Fear not that your glut of raspberries, blackberries, courgettes or any other summer produce will be wasted – the delicious world of pickling and canning is opening up to you here. Pickles, chutneys, jams and various other methods of preserving are achievable with Wares of Knutsford’s massive range of jam jars for canning and all sorts of other preserving equipment. Apart from the classic jams, gluts of vegetables can be dealt with in chutneys, pickles and sauces, such as the versatile tomato sauce recipe seen below. If you have a healthy harvest you’ll need to consider a wide range of shapes and sizes of canning jars to make the best use of your different recipes.
Principles of canning jars
Canning and preserving is a science, but it is not complicated. The first idea is to heat the food to be preserved to destroy any nasty microorganisms within that could cause the food to spoil and make you ill. Secondly the jars must be hermetically sealed so that no air can get in and contaminate the contents. For this reason jars must always be sterilised just before using. A better result is achieved by canning the produce while it and the canning jars are still warm.
Canning jars of tomato sauce
A classic tomato sauce is not only a kitchen essential, it’s the best way to use up a bumper summertime harvest. It’s also beautifully simple.
- 800g fresh, ripe tomatoes of various sizes, shapes and colours
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
- Splash of red wine vinegar
To skin or not to skin is really a matter of personal preference. If you don’t like the skins on, drop your tomatoes in to a pain of boiling water for about a minute, then remove and the skins should peel off fairly easily. Chop the flesh roughly.
Heat the oil gently in a heavy based saucepan and cook the onion for about five minutes, or until it is translucent rather than coloured. Add the garlic and keep cooking for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to break up any larger lumps of flesh, then add the sugar, vinegar and season lightly. Simmer gently for about 45 minutes, until the sauce thickens, stirring regularly.
Allow to cool for a while before decanting into warm, sterilised jam jars for canning. Add a wax disc and seal well. The sauce should keep for up to a month in the refrigerator and can be served with pizza, pasta, meatballs or any number of other recipes.