Canning, Canning, Canning – and a New Kitchen Gadget

We have been canning like crazy, and it looks to continue for another few weeks at least.

I am not big on kitchen gadgets.  I find that they take up space in the cabinets and only get pulled out on rare occasions for the specific special thing they are used for.  However, occasionally I find a kitchen gadget that I feel is worth it and earns its keep in the cabinet.  This week, we added one of those to our kitchen.


We had such a bumper crop of tomatoes this year that we decided that in addition to eating them fresh and canning them whole stewed, like we have always done previously, we would also make marinara sauce with them and can it.  Little did I know how time-consuming making marinara sauce is when you don’t have the right equipment.

We washed and chopped the tomatoes, added them to the other ingredients and simmered it all for 20 minutes.  Then we scooped them into the food processor, buzzed it, poured it out, and repeated that process about a zillion times (it took about an hour).  Then we pushed them through a mesh strainer with a wooden spoon to remove all the seeds and skins – this took about an hour and a half.  Then we simmered it down for about 5 hours to reduce it by half and thicken it.  And then we canned it and were dismayed to find that after over 8 hours of work all we had to show for our efforts was 5 pints!  😦

So after getting really frustrated and saying I would never make marinara sauce again, I calmed down and decided to call my friend who is my go-to for all things kitchen related and ask her if there was an easier way.  She, of course, knew of a much easier way – a hand-crank sauce maker.  The next day, with new gadget on hand (we got the Norpro brand one because it was what was available at a store close by), round two of marinara sauce making ensued.

We again chopped the tomatoes, added them to the other ingredients and simmered it all for 20 minutes.  Then we put them into the hopper of the sauce maker and cranked.  Out one place came the tomato juice and puree – much thicker than what we were getting before, and out another place came the skins and seeds which looked squeezed dry with not a bit of good tomato left on them.  It was awesome!  And it only took 15 minutes to complete the whole process!  Then we simmered down the sauce to reduce it by half, but we found that it was so thick that we didn’t need to reduce it as much and thus it took a lot less time, at only 3.5 hours.  Then when we canned it we were shocked with the results – because of the efficiency of the machine at getting more out of the tomatoes and the fact we didn’t have to reduce it as much we ended up with 11 pints!  In about 4.5 hours!  So over twice as much in just over half the amount of time!!!

And as an added bonus, it doesn’t just make marinara sauce…we used it to make applesauce the week after and quickly and easily canned all the applesauce we need for the year.  We didn’t even have to slice and core the apples.  All we had to do was cut them up,

cook them until very soft,

and then put them through the machine.

The skins, cores, and seeds came out one spot, and the applesauce the other.  We put the skins, cores, and seeds in our fermenting crock to make apple cider vinegar for the year – no waste!  We canned 65 jars of applesauce over a 2-day period and got them put up on the shelves for winter.

As a side note, as you see in this picture, we use tattler reusable lids.  We have been using them for 5 years now and continue to be very happy with them.  I just wish I had more!  I need to add to my stock because I don’t have enough to keep up with all the canning we do so I always end up buying some metal to finish off each year.  You can read the review I did on these lids by clicking here.

Overall, a wonderful learning experience and a great new gadget to make our canning easier and more efficient.

7 thoughts on “Canning, Canning, Canning – and a New Kitchen Gadget

  1. I LOVE our Victorio strainer. It looks very similar to yours. Use it all the time when I’m making sauces of all sorts. I’m so glad you got one. I consider ours nearly as essential to preserving food as a canner! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not sure exactly why they work so well for some people and not as well for others. If you read back at the linked review from 5 years ago you can see the exact steps we do. I am guessing the trouble comes with the tightening before it goes into the canner and then when it comes out as well. After we fill them before they go into the canner we only tighten fingertip tight, and then right after we take them out of the canner we tighten them down fully tight. My husband always has more seal failures when he cans with them than I do, and my son never ever has any at all. I really think it must be getting just the right fingertip tightness before, and then full tightness after. I think my husband tightens them too much before. Hope that helps and you can get them to work for you, because when they work they are SUCH a blessing!


      • I think you’re probably right. I just haven’t figured out the tightness yet. I thought I had followed the steps to a tee, but I think a lot of times it’s more of an art than science!


  2. That is a lot more work than I put into it. I just slice through the skins of the tomatoes (just so that there are not big pieces of skin) and stew the tomatoes before canning them. I do not add spices or anything. I just put in a slight bit of salt to help preserve color, but even that is not required. All the herbs and other vegetables get added when the stewed tomato sauce gets used. The herbs and garlic are better than way anyway. Herbs and spices do not need to be canned because they are mostly dried. Garlic and onion can be added if I think there might not be any available later. (I think they taste better if cooked into the sauce later.) I have never strained marinara sauce.
    For the apple sauce, I just peel and core the apples, steam them in their own juice slightly, and then mash them with a potato masher. The cores and peels might get stewed for pectin extract to make jelly and jam with the spring fruits the following year. (I put pectin in those funny little four ounce jars, or half pints.)


  3. My mind is blown with the apples! I peeled & cut up apples last yr til my hands felt bruised…..11 pints! I will check that gadget out. And I’ll check out those reusable lids. I’ve never heard of them!


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