Friday, February 26, 2010

The tomato sauce odyssey

*this is a pic-heavy post!*

So! Some sauciness!!!

Herein lie the tomatoes. Was pleasantly surprised this time - this big 20 kilo boxes were $22 each, but they are Roma tomatoes! Last time the 'sauce' tomatoes I bought were big round ones with more juice than flesh. (love the 70's carpet, and 70's lino??? Keep an eye out - there's more!)
Next step - I put the tomatoes in a big bowl of water, wash them, then chop them and put the chopped up bits in another bowl. (Roll on moss green tiled splashback and another shade of moss green faded laminate....)

Here you can see half of the chopped tomatoes in my big pot. My stove is pretty annoying - there's not much room for big pots!
This is the post with chopped tomatoes (10kg), 6 big green apples also chopped, 2 litres of white vinegar, 5 cups of white sugar, assorted herbs and spices, and *just* enough room for the 2 kilos of onions that I chopped next. No, there are no pictures of me chopping onions. I was too busy crying and crying and crying. Next time I'm buying pre-chopped frozen onions and to hell with the expense.

This is my tomato puree device. It is awesome. However in my kitchen it is a bit of a PITA. The thing fastens onto a benchtop with a suction pad - but the only place I can really put it where there is space that's LOWER under the end where the sauce comes out is on my kitchen sink. And the draining board is NOT a flat surface that happily takes to a suction cup, so I kind-of have to hold it with one hand while turning the handle with the other....

Here is a dishrack full of washed jars. I will be sitting them in the sink with almost boiling water on them to get them hot again before I fill them. It's a tag team game in my kitchen - with only one sink it gets a bit tricky! You can see I'm using a mixture of FV jars and recycled jars with new lids.

The sauce all cooked down ready for processing through the machine.

A part of the processed sauce, ready for pouring into hot bottles.
Here you can see what's left over after the mix has gone through the machine. This lot is destined for my compost.

You can see here that my canner simply doesn't fit on my stove-top with anything else - so everything has to be done one at a time. When I sell enough craft to buy a new kitchen, I'm going to have a much bigger stove-top with bench space either side so the enormous pots can all fit at once *heaven*

The inside of the canner. I'll be using it as a waterbath only, so I won't use the lid.
The canner filled with jars, and water - I still need a little more in there though!

And the jars after processing. Three of the jars didn't fit in this round of processing - they will go in the fridge, and tomorrow when I do the next lot, I will pop those in too. Obviously, since they will be cold, I'll put them in the canner BEFORE the water starts to get hot, so they can be brought up to temperature first!

That's the first round of tomato sauce. So roll on tomorrow, for the pasta sauce version!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tomato Weekend

Well, this is it.
It's 9.05 in the morning, and I've just printed out my recipes (again!), written the shopping list, and I'm just about to get out my jars and lids and things.
Then it's straight up to the fruit n veg place, and today will be tomato central.

I'm thinking that I'll only do a few kilos today. I know it's not going to be enough to last me the year. But my 'tomato weekend' just got turned into what is practically a 'tomato day' thanks to a 15 yr old and his excursion (yes, it requires my personal supervision!) tomorrow afternoon/evening, and what looks like a free floor for my craft space (aka the garage) which requires picking up. A days' worth of loading pavers versus another 70 odd kilos of tomato preserving .... well, I can't look a gift horse in the mouth, now can I!!

So The plan is to get through a Quadruple batch of tomato sauce (ketchup I think it's called in the US - on that side note, if ketchup is tomato sauce, what is catsup???) and a Quadruple batch of pasta sauce today. That's about 40 kgs of tomatoes.

I like my tomato puree machine, because without it I'd have to skin and de-seed the tomatoes using a seive, which would add so much time to the process! As it is, I just wash em, roughly chop em, cook em down for about a half hour til they are all mushy, then run them through the machine - then put the resulting puree back into the pot with the rest of the pasta sauce ingredients if it's the pasta sauce I'm making. If I'm doing the tomato sauce I do it the other way round - cook the diced tommys up with everything else and run it through the machine at the very end.

I should get off here and get on with it. It's 9.12. Lots to do!

PS I will try to take photos during the process today. Try. You'll have to forgive the kitchen. Even though it's not dirty at all, it's so old that it looks dirty. Too hard to explain - you'll see in the pics!