Recipes that use up a lot of tomatoes in one go are very appealing at this time in the year, as we often have a huge glut. Here are two that use up 2kg each, one old favourite and one which is
new to me: "Cook-in" Sauce and Tomato Ketchup
Tomato "Cook-in" Sauce
There are lots of "cook-in" sauces available commercially, and their list of ingredients is many and varied, not always something
I would necessarily want to eat. The convenience of being able to open a jar of sauce, add it to some meat, fish, lentils or other vegetables and quickly have a tasty meal is very tempting, so I tried to come up with a home made version... and this it it!
I make several batches each year with different flavourings, to see us the year round. We don't have enough freezer space for this amount of tomatoes, so these jars of sauce enable us to preserve our bounteous harvest in a practical way, with a method
used for many years before refrigeration was an option.
The basic recipe can be varied to suit your personal taste by adding spices or herbs, or leaving it plain to be added to when you use it. There is one vital criteria however: you must
have at least 7 cups of tomato to no more than 4 cups of the other vegetable ingredients to ensure the balance of acidity allows the sauce to be kept safely without danger of botulism.
Read through the whole recipe before you start to ensure
you will have the equipment you need to hand for waterbathing the finished sauce.
What you need:
2kg of large tomatoes (at least 7 cups when processed, usually 8 or 9)
1½ cups of chopped onion
of garlic, chopped
2½ -3 cups of other vegetables, measured after chopped - courgettes, runner beans, coriander leaves, carrot, beetroot, green or red peppers etc. (Not potato) I put them in the food processor so that the pieces
are very small and almost unidentifiable as individual pieces when cooked
1 cup of white wine vinegar
3tbp sunflower oil
spices or herbs to taste - just think of the number of jars you will be
making and what quantity you would use for that volume. In this batch I used 5 heaped tsp each of black mustard seeds, ground cumin and ground coriander, 5tsp grated fresh ginger, 3tsp ground turmeric and 5 large red chillies, which were chopped
with the onions and garlic.
What to do:
1. Sort out your jars and lids and sterilise them - this quantity makes between 2.5 & 3l of sauce, depending on how much your veg cooks down...coriander cooks down far more
than runner beans for example. I find 350ml jars a useful size.
2. Finely chop the onions, garlic, and chillies if using, and put in the preserving pan with the oil. Cook until onion is soft
3. Add spices if using, including
the ginger and fry until seeds are popping and there is no raw smell of spices (not dried or fresh herbs at this point)
4. While the onion is cooking, skin the tomatoes and remove the cores ( I slit the skins and pour boiling
water over them, leave for 10 minutes and then, wearing gloves, pull off the skins and squidge out the cores, directly over the food processor bowl. The gloves save my hands from turning orange, especially if I am making two batches!)
5. Put the tomatoes
in a food processor and blend until well chopped (You can also chop them by hand of course) and then add them to the pan.
6 Finely chop any other vegetables and add to the pan, together with all remaining ingredients (Add herbs at
this point if using)
7. Now bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, without a lid on the pan.
8. Warm the jars, sterilise the lids and get the waterbath ready - part-fill a large pan with boiling water. You will need a trivet in
the bottom to stand the jars on, so that the glass is not in direct contact with the metal pan.
9. Adjust the seasoning to your taste, with a little more salt or sugar, or more vinegar if too sweet
10. Pour the sauce into jars and put on lids
immediately. Do not overtighten the lids though as air must be able to escape when the jars are in the waterbath. Fill the kettle and boil.
11. Now carefully stand the jars on the trivet in the waterbath. Use an oven mitt to protect your hands as the jars
and the water are both hot!
12. Pour in boiling water from the kettle so that the water is up to the top of the sides of the bottles. (Some recipes tell you to submerge the jars completely but my pan is not quite deep enough for that, and it
has always worked fine with slightly less depth)
13. Keep the water at a high simmer for 20 minutes and then carefully lift out the jars. Tighten the lids slightly, and leave to cool. If you have pop-in centres to the lids, you will hear them pop
down as the sauce cools.
This sauce keep safely for over a year in a cool, dark place. We find it especially enjoyable in the long dark days of winter when there is little variety in fresh crops: a lovely reminder of early Autumn flavours!