Canning tomato sauce, research and frustration
Ever since I started making our own tomato sauce I’ve wanted to can it instead of freezing it (like I do). And yes, technically you can, safely, can tomato puree. But the approved as safe recipes all tell you to add extra acid to the mix for safety. Since part of why we like our homemade sauce is the low acid this didn’t appeal to me. What I’ve never quite understood is why they tell you to add acid to the pressure canned version too. After all the whole point of the pressure canner is to do LOW acid stuff.
So this week I emailed the National Center for Home Food Preservation to find out WHY they tell you to add acid to the pressure canned version. The response was that the listed pressure canner version is just the equivalent of the water bath method (for folks who prefer to pressure can), not a low acid, safe from botulism, method. Personally if I can safely water bath can it I’m going to do that rather than haul out the pressure canner, but ok, I can see that.
But there’s an approved spaghetti sauce recipe, with very similar proportions, for pressure canning with no added acid. Is there any reason why I can’t just use those times to pressure can a low acid tomato puree?
The response had two parts, the first stated that since that hadn’t been tested with pure tomato puree she couldn’t say that was safe (which I can understand, after all, if she agrees with me that it’s safe and I do something stupid with it and get sick, or die, from botulism, she doesn’t want to get sued). But she should have just left it there. The next part stated that most likely the tomato puree is going to be thicker than the spaghetti sauce so THATS why its not safe, cause the thicker the sauce the harder it is to get the heat to the center of the jar right.
Look, the tomato sauce (which is pure tomato puree if you follow the instructions) recipe calls for 28 pounds of tomatoes to make 9 pints of sauce. That’s just about 3.11 pounds of tomatoes per pint of finished sauce.
The spaghetti sauce recipe calls for 30 pounds of tomatoes, plus other stuff, to make 9 pints of sauce. That’s 3.33 pounds of tomatoes, plus other things, per pint of finished sauce.
I highly doubt that the tomato puree is going to end up thicker than the spaghetti sauce……
I haven’t decided if I’m going to try canning my sauce or not this year (though I’m highly tempted). But I really dislike being given stupid reasons for why I shouldn’t do something…….