It Was The Worst of Times; It Was The Best of Times

Okay, so raise your hands if you've ever canned tomato sauce.

Not many hands raised, huh? I think I know why.

Because it's a horrible, laborious, tedious, stressful thing to do, that's why. But MOST OF ALL, do you know why people don't do more canning of tomato sauce?

Because after a full day spent chopping (Thanks for the hints in the comments about involving the girls. They did most of the chopping. Well, you know, in a "running the food processor" kind of way.) and simmering:
and simmering some more
and then putting the mixture through a sieve and simmering some more:
and then bottling it and processing it in a water bath:
you might just look at the ten and a half cups of sauce that it took you all FREAKING day to make
and realize that you never added the lemon juice that would even out the PH balance and act as a preservative.


There was nothing for me to do but get dressed and go to Knit Night in an effort to restore my sanity.

So, today... I still have no idea what to do. Do I open all the jars (the reason I have such little jars is that I was preparing to make tomato relish and then I found out that you can't force a tomato to be something it's not. But since up here in New York, you have to order your canning supplies online, there wasn't time to order another set of larger mason jars.) and simmer the freaking sauce again and then add the lemon juice and process it all again? Or do I open up all the jars, cook up some spaghetti and get right down to carbo-loading in case I do a 5K in the next ten years?

PS: While Ana and I were staging the picture of me lying on the kitchen floor, Scout came by and stepped on my face. Because my day was not just not complete.

Comments

Ann in NJ said…
Try your local hardware store for canning supplies. Both of the Ace stores in our area carry them - not necessarily a HUGE selection, but enough basics to cover most events.

Can you freeze them? Or is that just asking for trouble?
hokgardner said…
I think you hand them out to the neighbors and tell them to have spaghettie tonight.
sldill said…
Do you have a vacuum sealer thing? You could freeze the sauce in containers and then put the large saucecubes into the bags and seal them.
Becca said…
can you pressure seal them? Like you do with meats?
annabanana said…
I was going to write what hokgardner did! Put a bow on it, maybe throw in a box of pasta, and wander the neighborhood handing out 'dinner' gifts - what fun! (or a very large party, italian style)
Cara said…
Barb,
You totally crack me up! It is nice to know that my dogs are not alone in misjudging where they put their feet!
I have no tomato canning advice other than we sell really great already-canned tomato sauces at Whole Foods.
Sarah H said…
My problem with canning is that I love to give it away, because it's so precious and tasty, but I would hate to give away everything. However, I've seen the socks that you just KNIT for people, and knowing how long it takes ME to knit things, I guess that's how it goes. You are generous- me, not so generous. If it were me, I'd empty them out, simmer and add the lemon juice, and re-can.
DK said…
Spaghetti party! Oooh! You could open a few, and give the rest out as party favors. Like, use this in the next two weeks, mangia!

I'll bring my fork.

Ohhhh, Scout....
Miriam said…
Freeze it in jars (leave room for expansion... don't ask how I know). Or freeze it in quart bags. This will work! You are a farmgirl at heart :).
Susan said…
I would freeze it. Tomato sauce freezes beautifully. You might want to just put one jar in the freezer to see if it's too full, in which case the jar will break (put the jar in a plastic bag just in case - you don't want to clean frozen tomato sauce off of all the items in your freezer). The alternative is to pour the sauce out of the jars and into something freezer-friendly. For future reference, you can pop whole washed tomatoes into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. When you want them, thaw them out and the skins slip right off. They're good for stews or sauces that way. I also have quartered them, placed them on a foil lined pan with quartered onions, garlic, peppers, or whatever you like in your sauce. Roast the pan in the oven until the tomatoes are dried out a bit and all the veggies are soft. Let them cool a bit and put the whole shebang in your food processor, adding spices as desired. No peeling, seeding, or other tedious tasks and all the fiber is left in the sauce. It's absolutely scrumptious and smells terrific as the veggies roast. It's a great way to use up tomatoes that are ripening faster than you can use them.
Freeze them. And you're right - it just isn't worth the effort for the amount of sauce you get. Thanks for reminding me. I think I'll do pickles this weekend instead.
Wonderful posts, Barb. Who knew there was so much to learn about toms? Oh, and fire Scout.
Doris said…
I have canned tomatoes many times without lemon juice and it never went bad unless it came unsealed.. The hot water bath should have made them seal well. This was just chopped tomtoes with 1 tsp. of salt added to each jar.
Knitting Rose said…
ok I KNOW I am not supposed to laugh at your pain... but really... how can I resist? YOU POOR dear!! I can sooo sympathize...(did I spell that right?)... I was making jalapeno chutney once - peeled all the dang things had them parboiled and ready to go in one of those old Visions cookware pots? remember they were a clear glass?? Can you see where this is going? yeah - I dropped it in the sink with the peppers still in it... glass shards cannot be gotten out of diced jalapenos....
I still can't peel a jalapeno because my hands developed some sort of sensitivity to them...

You poor dear - I really can relate... and then having your face stepped on too?
I can't help but giggle... I really can't...
MadMad said…
Oh, I burst out laughing at that last pic! I'm so sorry about your canning sitch. I'm the wrong person to ask, though, since I'm still waiting for the beach plum jelly I made LAST YEAR to set.

I don't think it's gonna.
Tiffany said…
You've given me a whole new respect for an old friend of mine who always had dozens and dozens of jars of "canned" tomato sauce in her basement. I always just kind of assumed that she just...you know...mashed the tomatoes and dumped them in the jar. Or something.
Tenna Draper said…
Leave them alone.
The worst that will happen is that the sauce will separate, and the top will be slightly watery, with a little film of hardened sauce just below it...but it will all mix up again when you pour it in the pan to cook it again...and it won't have a lemon bitter taste to it.
Kathy said…
I cannot believe how many people know what to do in this situation! It cracks me up!? Haven't you people ever heard of Ragu??

LOL!

The image in my mind of Scout stepping on your face, made me spit a peanut out of my mouth. How's that for classy??