Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tomatoes - (Bottled, Sauce & Stuffed Shells)

For 12 quarts YOU WILL NEED:

  • About 36 - 40 pounds ripe tomatoes (I use 6 - 7 medium tomatoes per quart)
  • Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled lemon juice
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon canning salt
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Glass jars with new lids and bands 

We use the cold pack method for our tomatoes, so there is some prep that has the happen before we begin. Like... make sure your bottles are clean and without chips, cracks or breaks. Make sure your lids are new and your bands are not bent.

  1. Fill stock pot or canning pot with hot water and turn on medium heat. In another pan Heat jars, lids and bands in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  
  2. WASH tomatoes. Dip in boiling water 30 to 60 seconds, only leave in boiling water long enough for skins to start cracking, do not over cook. Immediately dip in cold water. Slip off skins. Place skins in another bowl and save for later use in making the sauce. Trim away any green areas and cut out core. Leave tomatoes whole or cut into halves or quarters. Squish tomatoes into jar tight. Juice will come out around a fill the jar. Fill the jar leaving about one inch of space from top of jar. 
  3. Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice to each full quart jar or 1 Tbsp lemon juice to each hot pint jar. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar to each quart jar or a 1/2 teaspoon of each to each pint jar, if desired. Fill the jar full with hot water.
  4. Wipe rim with damp cloth. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. Place in stock pot full of hot water. Make sure water covers the jars by at least 1 inch above jars. PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner 30minutes for pints and 35 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 
now for the sauce.... 

You will need the bowl full of tomato skins that you saved. Place them in a sauce pan with the following items. 
---- 1/4 cup diced onions
---- 3 cloves diced garlic
---- 1 tablespoon olive oil
---- 1 tablespoon fresh mixed chopped basil 
leaves, oregano, thyme bay leaves, parsley 
---- 1/2 cup chicken stock
---- 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Bring everything to a simmer and cook on low for 5 minutes, stirring often. Next pour tomato skin mixture into a colander or fine mesh strainer. Push through with the back side of a tablespoon. Repeat until skins become very dry and stringy. Discard skins and what is leftover in bottle bowl is your sauce.                                                                                       

Then for my favorite part... THE STUFFED SHELLS 
1. Prepare Pasta Shells as directed on the back of the package. 
2. Next mix together 1 cup Ricotta cheese with 1 cup grated mozzarella and 1 cup cheddar cheese.
3. Spoon cheese mixture  into cooled pasta shells and place stuffed shells in baking dish filled with 1/2 of homemade pasta sauce. 
4. Cover shells with rest of pasta sauce and more grated mozzarella. 
5. Bake on 350 until shells are hot and bubbling.

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