"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Canning: Spaghetti Sauce without Meat

Spaghetti Sauce without Meat
After dealing with tomatoes from my garden (took me several weeks to finally use them up!), my friend who works at Backyard Farms Tomatoes (a big greenhouse here in Maine that uses hi-tech to produce wonderful tomatoes picked at the peak of ripeness year-round) gave my mom several more boxes of these (those are three boxes stacked together).  While I made spicy tomato jams (for selling by my SIL) with my own tomatoes, these ones I turned to Spaghetti Sauce without Meat.
Tomatoes from Backyard Farms
I used the recipe from USDA's book on canning, which is also available online here. However, I deviated from the method (because I read in a foodblog) in that I roasted the tomatoes in the oven to get the skins to split so they would be easy to remove. It saves time too. I roasted 30 pounds of tomatoes in 45 minutes, then squeezed out the juice and most of the seeds and water before running them through the strainer. (Using the traditional method of blanching for 30 seconds then dipping in cold water then removing the skins, coring and seeding, it would have taken me the whole day for just those.
Tomatoes after roasting.
I got the courage to try again making spaghetti sauce this year when I finally ordered this vegetable strainer, an attachment to my old reliable Kitchen Aid mixer, which made it easier to remove skins and seeds. (In my second year of canning, the time I spent using the old-style food mill, I got discouraged to make spaghetti sauce again. On top of that, because it needed constant stirring, I would get it burnt, and the whole batch would taste awful!)
The whole food strainer attachment
By removing much of the seeds and water, I came up with juice that had a consistency close to that of tomato sauce. (I kept the juice that I squeezed out in a separate container and later canned that as well, or used in escabeche sauce or sweet chili sauce.)
The seeds and peel come out like sausages
I went ahead in boiling the tomato juice to reduce the volume.  While doing that, I prepared the other ingredients, being careful not to add more than what is asked for in the recipe for the fresh veggies. I did add more of the dry spices (I read somewhere that such dehydrated foods is less risky to increase in the recipes because they do not tend to increase the pH/alkalinity of the product, which would tend increase the likelihood of microbial growth. In sauteeing, I also used my very own rendered leaf lard (in case you tend to say, "Ewe!," pork leaf lard, especially coming from family-bred pigs, are very much coveted by chefs, and are very pricey. Try to google leaf lard and see for yourself.)
Sauteeing the other veggies
And as I mentioned above, making spaghetti sauce needed constant stirring. One gadget that encouraged me was this Ardente Stirrer, which just recently (this year) came out. (I remember I tried to look for a stirrer just a few months ago and all I could see was the Robo stirrer that just sort of vibrated on the pan to "stir.").  This gadget was run by 4 C batteries, which I changed after two whole days of using them for reducing tomato volume. It does a pretty good job. I only had to check every hour or so to see how low the volume was. I had no scorching of the bottom of the pot. Only negative was, the handles eventually curved upward (maybe because of the plastic heating up with all the steam) that it failed to keep itself "holding on" to the handles as it stirred. Hence, I tied them up with the string.
Ardente Automatic Stirrer
Ladled into hot sterile jars, I kept them hot by keeping the jars on my steamer. This is to avoid shocking them in the high heat of pressure canning. 
Ladling into hot jars
 I was able to come up with total of 5 quarts instead of 9 pints (equivalent to 4&1/2 quarts).
One inch headspace
I then pressure-canned for 15 mins at 11 PSI (pounds per square inch) in accordance with Table 1 in the guideline.  As you can see, mine is a dial-gauge. My husband was very kind to setup a propane burner out in our small garage so I don't tie up my stove while I process my jars in the canner.
In case you want to have a better idea of how to pressure can, this illustration from the same USDA site gives one a good idea.
My older son was excited to try the spaghetti sauce, so that he made meatballs from scratch (I asked him to look up the recipe, but he said, "I'll just wing it."  That Tuesday night I came home from work, my two sons have prepared spaghetti and meatballs for supper.  It was so gratifying! I felt so proud of my sons!

This canning post aims to introduce my readers to ideas on canning. A book and/or a DVD are available from the USDA website for those interested in learning how to can.

I just got a nasty comment by a certain Anonymous who chose to hide her identity.  She probably thought I would stop posting in my foodblog if she discourages me enough. She claims to have tried 3 recipes of mine and said "nothing came out good."  I'd say good riddance. As long as I have people who thank me for sharing my recipes, and share encouraging stories/photos of their own, whether on recipes I have here, or recipes they came up with because I inspired them, I will keep posting here. So, Anonymous, sorry to disappoint you, but you can't let me down with that lame comment of yours. I have had worse events in my life that I had to deal with and came out a winner (I don't always win, but I bow out gracefully when I am defeated). So here I am with another post. Dedicated to you. May you someday learn the skills to be a good cook or baker. Then maybe someday you will also be able to share your skills to the world. Be forewarned, though, that this post is not for the inexperienced nor one who does not have a good grasp of science behind cooking. One would also need lots of patience and perseverance for this project.


  1. hi manang,pano ba ma order po nyang mga gawa nyo?

  2. Wow Manang! this is so impressive! I'm not much into canning as I get so impatient, but with all these wonderful gadgets you use, they make canning seem easier. Take care and don't work too hard.

  3. Hello Manang,

    Since you are in a canning mode like me, try making achara next year using a vegetable called Trombocino. It is a high yielder Italian summer squash...the flesh is very much like our green papaya. A fellow gardener gave me a young Trombocino and I had a lightbulb moment and decided to turn it into achara. Before teh season was over, I made achara from 3 or 4 Trombocinos. If you google it, you will find out it is worth planting it for it yields a loooooot of acharas!

    I can salmon as well and turn them into Portuguese style sardines for my family prefers the olive oil sardinas.

  4. Hi ella11, I plan to create an etsy account so I can also sell some of my stuff...(just because I know we have more than what we can use for the whole year). However, just to forewarn you, the downside to getting homecanned goodies such as these is the pricey shipping cost. That's also what's usually keeping me from sending these as gifts by mail to some faraway friends. And I'm too stingy/frugal...hahaha!

    MaMely, That is so true. That was the reason why after the first try of spaghetti sauce making (back in 2005), this was only the second time I tried. With the strainer and the stirrer (both of which I just got this year), the work and time spent were cut in 1/3! Efficient at that as well, without burnt bottoms, as I said. So I was not working hard...I worked smart (as my husband would say). The stirrer was something I had been waiting for for years...needs some redesigning, though. I am going to write the maker of that to give a suggestion for improvement.

  5. betty q., thanks for the tip on Trombocino. It does sound very interesting, but I might plant only two (I googled and read that, like sayote, it can get very invasive and prolific!). I wonder how early I should plant it? I better plan ahead so I can order the seeds in time.

    Will you be generous enough to share your canning recipe for salmon sardines?


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