"Every house where love abides and friendship is a guest, is surely home, and home sweet home for there the heart can rest." -Henry Van Dyke

Monday, September 8, 2014

Preserving my garden tomatoes

Last week I harvested 21 pounds of San Marzano tomatoes. I've been procrastinating on picking them because if I did, I needed to be ready for canning. Time must be set aside without interruption. This year was the first time I canned tomato sauce and I'm happy for completing my project. 

Here are my organic tomato sauce and I processed 10 pint jars. Can you believe all the tomatoes are in these jars? We already used 2 and I can see why canning can be addicting! I kept it simple by making basic unsalted sauce with lemon juice. The small amount of lemon is for safety canning reasons. I plan on adding whatever seasoning I want to the sauce at the time of cooking. Those are peach barbecue sauce in the front, that's for another post soon. I recently made them with our peach harvest. 

I prefer San Marzano over roma. For whatever reason, I get blossom end rot with roma and the fruit are constantly small. My healthy San Marzano plants were productive. The tomato sauce is thick and perfect with the right amount of acidity. Dang, it's yummy! Growing tomatoes from seeds are worth the wait plus you have more variety to choose from.    

My handmade labels was fun to work on and they look nice in the pantry. Tags were attached so they're ready for gift-giving too. By the way I don't store jars with the rings because I learned they're susceptible to rust or mold. However, rings were screwed on temporarily for the photo shoot.  

Here's what I do before making sauce: Remove the stems and rinse all the tomatoes. Score the bottom of each one with a knife, that will make it easier for the skin to peel off. Plunge the tomatoes in hot boiling water for a few minutes until the skin gets soft. I place the tomatoes directly in my tomato press for making sauce then I cook it in the stockpot. Easy. Time consuming…

Some of the lovely plum tomato sauce, all that goodness from my small garden. It's delightful preserving the garden's bounty. The tomato press has been helpful. It removes tomato skin and seeds. I want to upgrade my gadget next summer since this thing is a hassle to clean. I need something more efficient for a larger batch of sauce so I put a food mill on my Christmas list! :-)   

I cooked spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce, herbs and ground turkey. My girl Alyssa likes pasta. Although she's tiny, her appetite is big for a 21 month old.
She had 3 servings and she also wanted my spaghetti plate for lunch! I love it that Alyssa is not a very picky eater. 

"Forget the fork mommy, this is easier!" It's a mess whenever we give her spaghetti, she would touch her hair and smear sauce everywhere. Cooking is enjoyable knowing we have a little foodie and my husband's tummy is content. Bryan gives me what we call 'chef's kisses' on my cheeks daily. I find cooking and baking rewarding and that's why I'm always in the kitchen. 

Did you grow tomatoes, what kind and did you preserve your harvest? :-)  


  1. You get chefs kisses because I love to kissy your face!!

  2. Hi Priscilla,
    Wow, that is a bountiful harvest! Your tomatoes are gorgeous! I have two roma tomatoes plants, one is fruiting right now, and the other seems to wilt away! Wish I have the space to grow more tomatoes.
    Home canning can be pretty addictive! A few months ago, I made canned chopped tomatoes (from store-bought tomatoes), It was time consuming but feel so happy looking at the jars. I've used my last jar and will be making my next batch soon. I like your labels!
    Alyssa is adorable and she's clearly enjoying her spaghetti! She is one lucky girl to enjoy mommy's homecooked food made from home organic veggies!
    Have a great week!
    P/s got your message. :) Just got to add one more thing, you deserve all the chef kisses! :)
    I'm always signing off as kitchen flavours, always forgotten to change to my little potted garden!

  3. Look so interesting! That's so inspiring. I have a plenty tomatoes this week. So, making sauce is a good idea. Thank you for sharing.

  4. That's lots of TOMATOES! That spaghetti must be very tasty :-))

  5. Hi Priscilla, this has to be the most beautiful canned tomatoes I have seen yet. I love your labels too. You mentioned in one of your other posts that you may be putting some up for sale on Etsy. Make sure to let me know if you do that because I would love to buy some of them for my preserves. I still need to make some jalapeno peach jam and pretty labels would be so nice to add to them for holiday gifts. Your friends are going to be so happy to receive a jar of your San Marzano tomatoes!

  6. Hi Priscilla,

    How are you? Those tomato sauce can last how long?

    Oh oh your girl! She's a big girll now!

    1. I'm doing good. Thank you! The tomato sauce should last a year in the jars. Yes my daughter is a big girl, almost 2 years old.

  7. What a beautiful harvest of tomatoes. I think it is wonderful that you have learned to can your produce.

    Your daughter looks like she is certainly enjoying the spaghetti.

    My dear husband always let me know he enjoyed my home cooked meals too.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady


I'm glad you stopped by. I love reading your comments and thank you for taking the time. Have a wonderful day! :-)

♥ Priscilla