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Old September 21, 2014   #1
Dork Fish
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Default 8 Gallons of finished tomatoes, need help with spaghetti sauce...

Hi everyone,

I just got finished putting my tomatoes through the mill. I ended up with 7 gallons of Opalka and 1 gallon San Marzano. I would like to try making sauce for the first time. I am hoping to try brokenbar's recipe.

A few questions to start:

How much do I reduce the processed tomatoes? ie: by half?

How long does it usually take to process?

What is the best way to reduce them? ( I have one 5-6 quart crock pot, stock pots, etc.

Should I combine the tomatoes?

Thank you in advance!
Andrea

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Last edited by Dork Fish; September 21, 2014 at 03:07 PM.
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Old September 21, 2014   #2
ContainerTed
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I do a lot of tomato juice reduction. Mostly, I do a 35% to 50% reduction. I can the results and use it for everything from sauce to juice. I always use the recommended amount of canning salt (I teaspoon per quart) in each jar. But, then, I don't have a salt problem. Less salt can be okay, but if you reduce the salt, I'd use pressure canning methods and times.

In any case, reduction is a bit tedious unless you keep your focus on the results. I bring my 12 quart or 8 quart pot to a very slow boil. I don't get in any kind of hurry. When the pot shows a slow roll of the contents, then the temperature is right - usually down on or around the "simmer" setting. Now the key is to stir frequently and make sure nothing is sticking on the bottom.

Keeping the "slow roll" going is easy with the pot's lid off. I stir about every 5 to 10 minutes and it seems like the level just keeps going down. When I can see that the "thickness" of the juice is where I want it, I start the canning phase of the process.

I use anything and everything that's on the counter when I start the process. I always taste the contents during the reduction to make sure it is where I want it. I only add the salt (and for me, it's salt to taste) after I know the thickness is achieved. For those years where the contents have a bit of "green" taste, I might add a bit of sugar to taste.

I make only juice and can use it to make all the other things like sauce, salsa, and other goodies.

Hope this helps.
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Old September 21, 2014   #3
coronabarb
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The amount of salt would not have anything to do with the method water bath vs pressure canning. Salt is optional in any recipe. The only thing that is not optional is addition of citric acid/lemon juice for acidity. And most tested tomato recipes can be water bath canned - adding other veggies (onions, peppers, carrots) would change that.
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Old September 21, 2014   #4
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I totally agree with Barb. If you want to do the water bath canning process and add the other ingredients for such recipes as spaghetti or other sauces, you need to increase the acidity level.

To clarify my comments above, I only make juice and that gets a taste calibrated amount of salt which is well known as a preservative. If I were to add other ingredients such as garlic or other spices, I would have to consider the citric acid before feeling good about the water bath process. The pressure canning process would be my choice for any sauces I might choose to make.
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Old September 21, 2014   #5
Dork Fish
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Thanks guys! I will be pressure canning this because there will be meat in it. I have had the sauce on for about an hour and a half, at a slow roll. Not much of a reduction but about 1/2 inch. Lol unfortunately, I have to leave. So I am going to remove it from the heat and let it sit on the stove. Once I return, I will get it going again.

As far as salt, I will reduce it then add everything else and then salt to taste.

Just a little nervous, I have never used a pressure canner before. Errr
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Old September 21, 2014   #6
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For easy, safe directions and great recipes, try the National Food Preservation and Canning website. I always refer to this if I have any questions. I use it for most of my canning projects.
If you get a pressure canner, practice canning by doing batches of dry beans or homemade chicken both/beef broth.They are cheap and nice to have in the pantry for quickie meals. Then, you can branch out and use your precious produce.
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Old September 21, 2014   #7
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I've done mine in a crockpot overnight. I actually have three large crockpots for it. I like to reduce it way down, it concentrates the flavors.
I've only made it with meat once and I just froze it in canning jars. That gave me the option to use any and all veggies that I wanted and make it nice and thick.
I always add some red wine, which is fine when canning, along with any dried spices that you want. A bit of ground fennel seed adds a really nice flavor, sort of making it taste like you added Italian sausage.
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Old September 21, 2014   #8
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Thank you for all of your suggestions. I have it at a slow rolling boil right now. Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to leave this on overnight. So, I will have to put it in the garage overnight and try again the next day.

This is the recipe I will be using this time...

Mary’s Marinara Sauce

5 gallons processed tomatoes (no skins, no seeds.)
6 Cloves Garlic Minced
4 Smallest Cans Tomato Paste
2 Pounds Sweet Italian Sausage
2 Pounds Ground Beef
½ Cup Red wine Vinegar
2 Pound Sliced Mushrooms (fresh or canned)
4 Large Carrots Peeled & Grated
6 Large Bell Peppers, Any Color, Seeds Removed, Diced
6 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning (or 2 Tablespoons each of fresh Basil, Oregano, Parsley)
2 Cups Sugar
¼ Cup Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Salt
¾ Cup Lime Juice


Bring tomato sauce to boil. Lower heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Add tomato paste, stir well.

