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Monday, August 8, 2011

Life's lil ups and downs, making spaghetti sauce

And goodness knows I have my share of ups and downs this time of year. Woke up far too early this morning. Didn't sleep well last night. I cant drink coffee late like I used to. I guess that is because I haven't had Mt Dew in the house in nearly a month now. And I drink my 2 cups of coffee in the mornings and then drink water, Gatorade or lemonade the rest of the day till bedtime. I drank a cup of coffee last evening while we were working up the rest of those tomatoes and just was restless last night. Makes ya feel like crap the next day too. But none the less I got up early and had to get started in on the pasta sauce I had cooking down in the crock pot. Went out to check on that and it still seemed watery. I decided to take another approach in making sketti sauce. We had made 2 huge stock pots of tomato puree last evening and I was intending to drain the excess water off top the puree to make it quicker to cook down. But to my surprise there was not any on there. I did a lil experiment when we did the last tomatoes. I usually wash them well, core, cut in chunks then run thru the Squeezo strainer for juice or puree. Most of the clear liquid in homemade tomato juice come from the liquid in the seed pockets. So when I cut the tomatoes up last evening I squeezed them a lil after I cut off the tops and got most of the seeds out. This made for a much thicker juice and took a lot less time to cook down to a good consistency for sauce. This is my "recipe" for spaghetti sauce or more like method to my madness. Remove about 1 quart of puree from the container you are using to use later. I use the puree that is thick and add finely chopped onions to suit me, finely chopped bell peppers, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano and basil so the puree taste lightly seasoned. Note I say lightly seasoned because the herbs and such sometimes increase in potency when processed in a pressure canner. Let this mix simmer for a few minutes and taste. If it has a strong acid bite, add a lil brown sugar and taste as you add. Once the sauce taste like you want it too let it simmer while you make the thickening. At this point I added the sauce I had cooked in the crock pot to the kettle of puree and just mixed it in. I almost swear tomatoes vary from one season to the next depending on rainfall, heat and all kinds of things. So I cheat and add a lil cornstarch to the mix so it tightens the sauce up but not make it thick. Use the quart of puree you reserved (this depends on the size of kettle you are using)(I was making 20 plus quarts of sauce) and add cornstarch in the amount you think it would take to thicken you kettle of sauce and then slowly add a small amount of this slurry to the simmering puree. When the sauce has tightened up a good bit and is a consistency you like let it simmer while you brown your burger to add in. I used 5 lb of deer and beef burger for the 22 quarts of sauce I made today. Once the burger is brown add it to the puree. Now that you have the sauce made you can ladle it into jar, put lids on and process in pressure canner. (refer to the ball blue book for processing times for your area). I finally got done with all this about 3:30 this evening. Had a total of 21 quarts of canned spaghetti sauce and 1 quart for supper. It was really good.
This afternoon we got a good thunderstorm here. No damage , just plenty of rain. My poor Luna is so scared of storms. She was right beside me when I was outside before the rain came and when I opened the door to go in the summer kitchen she darted in beside me, which she never does, and went to the back corner and laid down. Her pitiful eyes begging me not to make her go out. Needless to say she stayed right there till the storm was over and then she willingly went out the door and on about her business.
It was far to muddy to pick tomatoes this evening so that is a task for tomorrow. Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

2 comments:

Deb said...

Oh, poor Luna. Crybaby is the same way. Glad ya let her stay!

thundercloud said...

Stella, thank you a million for sharing your sketti recipe, it sounds delicious! God Bless Mrs. Luna, much like her, I don't like thunder storms, either. Gracie