Two years ago I made the Relish, Sauce, and Chutney – All in One Day, from Barbar Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. We enjoyed all three products but the sweet & sour sauce and the chutney did not get used very fast. In fact, we still have a couple of jars of the chutney hanging around. The relish wasn’t getting used much either until we ran out of barbecue sauce and I realized I could puree it to make a sauce instead of a relish. So last year, I used the same recipe but just made barbecue sauce and got almost 15 pints. I figured there was no way we could use all that even with all of our brisket eating. Well, that was before we got a new grill and Papa perfected his pulled pork recipe. Oh. My. Of those almost 15 pints canned last year we have two pints left.
So, another batch of barbecue sauce was called for but this time with some doctoring. Now I don’t go around changing canning recipes willy-nilly, especially tomato ones. The only way to be entirely certain your changes still produce a safe water-bath canning product is to test the pH. This sounds intimidating. It really isn’t. You can get a fancy pH meter or you can pretend you’re in high school chemistry class and get some pH strips. Thats what I’ve done. Papa says the barbecue sauce needs more kick and his kick of choice — that he’s been adding every time we pop a jar — is tabasco sauce. Now really there is no fear in adding tabasco to any recipe since the primary ingredient is vinegar and vinegar has very high acidity. In fact, I tested the tabasco and the pH is too low to register on my strips — less than 3.4 in fact and below 4.6 is safe for water-bath canning.
FRUIT: 4 quarts tomato puree, 24 apples, 3 big onions
SOURCE: CSA farm stand
4 quarts tomato puree
24 coarsely chopped apples (I whirl mine through the food processor)
7 cups coarsely chopped onions
2 quarts cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
3 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup salt
1/4 cup tabasco, or other vinegar-based hot sauce
3 tsp. ground cloves
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. red pepper
2 tsp. mustard
Combine all the ingredients in your largest pot and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4 hours or until the sauce starts to thicken up. Watch for burning on the bottom of the pan.
When the sauce is close to the thickness you want carefully use your immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth. I suppose you could do this in a regular blender but be very careful blending hot liquids, they expand in a blender and can easily burn you.
I usually let it simmer for about 15 more minutes after I’ve blended it before processing.
Hot-pack and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes
YIELD: about 12 pints, you may get more or less depending upon how thick you like your sauce, I had 11 pints processed and about half a pint in the fridge