Monday, September 3, 2012

Putting Away for Winter

I do not garden.

I'm happy to pull weeds, harvest fruits, and generally poke around above ground.  I will not, however, dig in the dirt.  And digging in the dirt is a necessary part of gardening.

It so happens that my father loves to plant things.  Specifically, tomatoes.  He does not, however, bother to tend his garden.  No weeding.  No cutting off the suckers.  Limited harvesting.  6 tomato plants.  Hundreds of tomatoes.  Most will never be eaten.  They'll rot on the vine if they aren't picked.  They'll rot in the house if they are, because no one can eat ten pounds of tomatoes a day.  Not even my tomato loving father.

Having seen this happen repeatedly throughout my adulthood, I decided to be pro-active this year.  I asked him to buy canning jars.

He complied, being rather delighted with the idea of eating homegrown tomatoes in the dead of winter.

And thus, I made spaghetti sauce.

It went something like this:

8 pounds of tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
1 1/2 Tbls minced garlic
2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbls dried oregano, roughly
1 Tbls dried sweet basil, roughly
1 tsp dried thyme, roughly
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup red wine

Blanch, peel, and roughly chop tomatoes.

Thinly slice onion.

In a 5 qt pot, heat olive oil over high heat..  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.

Add 1/2 of the tomatoes.  Place the remaining tomatoes in a blender and process on high until completely liquified.  Add to the pot.  Add herbs, sugar, and salt.

Heat to boiling and reduce heat to medium.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until reduced by approximately 2/3.  Or, until it has the consistency of pasta sauce.  Add the red wine and reduce until desired consistency has been reached again.

Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jar, wiping rims.  Lid and band, tightening bands to finger-tightness.

Process in a hot water bath for 45 minutes.  Remove from hot water and cool.

When cool, check the seal on each jar.  Immediately use or freeze any sauce that does not seal.  Store the rest on a pantry shelf for later enjoyment.

Yield:  Approximately 4 pints of sauce

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