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Mom's Chili Sauce

*This is a recipe that I posted last year but I thought it was quite fitting to re-post it, as tomatoes are coming out my ears and I'm sure your garden is doing the same!!

There is nothing better than walking into the house on a cool, crisp, fall day and being met with the familiar, comforting smell of a big kettle of chili sauce gently simmering on the stove...that to me, signifies the start of autumn. My Mom always had a beautiful vegetable garden that produced a bounty of goodness that she lovingly prepared and preserved into an array of delicious treats that would last us all winter long. My Dad, who didn't even like chili sauce, couldn't wait for the canning season to begin, just to enjoy the sweet, spicy aroma that would linger in the kitchen, long after she was done.

To make my Mom's chili sauce, you will need 32 good sized, ripe tomatoes...scald, core and peel (see previous post on how to peel a tomato if you are unsure and no wise cracks if you already know).

Cut the tomatoes into chunks and toss them into a large preserving kettle or a big stew pot. (okay, this is just a bowl and not a preserving kettle but I wanted to show you my cut up tomatoes! Lol! )

Meanwhile, chop 2 large green and 2 large red bell peppers, 2 large onions and 4 stalks of celery into fairly small chunks...

...then, dump it all into the pot with your tomatoes and stir.

...add 2 cups of white vinegar,

2 Tbsps. of salt (I just used table salt here),

...and 1 1/3 cups of brown sugar.

Stir until the salt, vinegar and sugar are all mixed in.

Next, prepare a "spice bag" by measuring out 6 tbsps. of pickling spice on to a square of cheesecloth...I folded a large square of cheesecloth over a few times for thickness.

Tie up your spice bag with kitchen string so it is nice and secure!

Drop the spice bag into your pot of vegetables...

...then place on the stove set at medium/low heat, uncovered...

Allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 hours.

The juices from the vegetables will evaporate and thicken the chili sauce as it simmers down....Remove the spice bag at any time during simmering to suit your taste...I leave mine in almost until the end.

Have about 11, 500ml. jars ready to fill. You will want to wash and sterilize your can do this in your dishwasher, boiling water or put them in a 200 degree oven to sterilize. Also, place the metal lid inserts in a bowl of hot water (not boiling) to soften the rubbber rings.

Fill your jars to about 1/2 inch headspace...

...wiping the jar rim with a clean cloth...any drips of sauce on the rim could hinder a proper seal.

Place the metal insert into the jar ring and screw on to the jar lightly, finger tight.

Place the jars in the canning rack of a preserving kettle that has been filled to about half with water.

Submerge the rack of jars into the water...the water should be about 1-2 inches above the lids. (You may need to add more water to the kettle if the jars are not completely covered). Cover the pot, turn the heat to high and bring the water to a full may turn the heat down slightly at this point but make sure the water stays at a gentle boil...process for 20-25 minutes.

Turn off heat (I forgot to turn mine off in this pic), remove lid and let jars sit in the water for about 5 minutes until the water settles down a bit (you don't want bubbling, boiling water splashing you!)

Remove the jar rack from the canner...

Let jars cool on the counter (not touching), for about 8-12 not tighten lids until they are completely cool. Store preserves in a cool dark place...if any jars do not seal, store them in the fridge or give them away for brownie points! Enjoy this sauce with roast beef, meatloaf, pork, sausages, eggs, cheeses...the options are endless for this fall favourite! :)

Mom's Chili Sauce

32 ripe tomatoes

2 large green peppers

2 large red peppers

2 large onions

4 stalks of celery

2 cups white vinegar

2 Tbsps. table salt

1 1/3 cups brown sugar

6 Tbsps. pickling spice

a large piece of cheesecloth

kitchen string

11, 500ml jars with lids

1. Scald, peel and chop tomatoes and put in a large preserving kettle or stew pot.

2. Chop peppers, onions and celery; add to pot.

3. Pour in your vinegar, salt and brown sugar stirring until all is combined.

4. Put the pickling spice onto your cheesecloth and use your kitchen string to tie it up into a "spice bag"...submerge this in your pot of vegetables.

5. Put on the stove, uncovered over medium/low heat and simmer for about 5 hours or until desired thickness has been reached (stirring occasionally).

6. Have your sterilized jars ready and fill each jar to about 1/2 inch head space...wipe rim of jar with a clean cloth and put lids on finger tight.

7. Process jars in a boiling water bath for about 20-25 minutes...remove from canner when done and let cool on the counter for about 8-12 hours, then tighten lids. Store in a cool, dark place...Enjoy! :)

* Makes about 11 (500 ml.) jars of chili sauce

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