Last September I was extremely busy home canning ten hampers of tomatoes into various tomato products. The total yield was 206 jars ranging in size from 250 ml to 1 L for a total volume of 111.5 L. This may seem like a large amount but the goal is to home can enough to last from one growing season to the next. Trust me, this will not be enough to last us a full year. Guaranteed, we will run out of some of the tomato products well before the next harvest.
The number one question I get when someone sees our pantry for the first time is 'Why?' followed by 'What do you do with all of it?' Well, the easy answer really is to explain that this is my grocery store so unlike most home makers, I'm not spending my time in the grocery store each week. It is a way for us to avoid the horrendous amount of food additives, excess salt, HFCS and preservatives the food industry is so good pushing at us without acknowledging the health ramifications. Essentially, my goal stocking our pantry with good, healthy and safe foods by taking responsibility in doing so. The bonus of home food preservation and cooking from scratch is the monetary savings. As to what I do with all of it...
On average, my tomato sauces cost 30¢ to 50¢ per L taking into account all costs (eg. lid, additional ingredients, cooking fuel). With a 750 ml jar of this home canned tomato sauce, spaghetti and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, Caesar salad and home made bread or rolls , I can feed 4 adults for under $3 and still have left-overs. The beauty of this sauce is, while it is an excellent quick sauce for pasta, it a very versatile sauce. I use an immersion blender for those dishes if I don't want the larger chunks like mushrooms in some of my sauces but in general all the uses listed can be done with any tomato sauce. A variety of home canned tomato sauces will always earn their keep in our pantry to help use eat healthy, frugal, home cooked meals.
Here are some of the ways I use my many home canned tomato sauces:
- a sauce over meatloaf, burger patties or chicken
- a sauce to cook meatballs or chicken in; brown the meat first then finish cooking in the sauce for tender, juicy results
- a liquid for poaching fish in
- a liquid for cooking rice in
- a blush sauce (mixed with béchamel sauce) for pasta or chicken
- an ingredient in meatloaf, burger patties, and casseroles (eg. pasta based, cabbage rolls, chicken)
- topping for baked brie or cream cheese served with crackers
- a topping for twice baked potatoes (sauce, pepperoni or bacon, shredded cheese)
- an ingredient for dip (sour cream, sauce, Parmesan cheese blended in food processor then topped with shredded cheddar cheese)
- as a dip for cheese, bread sticks, pizza crust or chicken wings
- as a pizza sauce
- an olive tapenade (sauce, chopped olives, roasted red peppers, capers, fresh parsley) served with crackers
- an ingredient in soups, stews, breads or biscuits
- as a spread in panini
- a base for baked beans and sloppy joes