If you are overloaded with Roma (plum) Tomatoes and have always wanted to try making your own marinara sauce and canning it—today's blog is the step-by-step way to do it!
I am assuming you have no preconceived notions about this-- so, it is written step-by-step.
How to Make and Can Marinara Sauce
Pick and wash a counter-top full of Italian plum tomatoes. This recipe will start with 12 quarts of skinned and seeded tomatoes and juice. You'll ultimately have about 8 + quarts--think of it as 7 quarts for the canner and some for immediate use.
Discard any tomatoes with bruises that have mold or caused breaks in the tomato skin or have an obvious rotten area. Don't just cut off a rotten part, if it's bad, it's bad throughout so discard the whole tomato.
Start by skinning and seeding the tomatoes. For this you will need to boil a pot of water (and you'll be working in batches, so repeating this step over and over until you have all the tomatoes done). Make a cross hatch slit on the plump side (bottom) of the tomato.
Drop a batch of prepped tomatoes into the boiling water for about 2 minutes to scald the skin. Remove the tomatoes into a large bowl of ice water.
Working over a plastic lined garbage can or large bowl, take a tomato in your hand, slide off the skin and gently squeeze the tomato until most of the seeds are expressed into the waste receptacle. Put the rest of the tomato pulp and juice right into a food safe, sanitized container until you're done with all of them. (Note--see how these large square, measurable containers come in handy? I got them at Sam's Club).
You DO need to remove ALL of the skin, but you MAY leave some seeds. Keep working in batches until you have 12 quarts of juice and pulp. Your final amount after cooking and reducing will be just over 8 quarts. ( So if you want less, start with 6 quarts and use half the amounts below to yield 4+ quarts.)
Add ½ cup of olive oil into a stock pot and about 8 LARGE cloves of garlic, minced. Cook through and then add all of the tomatoes, pulp and juice.
Add ½ bottle (750 ml. Size) dry red wine.
Stir in the following ingredients, adjusting seasonings to your taste preferences.
½ c. pure cane sugar
2 tbsp. Dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp. Dried Basil
1 tbsp. Dried Oregano
2 Tbsp. Salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp. Red pepper flakes
Some people like fennel seeds, others prefer fresh herbs. For me, I want this to be all about the tomato.
Check the starting volume on your pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. You will be cooking this down until the volume reduces by about 30%, And it will take hours, but the house will smell amazing. Stir the pot intermittently. Definitely remove any errant skin that might have gotten in the pot. The wine, cooking, and stirring will break up the tomato pulp. But if you want, you can use an immersion hand blender or a masher to break up any stubborn clumps.
Once reduced, take some out to a small bowl. It should be a nice consistent, and plump sauce, and not separate into any layers. If a watery level separates from the pulp, it needs more reducing. Make any last taste adjustments in seasonings now.
Meanwhile, prep your canning jars by sanitizing the jars in a dishwasher and keeping them in the heated unit until use.
Heat the new lids and rings in boiling water to basically heat through. See photo below.
Get the canning equipment ready. Set the holder on top of the boiling water bath.
Ladle marinara sauce to within ¼ inch of the lid, using a canning funnel to keep product in the jar. Apply lid and ring to a finger tight closure, not super tight. EXTRA marinara sauce that will not be canned, can be cooled and placed into freezer containers and frozen for use within the next 6 months or refrigerated for use within the week.
Load the canning holder with six jars, lower into the boiling bath. Load the center 7th jar in the middle. Add water if needed to cover the jars 1 inch above the lid with water.
Process for 35-40 minutes. Shut off heat. Leave in another 5 minutes.
Using the jar remover, carefully remove the sterilized jars to a toweled counter-top. When cooled, they can be labeled, dated and stored. Yes, they will ping and the middle of the lid will indent in this process. (That is, if you press on the middle, there will be no “give”)
Yep, a lot of work—but what a gift to friends or yourself !