a super, quick and easy way to can- trust me. The label on the mason jar made it look WAY more complicated than necessary. Let me tell you how!

- Tomatoes 
- 1 Onion
- Italian seasonings- parsley, oregano, basil 
- Salt 
- Pepper
- Olive oil
- Meat (optional) 

- Canning jars (yes, the real purpose for mason jars)
- Water to boil 
- Dishwasher
- Tongs
- Clean/damp rag 

Forewarning: I tend to go more by taste than by measurements. So nothing is exact. I can tell you, however that I used a WHOLE lot of garlic... and it is delicious.

To begin, you first need to dice your garlic, tomatoes and onions. I don't mind the skin in my sauce. If that isn't for you, just blanch your tomatoes prior to simmering.

It's optional to put meat in, I didn't- but if you do, go ahead and brown your meat in a separate pan.If you're not using meat, use a little more olive oil to get some more fat.

Next, brown onions. Once this is complete, toss everything into your biggest pot. (This is where my dutch oven comes in handy!)

Simmer your sauce with the lid off. This can take over an hour. Just be sure not to burn the bottom of your sauce!
While you're simmering your sauce, place the mason jars in the dishwasher. Boil a pot of water and place the flat lids within the pot.

Once the jars are on the drying cycle (and your sauce is complete), take one jar out at a time.

Fill up your mason jar with your sauce. Quickly and thouroughly clean the rim of the jar with your rag. It's necessary for it to be completely cleaned. Don't skimp on this step or it will not clean. Once you've cleaned the rim, simply withdraw the lid from the boiling water and screw it on!

Your lid needs to be this clean!

It's important for EVERYTHING to be hot. Jars. Sauce. Lids. Everything.

It will take about an hour for the jars to seal. You'll know they're sealed when the lid is popped inwards. And that's it! It's a super easy way to can, you don't need a pressure cooker or a whole lot of time! Fun, fast and easy.

But then you have to clean :(

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