Saute sausage, ground beef. Drain off grease thoroughly. Saute onion, peppers mushrooms (if fresh mushrooms) garlic and carrots in olive oil until translucent.
Add meats and vegetables to sauce mixture. Add all spices, salt, sugar, vinegar and lime juice to tomato mixture. Simmer 20 minutes on VERY LOW HEAT (be careful…this is thick and will scorch easily.) Fill appropriate number of “2-quart volume” freezer containers or process quarts, 90 minutes at 15 pounds in pressure canner for quarts (the time and lbs is for my area, above 4,000 feet.) THIS MUST BE PRESSURE CANNED if using jars. The meats in it make it unsafe to just hot water bath can.

The lime juice and vinegar are what keep this sauce tasting very fresh after freezing and canning. They keep the ingredients from breaking down. The carrots neutralize the acidity.
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Old September 22, 2014   #9
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Alright...I have reduced the sauce by half. Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem there yet...still pretty thin
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Old September 22, 2014   #10
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Okay, first thing I learned when reducing sauce...
It is much faster to use four separate pots instead of one 16 quart pot. I am so paranoid that I cooked it too much!
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Old September 22, 2014   #11
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Here is an example of the difference... the lighter sauce was was cooked by itself around 1 gallon. The darker stuff was all together in a 16 quart stock pot. How do I know if I cooked it too long? I tasted it, unfortunately im not sure what it is supposed to taste like so I'm a little lost on that one.
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Old September 23, 2014   #12
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Well with experience you can reduce it to where you want it. I myself save tomatoes frozen. When prepping I remove as many seeds/gel as possible, half or quarter the tomatoes. When I bring them out much of the water leaves the tomatoes as they thaw. You can keep this water to use like a broth or for whatever. I myself discard it unless I have an immediate use. The skin comes right off at this point. A slight squeeze removes more water. Then through the food mill and the end result is almost thick enough by itself. I might reduce for 3 hours at the most and it is thick by then. Really reduces cooking time. End product is fantastic!
Everybody finds what works for them.
For me I don't want to make the sauce at this point as I add different spices depending on what I'm making. I make chili, southwest spaghetti, goulash, regular spaghetti, salsa, my secret penna pasta delight, etc so each dish requires different ingredients, different spices. Marinara sauce is rarely used. Well I do use it but can make it as I go. I prefer using fresh meat, not frozen. Plus I don't have a pressure cooker. I use citric acid or lime juice after the water bath.
I grow many spices and feel the best taste is when you add them fresh right before serving. I never really cook the spice for longer than a few minutes else flavor IMHO is gone! Pressure cooking the spices just does not work for me, or in canning bath the spices is not good as far as I'm concerned. Even when using dry spices in the middle of winter, I only cook maybe 5 minutes. My dry spices are dried from my plants so extremely fresh, not something years old off a grocery store shelf.

Last edited by drew51; September 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM.
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Old September 23, 2014   #13
Dork Fish
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Yeah, I am really green when it comes to this. The flavor is so concentrated, it is hard to tell anything.

I do have another 5-6 gallons in the freezer. Lol maybe I will leave it that way.

I guess I will have to finish the recipe and see how it turns out. Once everything is added, it may taste okay. I will just have to wait.

Wow, I wish I had the time and patience to grow my own spices.

Thank you! I will let you guys know how it turns out.
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Last edited by Dork Fish; September 23, 2014 at 11:54 AM.
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Old September 23, 2014   #14
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The raw stuff usually tastes acidic, add some shredded carrots to tame it. Not till ready for use as carrots remove acid. I use a plate and a spoon and put a dab on the plate, hold at an angle and see how much liquid falls out of the sauce. A trick from making jam!
With jam you put a plate in the freezer when making the jam. You put a bit on the cold plate to see if it's ready. It it gels right away you're good to go!
When I first made sauce I opened a can of commercial sauce and did the plate test to compare to mine. Then I just threw the can in the mix!

Hey if I had a pressure canner I would try the recipe you can always add more spices when cooking.
Nice when time is little too, a quick way to have it ready. Not a bad way to go. I'm retired and anal and have no life, so have time to keep it fresh.

Last edited by drew51; September 23, 2014 at 12:46 PM.
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Old September 23, 2014   #15
Dork Fish
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Wow, great ideas! I will definitely remember that.

I am borrowing this pressure canner. Not sure just yet that I can justify purchasing one.

Lol, hey nothing wrong with fresh!
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