Did someone say Tomatoes?
I don't really like tomatoes, by themselves that is, but I like salsa, tomato soup, tomato sauce, pasta sauce and other delicious dishes made with tomatoes, but not ketchup so much.
So why was I so excited that the theme for this month's tigress can jam was tomatoes?
I have a bunch of tomato plants. I planted about 15 or so tomato plants from seeds, but I got a late start so they are just now starting to bear fruit. We have a long growing season in the South so that helps. I'm really pleased with their progress. This is only the 2nd time I've grown tomatoes and the first time I've tried growing them from seeds.
Here are a few of my babies.
While I was waiting on the seeds to sprout, I got some tomato plants from the garden center so that I would have some tomatoes for salsa. Plus, I wanted to have some tomatoes in case the seeds didn't sprout or produce any tomato plants. I guess I didn't have enough faith in them, but they've been doing their thing anyway. Isn't it cool how nature works!
Here is one of the tomato plants I got from the garden center. This photo was taken a few weeks ago so this plant has produced most of it's fruit already, but it's still hanging in there.
Here is one of my Black Russian Heirloom Tomato Plants. The fruit is almost ready. I can't wait to try it! I decided maybe the reason I didn't like tomatoes is because I haven't met one I like yet. Could this be the one?
With all of these tomato plants, you would think I could come up with a ton of ideas for the can jam...
...but, alas, all I had to work with was a few Roma Tomatoes from my straw bale garden.
I forgot to take a picture of the Roma plants in my straw bale garden and they're just about done producing fruit. The good news is that my container Roma, Sausage and Viva Italia tomato plants that I planted from seeds are coming along just fine so I'll have more tomatoes for making sauce soon.
At the moment, however, I'm still waiting on the mother load. It should be here anytime, but it didn't quite happen in time for the can jam. You just can't rush these things you know.
So, I looked for a recipe that only needed a few tomatoes. I found a delicious one. The vegetables are roasted to bring out the flavor in this full-flavored tomato sauce. This sounded wonderful to me.
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Makes: 3 1/2 cups
Recipe from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.
10 plum tomatoes unpeeled (about 2 1/2 lb/1.25 kg) I used Roma tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 small onions, unpeeled
1 sweet red pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
Place tomatoes, garlic, onions and red pepper on a lightly greased baking sheet. I lined the baking sheet with parchment paper then sprayed it and the veggies with cooking spray. Roast in a 450 degrees oven for 45 minutes, removing the garlic after 12 to 15 minutes or when soft. Remove remaining vegetables when they are soft and the skins blistered. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Peel tomatoes, being careful to catch all the juice. Squeeze garlic and onions to remove soft centers. Peel and seed pepper.
Place all vegetables in a food processor and process until smooth.
Place vegetable puree in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Add vinegar, oregano, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover and boil for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of rim (headspace). I didn't have quite enough sauce for two pint-sized jars so I only processed one jar and put the other one in the refrigerator to use right away.
Process 35 minutes for pint (500 mL) jars and 40 minutes for quart (1 L) jars. Remove the jars from the canner and let them rest on the counter until they seal. Then they're ready to be stored.
Or, if you're like me and end up with some extra, you can go ahead and enjoy it now. Yum! I'm going to enjoy this with some pasta and homemade bread.
We're making jams or pickling every month in 2010. For more info, click on the button.
Check out the August Can Jam Roundup to see what the other can jammers did with their tomatoes.
Happy Canning and Baking!
Here are some of the references I use in my canning adventures. You might enjoy them as well: