My parents started making tomato sauce about 15 or 20 years ago. They had learned the process from Italian friends who made sauce and salsa every year.
The original production was very slow and small-scale. They had a hand grinder and had to blanch and peel every tomato before cooking them down in the kitchen, adding them to hot jars and sealing 6 or 7 at a time.
Improvements came with time. My father connected an old furnace engine to our hand press to create a semi-automated press that liked to cover its users in sauce. Eventually they purchased supplies that would help reduce work and increase our ability to produce sauce. Massive pots, propane burners, a tomato press. Many of the items were shared with others to reduce cost.
This is the first year that we own every piece that we used in the production – total cost is estimated around $900.
Sauce is fairly easy to produce. The process from start to finish, follows these steps:
- Select and prepare your tomatoes
- Crush tomatoes
- Cook tomatoes down
- Prepare jars – ensure they are clean, hot
- Add sauce and supplemental (i.e. herbs, garlic, salt) to jars
- Place seals and put in hot water bath
- Let them cool.
There are tips that we have learned over the years and we will share those in the coming days as we walk through the process on how to make fantastic sauce (including some new discoveries this year that have forever changed the way we select tomatoes).