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Family Recipe Friday - Nonna's Sauce

(This post is from my archives as I'm busy canning this year's harvest, hope you enjoy!)
It's harvest time, and that means for me canning season. Every year at this time, I turn approximately 4 bushels of tomatoes in tomato sauce. I know for many of you the idea of canning your own fruits and vegetables is an arduous task. However, in the middle of winter when I'm enjoying the fruits of my labour, and the hardwork is behind me, I'm am grateful for having done the task.

The ritual of canning my own tomatoes each fall is a salute to my Italian mother-in-law, and the generations of women who came before her. I'm sharing with you today her recipe for canning tomato sauce. I consider this recipe to be my greatest treasure. Nonna passed away several years ago and it was the quick thinking of my sister-in-law to it write down her recipe and her knowledge, all inherited bits of information from her mother and grandmothers. Josephine was born in  Caserta, in the Campania region of Italy. My sister-in-law and myself took our turn learning the ropes and I continue the tradition today.

Today, with so much talk of eating healthy and clean,  there is no better time to consider turning back the clock to the days of our ancestors and take up the lost art of preserving and canning our own fruits and vegetables.

Nonna's Sauce

  • Your tomatoes should come fresh from your local farmer if not from your own garden. Roma tomatoes or if you can get your hands on San Marzano tomatoes are ideal.
  • Wash your tomatoes genereously, remove the stem and any dark or white spots.
  • Hand cut the tomatoes and put them into a blender.
  • Pour the blended tomatoes into the separating machine. This machine will separate the skin and seeds on one side and send the juice in a pot on the otherside.
  • Once you have filled a large pot with juice you can begin boiling it on the stove. You can add some salt at this time. This juice will boil for a couple of hours until you are happy with the consistency.
Meanwhile I wash my jars and lids in the dishwasher on the sanitize setting. If they finish before the sauce I will then hold them in the oven keeping them warm and sanitized until the sauce is ready. The lids I boil on the stove and hold in the hot water until ready to jar.

Before you jar place 3-4 fresh basil leaves (from your garden) and fill the jars with the hot sauce. Leave at least 1 inch head room. Attach lids and secure tightly, turn upside down to sit and seal.

When you are ready to use your sauce.

Saute up a little chopped garlic in olive oil, add a jar of sauce, let simmer for 20-30 minutes adding again some fresh or "frozen fresh" basil about 1/2 way through your cooking time along with kosher salt to taste.

This will make a lovely marinara sauce for your favourite pasta.