Bottled tomatoes in their own sauce
( MAKES 4 x 500ml jars )
Photo by Tamara West
At peak season, ripe tomatoes have an intensity of flavour matched only by their abundance.
- Place the roughly chopped tomatoes in a heavy-based saucepan and place over a low heat. Add the onion, herbs and lemon juice. Season with salt and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is very soft, 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the cores from the stem ends of the whole tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for about 6 seconds to loosen their skins and then drop into cold water to arrest cooking. Peel, halve and deseed tomatoes. Add seeds with their juice into the sauce.
- Prepare a water bath — fill a large saucepan with a lid with enough water to cover the jars by 2-3cm. Place a rack (trivet) on the base or you can scrunch up a couple of old tea towels and place in the base for sitting the jars on to prevent cracking. Heat water until almost boiling.
- Sieve the tomato sauce to remove skin and seeds. Press hard on the tomatoes and onion to extract maximum flavour. Return to the saucepan and heat until boiling.
- Pack halved tomatoes into sterilised hot jars.
- Fill each jar almost to the top with the sauce, ensuring tomatoes are covered. Tap jars on the bench top to remove air bubbles or run the blade of a knife inside the jar, pushing liquid in to air bubbles. Wipe the jar rims. Cover with metal seals and screw on the bands. Lower the jars into the water bath. Put the lid on the saucepan and heat rapidly to boiling point, then reduce heat to maintain a steady boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes, checking a jar after 15 minutes to see if the tomatoes look cooked. Remove jars to a board to cool. Remove screw band when a seal is formed i.e. the dome is depressed.
- Wipe and dry jars, label and store in a cool, dry and dark place.
- Add ½ teaspoon sugar to tomato sauce to really bring out the tomato flavour.