BARBARA KINGSOLVER’S FAMILY SECRET TOMATO SAUCE
If you are canning, stick closely to the recipe; adding additional fresh vegetables will change the pH so it’s unsafe for water-bath canning. If you’re freezing it, then it’s fine to throw in peppers, mushrooms, fresh garlic, whatever you want. This recipe makes 6-7 quarts.
10 quarts tomato puree (about 30 lbs. tomatoes)
4 large onions, chopped
1 cup dried basil
1/2 cup honey
4 tbsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. ground lemon peel
2 tbsp. thyme
2 tbsp. garlic powder, or more, to taste
2 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Bottled lemon juice or citric acid – NOT OPTIONAL!
Soften onions in a heavy 3-gallon kettle – add a small amount of water if necessary but no oil if you are canning (VERY IMPORTANT!). Add pureed tomatoes and all seasonings, bring to a boil, and simmer on low heat for two to three hours until sauce has thickened to your liking. Stir frequently, especially toward the end, to avoid burning. Meanwhile, heat water in canner bath, sterilize jars in boiling water or dishwasher, and pour boiling water over jar lids.
Add 2 tbsp. of lemon juice OR 1/2 tsp. citric acid to each quart jar, (half that much for pint jars). This is to ensure the sauce will be safely acidic. When the sauce is ready, ladle it into the jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Put jars into canner and boil for 35 minutes. Remove, cool, check all seals, label and store for winter.