Summer is in full swing and that means gardens are producing plenty of fresh produce. We've been getting a lot of produce in our weekly CSA and my garden is starting to show signs of vegetables growing. Since we live in a town where it's cold until May, my garden often blooms and produces well after most others do.
I'm still in full on canning mode. I started canning in 2011 because I received a Ball® Home Canning Discovery Kit which includes a canning rack, some jars with lids, and a recipe booklet to get you started. I also received the Blue Book Guide to Preserving which is still my favorite canning book. I've received several others over the years but the Blue Book is a simple guide with the easiest (and best!) recipes.
My first canning project of the season was BBQ sauce. It was on my 33 while 33 list and since my birthday is in July, I needed to make this. Tomatoes are just starting to come into season, but it's easy to leave the tomatoes for several days until they are almost overly ripe and perfect for canning. Alternatively, if you don't have fresh tomatoes (try to get them!) you can use 3 (28 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes.
This BBQ sauce is both sweet from the brown sugar and spicy from the jalapeno peppers. It does not taste like store bought BBQ sauce so if that's what you are looking for, this recipe isn't for you. I happen to think that this recipe is better then store bought. It has fresh tomatoes, celery, onion, and peppers as well as the jalapenos and brown sugar. It doesn't get much better then that! It was great to use as a dipping sauce for chicken and as a glaze when grilling. I'm trying hard to save a few jars for the winter but I'm not sure I'm going to make it!
- 20 c. chopped, cored, peeled, tomatoes
- 2 c. chopped celery
- 2 c. chopped onions
- 1 ½ c. chopped, seeded bell peppers (I used green and red)
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
- 2 ½ c. white vinegar
- 1 ½ c. lightly packed brown sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T. dry mustard
- 1 t. black pepper
- 1 t. red pepper
- 1 t. salt
- In a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes, celery, onions, bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently until vegetables softened, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a food processor in batches and process until smooth.
- Return the smooth sauce to the saucepan and add in half the vinegar and half the brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Cook for 45 minutes. The sauce should reduce.
- Add in the remaining vinegar and brown sugar, garlic, mustard, black pepper, red pepper, and salt. Boil gently, stirring frequently, until the mixture is the desired consistency. It will be similar to a thinner bottle BBQ sauce. This will take around 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare a boiling water canner, 8 half pint jars (or 4 pint jars), and lids.
- Ladle the hot BBQ sauce into the hot jars, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Remove the air bubbles and adjust the headspace as needed. Wipe the rims of the jars and place the lids on top. Tighten the screwbands to finger-tip tight.
- Place the jars in a boiling water canner, making sure they are completely covered by water. Bring to a boil. Process the half pints for 30 minutes or the pint jars for 35 minutes. Remove canner from heat and remove the lid. Wait for 5 minutes then remove the jars from the water.
- Let the jars cool for 24 hours then check to make sure the lids have sealed. Store for up to 1 year.
Source: Slightly adapted from Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving, 2006.