It is that time of the summer harvest season when the tomatoes are causing their vines to droop, heavy with the green and red fruit. Sometimes it’s hard to find new ways to use these delicious, juicy delights but why not use them in a way that you can enjoy them when fresh tomatoes aren’t so plentiful……during those late fall and winter months. Jeff and I have always canned our homemade Italian Sauce but we were looking for something a little different to have from time to time. Problem solved when my eye was drawn to the Better Homes & Gardens “Canning” Magazine on the shelf at the grocery. I knew I would find some great new preserving recipes in their latest publication!
Now before we look at the actual recipe, I want to give you a little tomato tutorial that will come in handy when preparing this sauce. The first ingredient is 12 pounds of fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled (it makes 6 pints). Peeling the tomatoes is very easy with this simple process.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice and water and set it next to the stove. Working in batches, drop several tomatoes into the boiling water.
Watch for their skins to start to wrinkle and split, 45 to 60 seconds, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the ice water bath.
Once cooled, transfer the tomatoes to a large plastic container. Continue working in batches until all the tomatoes have been poached. Use your fingers or a paring knife to peel back the tomato skins.
Next, to finish the tomatoes for the recipe, core the tomato and then chop into small pieces.
Now, this next hint is not part of the recipe but I have now made it twice and learned that is a little trick to get just the perfect thickness to the sauce. The first time I made the recipe, I followed it exactly. It took quite longer than the recipe stated for my sauce to thicken and I figured out the problem. I had too much juice! The next time I made this, I drained the tomatoes from their juice and reserved it so I could add it back in if needed. It was the perfect solution because I had excellent thickening results the second time!
Spicy Garlic Marinara
- 12 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, chopped, and drained (reserve your juice)
- 1/3 cup minced garlic
- 3 to 4 fresh red cayenne chili peppers, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of kosher salt
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, snipped
- 1/2 snipped fresh Italian parsley
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice (only needed if you are canning)
Place tomatoes into a 8-10 quart stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy pot.
Stir in garlic, chili peppers, sugar, and salt.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours or until mixture reaches desired consistency.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into each of six hot sterilized pint canning jars.
Ladle hot sauce into jars with lemon juice, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.
Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 35 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling).
Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.
Cool sauce completely and pour cooled sauce into jars. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.
Bottom Line: We loved this recipe! I was expecting it to be spicier but it was actually just perfectly tangy so even if you aren’t fond of heat, I would definitely still use the cayenne peppers. I plan on using this sauce for not only pasta marinara, but chicken parmesan as well! It has so many different uses! Let me know if you try this recipe in your kitchen and until next time…”Keep on Cookin’!”