Step 5: Cooking the Sauce
I started to cook down the sauce once I had half of a 5 qt pot. This meant I had to have another pot out on the deck to collect more pulp as I continued to roast and mill. I used a spatter screen to cover the pot so that steam could escape but sauce would not pop out all over the stove and me as the sauce thickened and the level of sauce in the pot rose as I added more pulp.
Between roasting and milling more tomatoes, I prepped the rest of the sauce ingredients. We like a zesty sauce so I added a cut up cayenne pepper to the usual garlic, basil, and oregano. I put a cup of pulp in the blender and pureed the herbs and pepper with it. I put in a half-cup of red wine vinegar for acidity and flavor contribution and salted to taste. During the final simmer (with all the pulp I was going to add), I put clean jars in the water bath canner with water to fill and cover and set that to heat to nearly a boil. I put the jar lids in a small metal bowl to cover with hot water from the canner once I got the jars out.
I use a ladle and jar funnel (another find from Lee Valley, but I've also seen them in stores that have canning supplies) to fill the jars, a small clean sponge to assure there's nothing on the jar lip, and my jar lifter to put the jars in the canner once the jar rings are on. I made and processed 6 pints of sauce at a time. Tomato sauce requires thirty five minutes of processing. I have a hand-wound timer that I use when I'm canning. I set it once the canner is boiling and can carry it with me.
I washed the pot and brought it back out to accumulate more pulp. When the sauce was processed, I had enough stock accumulated to make up 6 pints. The clean jars for that quickly heated in the water that the sauce jars came out of and were ready to fill by the time the stock had simmered.
I had lunch while beginning the simmer of my second batch of sauce. I was able to do another quick turnaround of jars once the stock was processed and the tomato sauce was finishing up.
I made 12 pints of tomato sauce in all.