Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Questions And Answers

Many times during the week I get questions from my readers and I need a little more space than just a comment square so I thought I would share the answers with everyone. I think that these questions are good ones for everyone to be able to read and many do not go back and reread the posts to see those answers. I think I will start a weekly Q & A post. 

Can you please tell me how you season your spaghetti sauce? I am making tomato sauce for the first time as we have had an abundance of tomatoes this year. After cooking them down and blending them I am freezing unseasoned except for a little lemon juice for color. When I thaw I need a foolproof seasoning and I have learned soooo much from you and although there are a million recipes out there, I would like one from someone I know and trust! Thank you so much for all you do on your blog!

I can my tomato sauce unseasoned also. I add a touch of salt and lemon juice to my jars. Once I open a jar then I add what my family likes. I have never met 2 families that like spaghetti sauce the same way. You have to season it like your family likes it.  As for me personally I use some basil either frozen in olive oil cubes or dried from my pantry, same with oregano. My family also are huge garlic eaters. We put garlic in everything. I also think a little sugar helps to bring out the tomato taste. My family are really purists. They like chunks of onions sauteed and peppers either roasted and frozen or fresh frozen and sauteed in olive oil. I leave my veggies whole but you can also run your immersion blender through the veggies and puree them into the sauce. I usually add browned turkey or venison and homemade Italian sausage.

If you are looking for a set recipe I do not have one. I am not that kind of cook. Every herb is different depending on how I preserved it, the garden conditions that year and when I picked it and even what variety. So many variables. Some years my tomatoes are sweeter than others.

I saute my meat. Then my vegetables. Add my tomato sauce from jars and then start adding my seasonings about a 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Let it simmer on super low for about an hour and taste. If you need to add more seasonings then add another 1/2 teaspoon. Be very careful though because remember you can not take anything out.

I like to let my sauce set in the refrigerator for about 24 hours and then serve as I find the herbs and spices are mellowed by then and the taste is much better.

In Cajun Louisiana they get really creative with spaghetti sauce. You can find chicken spaghetti, pork chop spaghetti and even alligator or frog back spaghetti. Anything can be cooked down with that traditional red sauce that we associate with spaghetti.

My first husbands grandmother ( from Italy) cooked her spaghetti sauce it seemed for days. She always made from scratch and dried ricotta cheese to grate over the top and dropped eggs into her sauce. Her sauce was to die for!

At the risk of repeating myself. Find what your family likes, develop it and stick with it. For me recipes are guidelines to making something but not set in stone. I think so many cooks are afraid to experiment and truly make a recipe their own.

Can you tell us more about your vacume sealer??

 April my present Vacuum sealer is a FoodSaver V840. This is actually the second sealer that i have owned. years ago we bought our first sealer from Walmart. After a short period of time it ceased to work. It was still under warranty so my husband called Foodsaver. They said that the model that we had bought was made exclusively for Walmart and had some sort of problem from the factory. So they sent us this machine as a replacement. It has held up fine for many ears now with very few problems. And my sealer does get a workout. It is used 12 months out of the year and many months used very hard especially around harvest and butchering time.  It is by no means a fancy or expensive machine but just a middle of the road everyday model. 
What a fabulous post. I especially like your recipe for apple pie filling. I've never seen clear jell, can you suggest an alternative?

ClearJel is a type of corn starch that can be cooked with fruit as a thickener to make pie filling then recooked ( baked )  and keep it thick consistency yet remain shelf stable. You can find ClearJel online at Amazon.com. It does run about $8 a pound. 

As an alternative I get perma Flo from the Amish. It is a very similar product again made from corn starch and gives similar results.

Below is a link to using Perma Flo to make pie filling. Just use this technique with my recipe!

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. I like the Q&A post idea! Good info! thanks

  2. The Q & A is a great idea; looking forward to reading this every week!

  3. I bought my foodsaver a couple years ago after seeing your posts and I use it year round. I am not a fan of many "modern" kitchen do dads but I consider this a basic for my kitchen. Thanks again. Also when making spaghetti sauce I always make enough for an army (I think most of us do that) and then freeze the leftovers for quick winter meals. Today I will pick wild apples (from farms of old, now left wild in the woods)and start the process of making applesauce and pies. No tomatoes for us (I have whined and whined about that long enough) but when God gives us lemons we make lemonade, right? lots and lots of lemonade!! lol!

  4. Thank you so much for this post. Please - Please do a Q&A weekly. I too read your blog daily and trust and appreciate your wisdom and advice and would love to see you answer questions in a weekly post. Thanks, Cindy from Alabama

  5. You do teach us all a lot. Thank you.

  6. I was so tickled to see my question up on your blog! Thanks so much for the answer and I appreciate the encouragement to experiment. I think that I am kind of scared to be a little creative but at least I know the basic seasonings. Love your blog!!!!

  7. What a great idea! I'm sure I have many of the same questions as your other readers, so I can't wait to see more.

    I just got a foodsaver this spring - I used our Costco rewards check, so it was essentially FREE (if you don't count all the stuff I earned rewards on, lol). It's been sitting in the box ever since b/c I haven't made time to figure it out. I'm sure it won't be as complicated as I'm worried it will be. I just have to make myself sit down & do it.

    Thanks for all the great info!


Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry, but I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever (abusive, profane, rude, or anonymous comments) – so keep it polite, please. Also I am not a free advertisement board if you want to push a product on my comments I will delete you fast !!!

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