Canning enchilada sauce begins by creating the sauce using ripe tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, garlic, and spices. Once the sauce is cooked, hot pack it into sterilized canning jars and process it in a pressure canner or water bath canner for 25-55 minutes per altitude and canner type.
Is it Better to Water Bath Can or Pressure Can Enchilada Sauce?
Red enchilada sauce can be canned in a water bath or pressure canner, and the best method depends on the canner type you have. Pressure canning is recommended for sauces containing low-acid ingredients, such as green enchilada sauce.Print
What Ingredients Are Used for Making Canned Red Enchilada Sauce?
To make a batch of homemade red enchilada sauce, use the following ingredients:
- Red chiles: Choose dried ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, or New Mexico chiles.
- Tomato paste gives a depth of flavor and richness to the sauce and adds color.
- Fresh garlic cloves or garlic powder enhance the savory profile of the sauce.
- Chopped onion adds aromatic sweetness and texture.
- Cumin, oregano, and paprika add complexity and depth to the flavor profile.
- Vegetable or chicken broth enhances flavor and provides a liquid base for the sauce.
- Vinegar or lime juice is added to balance the flavors and provide tanginess.
Why Is Canned Enchilada Sauce Bitter?
Canned enchilada sauce can turn out bitter for a few reasons:
- If any of the ingredients are burnt or overcooked, it can taste bitter.
- Using an excessive amount of certain spices, especially ground cumin or chili powder, can lead to a bitter taste.
- Enchilada sauce typically contains acidic ingredients like tomatoes or vinegar; not balancing acidic ingredients with other flavors can result in bitterness.
How to Fix Bitter Enchilada Sauce
- If the sauce is too bitter, adding more liquid, like broth or water, can help dilute the bitterness and mellow out the flavors.
- Add a pinch of sugar, a teaspoon of honey, or a splash of maple syrup to balance out the bitterness.
- Add a little more salt to offset the bitterness of cumin or chili powder.
How Can I Fix Canned Enchilada Sauce that is Too Sweet?
If your canned enchilada sauce turns out too sweet, there are several ways to balance the sweetness and adjust the flavor:
- Adding acids, such as lime juice or vinegar, can counteract the sweetness.
- Add heat in the form of diced jalapeños, red pepper flakes, or a pinch of cayenne pepper can balance the sweetness.
- Salt can help counterbalance sweetness by enhancing other flavors in the sauce.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder or a dash of espresso powder adds depth, complexity, and bitterness that balances the sweetness.
- Add additional spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, or a savory spice blend like cumin or smoked paprika.
How to Thicken Canned Enchilada Sauce
Thickening canned enchilada sauce before canning is not recommended, as thick purees are unsafe for the canning process. However, you can take steps to thicken the sauce right before using it:
- Reduce the sauce. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer it uncovered over low to medium heat to reduce. This allows some moisture to evaporate, resulting in a thicker consistency.
- Create a slurry by mixing cornstarch or flour with a small amount of cold water until smooth. Add the slurry to the simmering sauce while stirring continuously. Cook for a few minutes so the starch thickens the sauce.
- Create a roux by combining equal parts flour and fat (such as butter or oil) in a separate pan. Cook over medium heat until it forms a paste-like consistency. Gradually whisk in small amounts of the canned enchilada sauce, allowing it to thicken before adding more. Combine the roux mixture with the enchilada sauce once the desired thickness is reached.
What are the Differences Between Canned and Fresh Enchilada Sauce?
Canned enchilada sauce is typically pre-made and processed, often containing preservatives and additives for longer shelf life. A store-bought sauce provides convenience and consistency in flavor but may lack the fresh, vibrant taste of a homemade sauce.
Fresh enchilada sauce is made from scratch using fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, chilies, onions, and spices, resulting in a more authentic and customizable flavor profile that can be tailored to personal preferences.
What are the Benefits of Canning Enchilada Sauce?
Here are the health benefits and conveniences of canned enchilada sauce:
- Consistency: Canned sauces offer a consistent flavor and texture, ensuring that each batch of enchiladas tastes the same.
- Convenience: Canned enchilada sauce provides a ready-to-use option that saves you time and effort in the kitchen, eliminating the need for extensive preparation and cooking.
- Cost-effective: Purchasing canned sauce in bulk or during sales can be cost-effective compared to buying fresh ingredients separately to make homemade sauce.
- Efficiency: Canned enchilada sauce eliminates the need to gather and measure individual ingredients, making it a convenient choice for quick and easy meal preparation.
- Preservation: Canning extends the shelf life of enchilada sauce for months or even years, reducing food waste.
How to Store Canned Enchilada Sauce
Follow these steps to store canned enchilada sauce:
- Keep the canned sauce in a cool, dry place with a stable temperature. Aim for temperatures between 50°F and 70°F.
- Store the cans in a pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and moisture.
- Place the cans in a single layer, preferably upright, to prevent them from rolling or getting damaged.
- Use the principle of “first in, first out.” Arrange the cans so that the oldest ones are at the front, making it easier to use them before the newer ones.
- Regularly inspect the cans for any signs of damage, such as dents, bulging, or leaks. If you notice any compromised cans, discard them immediately.
How Long Does Canned Enchilada Sauce Last?
Canned enchilada sauce has a shelf life of 1 to 2 years. The specific expiration or “best by” date can vary depending on the brand and the processing method. Any indications of spoilage, like an off odor, discoloration, or mold growth, mean you should discard the sauce.