The last two days have revolved around all things tomato in our house! My mom came up on Saturday (it was the first day of archery season, so my husband and dad spent a good chunk of the day in the woods!) and both parents came up today to help get all of our tomato goodies made and processed.
I did not realize how much tomato sauce I had cooked down and frozen. I mean, I knew how much I had: about 24 gallon freezer bags full. But I did not realize how much that really was!
There is so much water in tomatoes, I anticipated a lot of it cooking off and we’d be left with maybe a little more than we had last year.
Can I just tell you…I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
First of all, it took quite a while to thaw all of the sauce. We would put a few frozen hunks of sauce in a big stock pot and let it melt over low heat, and then keep adding more frozen chunks until the pot was full.
We had a propane camp stove cooking in the garage, as well as using the stove in the kitchen. All in all, we had four burners full of sauce pots or canners cooking nearly all weekend!
Saturday was basically just a day of cooking down whatever tomatoes were left in the garden, thawing frozen bags of tomato juice, and reducing juice into a more saucy substance. The process of reducing the sauce is what really takes the longest.
Every year, we get tomato sauce burnt to the bottom of our pots. This year, my mom bought a good, thick stainless steel pot. It made a HUGE difference! There were no burnt bits at the bottom of this pot! If you plan to cook tomatoes down each year, I highly recommend investing in a good, thick-walled stainless steel stock pot.
We got some tomato soup made and canned on Saturday. I am not a big fan of tomato soup, and even I thought it tasted good! And fishing whole cloves out of the soup was quite the adventure!
Today, while the sauce kept reducing, we made catsup. Believe me, you are going to want to read this recipe when I post it!
Once the rest of the sauce was reduced enough, we made and canned the pizza and spaghetti sauce.
All in all, we ended the day with 10 pints of tomato soup, 12 half pints of catsup, 21 half pints of pizza sauce (the recipe that won first place at the county fair!), and 30 quarts of spaghetti sauce.
We have never ever canned this amount of tomato products! Our tomato plants produced like crazy this year, which is definitely something to be thankful for!
So, throughout this week, I will be posting four tomato recipes: spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato soup, and catsup. If you are done with your tomatoes for the year, you can save these recipes on Pinterest. Or, if you subscribe via email, you will get each post sent directly to your email and you can hang onto the recipe that way!
Check back throughout the week for these tasty tomato recipes!
In the meantime, I’d love to know what you do with your tomatoes! Please feel free to comment with some of your favorite homemade tomato products!