This recipe has been in the Magyar family for generations and we are thrilled to be able to share it. This process is a family event that happens every year around labor day. It is a base tomato sauce that many different flavorings can be added to. It makes delicious chili, spaghetti, goulash, Tikka Masala sauce and SO much more!
- 1 Bushel of Roma Canning Tomatoes
- 1 Bag of Yellow Sweet Onions
- 4-5 Green Bell Peppers
- 1 Package of Celery
- 1 Cup Lemon Juice
- 2 Cups White Sugar
Approximately 25-30 Quarts
- Food Processor
- Pressure Cooker
- Food Grade 5 Gallon Bucket
- 30 Quart Sized Mason Jars
- 30 Lids + Rings
- Funnel & Coffee Cup
- Measuring Cup
- Jar Lifter & Pot with Handle(s)
The day before you can, you’ll want to to do some prep work. The first step is always to sanitize your jars. The absolute easiest way to do this is to simply run them through your dishwasher on a high heat setting, this is more than enough to kill any bacteria that might be lingering on your jars.
For the lids, it’s best to pop them in a pot of boiling water and then safely remove them with tongs before you start canning. The rings you will be using to hold the lids on do not need to be sanitized.
You’ll also want to chop up all of your veggies (the onions, peppers, and celery) using your food processor and store them in Ziploc bags.
A note on purchasing your tomatoes: I highly recommend purchasing them from a farmers market or equivalent. If you buy these at the grocery store your tomatoes will be very pretty, but very expensive. They’re going to get chopped into oblivion, and you’ll also be supporting your local farmer!
Step 1- Mixing Everything Together
Working half a bushel of tomatoes at a time, first, you will want to rinse off your tomatoes well to make sure they are free of any dirt or debris. This is especially important since, for this recipe, the skins will be left on. Not only does it add great texture the sauces, it also leaves valuable nutrients in tact.
Next, you will want to use a sharp knife to take the tops and core out of your tomatoes. From there, slice them into manageable chunks and pop them into your food processor. Depending on how you like your sauce, you can either process them into more of a liquid or leave more of the tomato chunks. It’s delicious either way, but our family prefers a rougher chop on the tomatoes. Keep adding your tomatoes into a 5-gallon food grade bucket until you’ve processed the half bushel of tomatoes.
A quick note on that food processor blade: That thing is sharp!! Make sure you keep a hold on the top of it while dumping out the tomatoes into the bucket.
Once you’ve got all your processed tomatoes in a bucket, the next thing you’ll want to do is add your vegetables, sugar, and lemon juice. The measurements don’t have to be precise; add roughly half of each the green peppers, onions, and celery, to the mix. You’ll also add a cup of sugar, and 1/2 cup lemon juice per half bushel. Stir until well incorporated, reaching from the bottom of the bucket with your spoon as you go.
Step 2- Putting the Tomatoes In Jars
Begin filling your jars with tomato mixture. The easiest way we’ve found to keep this clean is to use a funnel and scoop the mixture into the jars using a coffee cup. Fill the jars to just below the lip (where the bottom of the ring would hit if it were screwed on fully). If for some reason you overshoot how much to add, remove some tomato using a spoon. Place the lids on and tighten the rings on as best as you can. Once the jars filled and lids are on give them a quick wipe down with a damp cloth to iminimize the sticky factor.
Step 3- Pressure Canning Your Stewed Tomatoes
Place 2 quarts of water in the bottom of your pressure cooker. Fit as many jars as you can without crowding. We used two at once, and each one fit 5 quart sized jars comfortably. Using high heat, place your pressure cookers’ settings to 10 pounds of pressure. Once you hear it start to jiggle, cook for 15 minutes. You may need to release some steam from time to time using a fork or tongs, depending on your model. The pressure canners will not release their lids until all the steam is safely released. As you continue to repeat the pressure cooking process make sure to add a little more water to replace the water that has evaporated.
Step 4- Removing The Jars & Cooling
Once you can safely open the lid, these jars will be HOT. Very, very hot. The best way to transfer them is using a jar lifter, place the jar directly into a pan and onto a counter space lined with towels to absorb the heat. Once the pan is safely down, use the jar lifter again to place the jar safely on to the towel.
It’s not unheard of for jars to break, either in the pressure cooker or during the transfer process. If one of the jars happened to bottom out and splash liquid all over you, you’d be going straight to the emergency room. PLEASE take these precautions!
As the jars cool, you will notice separation happen where there is yellowish clear liquid at the bottom and the tomatoes at the top. This is normal! Your jars should have a tight seal around the lids. When you go to use them, the best way to open them is to run the lids under very hot water while tapping the handle of a butter knife around the edge. This expands the metal and loosens the seal enough to open them easily (and also works for other stubborn jars!).
We’re hard at work editing an instructional YouTube video of this entire process! We’ll add it right here when it’s finished!
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