Canning tomato sauce question (for digdirt)?

bart1(6/7 Northern VA)August 12, 2011

Digdirt/Dave -

In this thread (link at bottom)you posted a recipe for tomato sauce but also linked to a canning recipe on the NCHPF site that you liked:

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_03/spaghetti_sauce.html

I started to make that recipe last night and got all the way to the canning part, but then lost my nerve. I got confused/scared because there was no mention of lemon juice or citric acid. You simply cooked the sauce (tomatoes, garlic, onion, celery, oil, herbs) and canned it.

I've been canning for a few years (tomaotes only) but am still a novice, so I ended up just freezing the sauce.

Did the recipe leave out the citric acid or is it not required for some reason. To my novice way of thinking, if you need to add citric acid for fresh tomatoes, surely you must add it for tomatoes with the addition of all the other things mentioned above.

Can you or anyone else clear this up for me?

Thanks!

Bart

Here is a link that might be useful: Original sauce thread

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Bart - I understand your confusion and you aren't the first. :) But the NCHFP Spaghetti Sauce recipe is safe just as written. It has been extensively tested by USDA and NCHFP over the years and is one of the very few approved exceptions to the acidification and no-oil rules.

The big difference that makes it safe is the stipulation in the instructions that you may NOT alter any of the ingredient amounts and the longer pressure canning processing time at a higher pressure than plain tomatoes. Needless to say you may add citric acid or bottled lemon juice to it for an extra margin of safety if you wish but it isn't required.

I hope this answers your questions. If not, let me know.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:56AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Thanks Dave!

I have a related question. I have a favorite tomato soup recipe. It has tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. You roast everything in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour (until the skins blacken and rise up). You then pull the tray out of the oven, remove and discard the skins and mix/chop it up with a wand mixer or in a food processor.

At this point, I put it into plastic containers and freeze it, but I'm wondering if I could can it? It has basically the same ingredients as the above recipe except the onions and celery.

Would this be safe for canning? If no, would it be safe if I added citric acid?

Thanks again,
Bart

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 4:13PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

but I'm wondering if I could can it? It has basically the same ingredients as the above recipe except the onions and celery.

Personally I would probably be comfortable with it but my opinion and $1.25 gets you a cup of coffee when it counts and I sure wouldn't recommend it to others as safe.

The olive oil is VERY restricted in canning use can easily be left out but even with a detailed list of the exact amount of each ingredient there is simply no way to know for sure because it isn't a tested recipe so we'd just be guessing. #1 cardinal recipe of canning safety - You can't safely can your own made up recipes. Don't know the pH or the density, and density could be a real issue with this, so can't compute the PC processing time that would be needed.

Sure, if you added citric acid it would be safer but still no way to know if it would be safe enough. Stick with freezing. :)

Dave

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 7:17PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Remember that the recipe you asked about has been very precisely calibrated re proportions of ingredients and processing time.

When you start shifting things around, you can no longer be certain that the product is risk-free. There are just too many variables and sealing low-acid foods in jars is the last place to speculate about safety.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 7:45PM
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pixie_lou

Bart - I'm linking a thread to tomato soup recipes. The Katie C. recipe sounds similar to yours. You can always add dried oregano or other dried herb.

Good luck. If I have enough time and tomatoes - I'll probably try this recipe myself, though sub orange juice for the chicken broth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Soup Recipe Thread

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 9:43AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Thanks folks!

This seems more confusing than it needs to be, but I'm a newbie at this so maybe it is that confusing!!

I'm surprised there's not a program or formula that will calculate amounts and types ingredients and tells you how long to can for, or if you can even can it.

Oh well, I'll keep researching......and asking questions!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 8:20AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You can eliminate most all the confusion Bart if you stick with the approved canning recipes. There are plenty of them to cover most everything.

I'm surprised there's not a program or formula that will calculate amounts and types ingredients and tells you how long to can for, or if you can even can it.

There is no way to do that unless you assume
1) no bacteria - yeah, right :)
2) specific and stable pH for everything and that just isn't true since every food/ingredient has a range of pH and it doesn't remain stable during shelf storage - it rises
3) that density is not relevant to heat penetration - law of physics screws that assumption up
4) etc.

Get yourself a copy of The Ball Complete Book of Canning or So Easy to Preserve and one or two of the other books often recommended here for 100's of approved canning recipes.

Dave

PS: and keep asking questions too.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 9:57AM
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Riceloft(5b / NE Ohio)

Do these food safety concerns go away if you instead freeze the sauce?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:22PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Do these food safety concerns go away if you instead freeze the sauce?

For the most part, assuming the food in question is properly cooked prior to consuming. Acidity, density, and anaerobic environments aren't a concern in freezing as they are in canning. But freezing does not kill any bacteria, it only renders it dormant.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:14PM
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Riceloft(5b / NE Ohio)

Ok, good. So I can make sauce, freeze it, then cook it again and should be good to go to eat it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:18PM
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