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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

Ontario tomatoes are now in season which means the start of the busiest of the canning season for me.  Most years I will put up 10 hampers (6¼ bushels) sometimes a bit more.  I usually start canning the easier sauces first when the tomatoes are smaller followed by whole and stewed tomatoes then finishing up with salsas, chili sauces and those products where tomatoes need to be peeled.  A couple of days ago I was working on my second hamper of tomatoes.  I decided to do half of them as roasted tomato basil sauce.

problem jars
I am, by any stretch of the imagination a very experienced, knowledgeable and accomplished home canner.   I know what I'm doing and I can recognize a problem that just can't be overlooked.  There are very, very few times that I have any problems with my canning equipment or technique.  In fact the canning process is so old hat, once the jars are in the canner I don't worry about them any more.

This particular night I had run the canner with a load of Italian tomato sauce and tomato stock.  The canner performed beautifully.  I brought the roasted tomato sauce in from the grill, ran it through the strainer, seasoned then reheated and jarred the bottles.  The canner again ran without a problem.  The only sign of a problem was when the canner depressurized and I opened the canner to find sauce all over the canner.  Every single jar had leaked which is an indication of a pressure problem.  Each jar had leaked a good inch of sauce (green arrow).  It was after midnight and my only choice was to reprocess to salvage what sauce was left. I used the Tattler lids without a problem. 

reprocessed roasted tomato basil sauce
Of all the sauces for this to happen with roasted any type of sauce is a lot of work.  Each batch takes about a 6 hour cook time before any tweaking and without considering processing time.  I reprocessed the sauce ending up with about 500 ml less than I started with but at least I saved the sauce.

This year I'm experimenting with new spins on my family favourite roasted tomato sauce.  I've changed my technique a little too in that I slow roast all the vegetables then run them through the food strainer to remove seeds and skins rather than using just the stick blender resulting in a velvety smooth base sauce that can then be further seasoned to give different results.  I added four varieties of garden fresh basils to this sauce so this ended up being a gorgeous sauce despite the problems.

I think sometimes readers get the impression on this blog that things don't go wrong but they do.  While it is uncommon for me to have cannning problems they can and do happen.  It is the experience and knowledge to know what to do when this type of problem happens.  In this case even though the jars would have sealed and they did by the time I opened them I was not comfortable leaving them with that much space in the jar even though some would have left them.  In my mind the only option was to clean out the canner, bring the sauce to a boil again, rejar and reprocess.  The second run was quite successful as pictured.

I'm still not sure what happened to cause this.  In over 30 years of canning this is the first time I've experienced it.  I can't blame it on the lids because 3 styles were used so the only thing I can blame it on is a pressure problem but even then I don't think so.  I know it isn't a gasket problem because I'm pressure canning in an All American canner.  The problem is still a mystery as as long as it doesn't repeat itself I will be a happy canner :)


6 food lovers commented:

Super Mom said...

Wow. Just reading through what you've been up to has exhausted me.

I really want to learn to can but I'm not sure if I have the stamina. I currently freeze most of our fruits and veggies for winter.

I have however made a small batch of canned strawberry jam, pickled beans and bread and butter pickles but once I finished those I had enough of canning already. I think that if I had a friend I could can with it would make me more motivated but I don't. :( I'll keep looking though.

Good luck with your marathon tomato canning session.

LindaG said...

Glad to hear you were able to salvage the sauce. :)

cassandrasmom said...

Wow....I would have been in tears. At least you could save it.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Super Mom :) Once you get into canning the energy just comes but there is no denying that after the tomato season I'm tired. Thanks for the well wishes too.

Garden Gnome said...

I'm glad too Linda :)

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Cassandasmom :) When something like this happens while canning which thankfully seldom does I go into overdrive mode to save the product. As soon as I took the second jar out I realized all the jars had leaked so it became a given that I was reprocessing to save what I could. Then I sat on pins and needles while the jars reprocessed. Once I saw they were fine I could have cried but I think by then I was just too exhausted to.