French beans, 3 big handfuls, topped and tailed
Creamed tomatoes, 2 x 500gms packs (Smooth, thick, sieved tomatoes. Good, cheap passata!)
Garlic cloves, to taste (I’d use 5 or 6)
Generous splash olive oil (4-5tbsps. Virgin recommended)
Sugar (1 dessertspoon approx – again, keep checking to get the taste you want)
3 cook-in sauce jars
- Make tomato sauce by crushing garlic and salt, frying in lots of olive oil, without colouring. Add creamed tomatoes, salt and sugar and bring all to the boil. You only need to bring it to the boil at this point, as it will undergo further cooking during the processing time.
- Thoroughly wash jars and lids (which must have safety buttons). Sterilise jars by putting in an oven at 100C for 10 minutes. Put lids in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. The pressure cooker will need a trivet in the bottom; the jars shouldn’t touch the bottom of the pan, or each other. Get boiling water ready. The key to success with this process is to make sure everything is as clean and hot as possible, and that it all flows through in one smooth movement.
- Loosely pack the hot jars with the beans. Put in half the sauce, then squeeze in a few more beans until the jar is tightly packed. Top up with hot sauce. Give it a good shake, or poke around with chopstick, or similar, to make sure there are no air pockets. Fill it right to the top and apply lid, screwing on tightly.
- Make sure the water is boiling in the pressure cooker and position jars as in pic below – not touching each other. Put on the lid and bring up to pressure. Pressure cook for 40 minutes. The pressure should be gentle, but not allowed to drop at any time. After 40 minutes, turn off and carefully remove from heat. Allow the pressure to drop in its own time. I leave it for half an hour or so before removing the pressure cooker lid. Forcing things at this point can cause a pressure difference that makes the sauce squirt out! Undesirable.
- Sit back with a cool drink and await the delightful ‘pop’ from each jar as it seals. Any jars that don’t ‘pop’ and suck the safety button down should be refrigerated and used within a week. In truth, they’d probably last much longer than that – everything is sterile, after all – but, just to be on the safe side.