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Sweet and Sour Sauce (to Freeze or Can)

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My family goes through phases with eating certain foods, and lately they are all on an egg roll kick. My husband asked me to buy some sweet and sour sauce to go with the egg rolls, so I decided to look for a recipe. What would be even better would be if I could make a bunch and can it. Well I found this great recipe and it turned out to be just what I was looking for.

This recipe makes about 5 pints of sweet and sour sauce. You can either can it (instructions below), or if you don't want to can it, place it in freezer containers and freeze it until you are ready to eat it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 (20 oz.) cans pineapple chunks (drain, reserve the juice)
  • 2 cups bell pepper*
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/2 cup sugar or Stevia
  • 1/2 cup Clear Jel

Note: You can use any color of bell pepper you like for this recipe. I used yellow and orange bell peppers, and the sauce turned out to be a beautiful orange color, just like store bought sweet and sour sauce. I think if you used green peppers, the color of the sauce would change.

sweet and sour sauce

In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, combine chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, pineapple chunks, and chopped bell peppers. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and vinegar. Return to boil.

In a separate bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and Clear Jel. Clear Jel is the thickener for this recipe and will give you a nice thick sauce. You could also use cornstarch to thicken it, but if you are going to can this recipe you don't want to use cornstarch as it alters the cornstarch when you can it. However, cornstarch is fine for freezing. It is hard to find Clear Jel in stores, but you can order it from Amazon. It is great for making pie fillings for canning.

Stir the pineapple juice you saved from the can to the Clear Jel mixture and mix well. Stir the Clear Jel mixture into the boiling tomato mixture. The sauce will thicken quickly.

If you like a chunky sweet and sour sauce, then you can either can it now or let it cool to freeze it. If you want a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender to blend it right in the pan, or you can put it in the blender. I decided to blend mine and the immersion blender worked great.

If you are going to freeze the sauce, let the sauce cool and freeze it in freezer containers like these.

If you are going to can the sauce, pour the hot sauce into sterilized pint sized canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Process in a boiling water canner for 30 minutes. Remove jars from boiling water canner and let cool until lids seal. You can store these jars on your pantry shelf for several years. They also make a great gift!

And the taste? Oh my, it is really good. Really, really good! No need to buy sweet and sour sauce from the store again.

Copyright 2015, Creative Homemaking, LLC. This article may not be reprinted.

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Rachel Paxton
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