Anyhow, this year things are going to be so much easier and faster because my father in law bought an electric tomato saucer. He's been talking about getting one for a few years, but I never thought he was serious, until this arrived at his house the other day. I couldn't wait to take it out of the box and put it together. I think it is for professionals, because the directions were minimal on assembly and there were no directions on how to use, so I just had to figure it out. I took it home the next day to my house to try it out. Granted he didn't buy it for me, he bought it for himself, but I sort of just helped myself to it, with the intent on making him a few batches of sauce in exchange for letting me use it for all my sauce making days ahead.
I had my sister Francie come over to help me, she was pretty excited to try it out too, until I told her the sauce wasn't for us. But she agreed to help anyway, knowing that we would soon be making sauce for ourselves.
The first time was a bit messy and a little trial and error to get the process down. Luckily it was the day before my housekeeper came, so she cleaned up the mess for me the next day. Anyway, I had to stand on a stool to feed the tomatoes in because the sauce machine was so tall, and we had to put the pot on top of boxes to catch the sauce underneath the drip pan. So Francie washed the tomatoes and I fed them into the machine. It made the sauce super fast. The way I have been doing it for the last 3 years is with a plastic hand crank saucer that suctions to the counter top and by the end of the day my arms are killing me. This is much easier and faster.After you have a full pot of sauce you bring it to a boil and let it cook down for a bit and then ladle it into hot jars. I first washed the jars in the dishwasher, then put them in the oven at 175 degrees to keep them hot. This saves you from having to process the sauce in a hot water bath. HUGE TIMESAVER! (thanks for the tip mom)Each jar gets a teaspoon of salt and a few basil leaves and then the rims wiped clean, a hot lid put on and that's it. Just wait for it to pop so you know it seals. It usually takes an hour or so for the lid to pop. We made 18 jars the first night, and then the next day we did it again, and made 36 jars in just 2 hours from start to finish. This is how my father in law likes his tomatoes, he prefers to flavor it when he makes it. I prefer to make the sauce ready to eat before canning so all I have to do is open a jar and pour over noodles. So when I make my sauce it will take a little bit longer. But still the saucer is going to save me tons of time. Today when Todd was home for lunch I said something about how the sauce was for his dad and he said "what? your not keeping it for yourself?" I said no, I like to flavor the sauce before canning so it's ready to eat. He said "Oh, I thought you finally figured out that this [the way his dad does it] is the way your supposed to do it." I guess he is partial to his dad's sauce recipe. I haven't tried it because it has meat in it, but if it's anything like his vegetarian eggplant sauce he makes (which I am trying to convince him to give me, so I can make a big batch and can it), I can't say I blame him.