I have an old family recipe to share with you. With tomato season coming up, you want to be prepared with great ways to use them. This is called "Chili Sauce," but the name belies it's use. This piquant sauce is best used with pork roast or other meats. It is thick and chunky, like a salsa, but that's where the similarities to salsa end.
12 to 14 pounds of ripe tomatoes
2 bunches celery, chopped
3 onions, chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
½ tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons cinnamon
¼ cup salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 quart cider vinegar
Remove skins from tomatoes, cut up and place in a large enameled pot with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. (Use your own judgment as to how thick you want the sauce.) BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN! Use a heat diffuser under the pan and stir periodically to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Canning instructions: Sterilize pint mason jars, covers and rings. Ladle chili sauce into jars, wipe the top edge of the jar clean, put on the lids and securely tighten the rings. Check the next day for any lids which have not sealed, by loosening the rings and testing the seal.
Personal additions to this recipe:
My mother and I make one batch of this each year. I do it just for the scent that fills the house. We use the quilted pint sized jelly jars so that you only have a small amount open at one time. We give jars of this to family members who don't preserve, as Christmas gifts.
We have learned, by trial and error, to begin the preparations around 5 or 6 in the morning. My job is to peel and chop the tomatoes. The easiest way to do this is to bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, and dip four to six tomatoes into the water for 10-15 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon or a sieve, and plunge them into cold water. Then, you can pierce the skin and peel it off. Discard the skin or add it to your compost pile.
I cut the tomatoes in half and cut the core out. Then I cut the halves crosswise. Each chunk gets cut into thirds, so that each tomato is now in twelve chunks. This is not critical, but you ultimately want bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, my Mother is chopping the celery, green pepper and onion. We have discovered that this recipe takes ALL DAY to cook if you only use one large stockpot. Since we have more than one enamel stockpot, we have taken to dividing the ingredients into two of them so that we can cook and can this all in one day.
If you have never canned before, I recommend the Ball Blue Book, from the makers of the Ball canning jars, or a wonderful book called "Stocking Up," by Carol Hupping. You can get excellent basic instructions for canning from either. My mother chooses not to give this sauce a boiling water bath. She feels it is so acidic, with the quart of vinegar, that it won't support bacterial growth. Since we give the sauce as gifts, I prefer to be safe, so I immerse the closed jars in a boiling water bath for at least 15 minutes.
If you have a dishwasher, and the water in your hot water heater is set high enough, you can sterilize the jars in the washer just before you fill them. The jars should be clean, dry and hot.
Mother uses this on roast pork, and occasionally uses left over pork mixed with chili sauce as a spread for lunch.
I hope you try this, and enjoy it!