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Old 07-16-2006, 10:05 AM   #1
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Reducing Tomatoes to Can Sauce, Ketchup etc

For decades I have looked for an easy quicker method of cooking tomatoes down to can them as sauce, bbq sauce, ketchup and I seem to have found one. To me, this is nothing short of a miracle. I have only used this method for the past two canning seasons, but it has worked very well.

Quarter the washed tomatoes into a large pot that has 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the pot. Turn on heat to medium high, cover, and simmer until tomatoes on the top are soft, for me this takes up to an hour because my pot is so big. DO NOT stir, sqeeze, smash or press the fruit. Turn off heat when the top layer of tomatoes are soft, and allow to cool somewhat. Gently pour or ladle into a colandar to drain. The clear tomato liquid will drain out quickly. I then pour the tomato solids into my blender jar and blend with my added vegetables and pour into another pot. Continue until all tomatoes are processed in this manner. Bring sauce up to a boil and can. I have a note that I can pints at 11 pounds pressure for 20 minutes.

This produces a fresh tasting tomato sauce,as compared to the rather cooked flavor you get with the laborious, blurping, stirring and stirring typical methods.

There are so many posts I want to respond to right now, but I am just not at the computer much these days , too much to do outside!!

Hope this helps people exploring the ideas of canning various tomato products.

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Old 07-16-2006, 10:23 AM   #2
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bethzaring,
The best advice almost always comes from someone too busy to give it. Thanks for your post. I was thinking of something similar but it involved roasting.
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Old 07-16-2006, 03:00 PM   #3
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Have you ever used the pressure cooker to do it? Do you seed the tomatoes?
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Old 07-16-2006, 05:24 PM   #4
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Interesting idea Gretchen, that I had not thought of, it might work for small batches of tomatoes. When I cut up the tomatoes, I am working with a pot almost as big as a boiling water bath canner and my stainless steel pressure cooker is only a 7 quart pot. My pressure canners are aluminum so I would not want to use them with tomatoes.

No, I do not seed the tomatoes. When I can my tomato products, at some point I buzz them in a blender to liquidfy the whole tomato, including the seeds and the skin. It takes at least 60 seconds of blending on high speed to break up the seeds.
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Old 07-16-2006, 08:22 PM   #5
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Okay - I'm a little confused (nothing new for me) but I think I have a handle on what you are doing. Is this right: you're straining and draining the liquid and tossing it out so you don't have to take the additional time to simmer it to reduce it?

Problem: you're tossing a lot of nutrition and water soluable vitamins, if this is what you are doing.

You might want to consider getting an old fashioned hand-cranked "food mill" (about $20-$25 many places) - it will remove the skins and seeds (whizzed seeds add bitterness) and leave you with a nice puree.

How often you need to stir the pot during simmering/reduction depends on the type of pot you are using. If you are using you water-canner pot (thin enameled steel) you will have to stir more often, and use a lower temp, than if you have a thick bottomed stock pot.

Just something I thought I would mention.
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Okay - I'm a little confused (nothing new for me) but I think I have a handle on what you are doing. Is this right: you're straining and draining the liquid and tossing it out so you don't have to take the additional time to simmer it to reduce it?


Problem: you're tossing a lot of nutrition and water soluable vitamins, if this is what you are doing.

You might want to consider getting an old fashioned hand-cranked "food mill" (about $20-$25 many places) - it will remove the skins and seeds (whizzed seeds add bitterness) and leave you with a nice puree.

How often you need to stir the pot during simmering/reduction depends on the type of pot you are using. If you are using you water-canner pot (thin enameled steel) you will have to stir more often, and use a lower temp, than if you have a thick bottomed stock pot.

Just something I thought I would mention.

Michael, that is exactly what I am doing.

I may be tossing out tomato nutrients with this method, but I am also whizzing and adding back in carrots, onions, garlic, celery, parsley and green pepper (and whatever else catches my attention). So I am adding various nutrients back in.

I have never been interested in any device that removes the skins and seeds of vegetables and fruits, I prefer them attached to my food. I have not noticed any bitterness in my products, maybe the addition of the other veggies masks the bitterness? I have been whizzing various veggies together for twentysomething years.

Interesting about the pot specs. I use a very large Vollrath stainless steel stock pot, bought it many moons ago. It does not appear to have anything extra in the bottom. I never cared for my boiling water bath canner and that is one reason I got rid of it, it seemed like a cheap pot.

Thanks for your interest and comments, I really appreciate it .
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Old 07-17-2006, 11:06 AM   #7
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Instead of pouring that liquid down the drain, I reduce it and then add it back into the solids. Much less likely to scorch than reducing tomato puree.
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Old 07-17-2006, 12:31 PM   #8
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please tell me more..... I'm thinking I would not have time to reduce the liquid. The solids are ready to can once I get it boiling. And I also usually am short on burners when I can. So then I thought of canning the liquid separately and using it for soup stock.
How do you separate the fluid from the solids?
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Old 07-17-2006, 11:49 PM   #9
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Beth - you are already straining out the liquids from the solids according to your recipe when you strain off the liquid from the solids in the colander. You would just simmer the strained off liquid until it was reduced to 1/2 or 1/4 the original amount - and then add it back into the puree.

RE: the bitterness of the tomato seeds - "celery, parsley and green peppers" all have bitter components ... so you wouldn't notice it.

The purpose of a boiling water canner is just to rapidly heat water ... it's not a cooking vessel - that's why it seems so "cheap", and they are. But your Vollrath stainless stock pot is not a water canner - it is a cooking vessel, but you can use it as a water canner - hey, it's a big pot that you can boil water in - there's no rocket science here.

Now, I don't know how many "moons" ago you bought your pot, or if/how much they have changed since then ... but according to the specs for the Vollrath SS stock pots they do have a thick bottom to evenly distribute the heat, reducing the "hot spots" and spot scorching you would get from trying to cook in a enamled steel pot ... "Constructed of heavy-duty, 16 gauge 18-8 stainless steel, with a permanently bonded, 1/4" thick bottom layer made of aluminum and stainless steel for even heating and exceptional durability."

FWIW - I have a lot of Vollrath in my kitchen so I know the quality.

You've given us some ideas. Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:51 AM   #10
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Michael, I may have bought my Vollrath pot as long as 15 years ago and now that I look at it more closely, the bottom is definitely heavier than the sides. I just measured it, it is 11 inches tall and 13 inches in diameter, have no idea how many gallons that is.

The way I have handled my tomatoes for sauce the past two years; gently simmer, gently strain out the clearish fluid, blend the tomato solids with other vegetables, heat to boiling, then can....I produce a sauce that is PERFECT for pizza or pasta....meaning there is no ring of fluid that separates out when I dump out the sauce.........I am not inclined to want to reduce and add back any tomato fluids to the sauce. I am seriously considering canning the tomato fluids in quart jars for soup stock, instead of letting it flow down the drain like I have been doing.

Thanks for the Vollrath data, I always like to know stuff like that.
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