Serbian Sataras ~ a tasty way of canning fresh tomatoes

canning sataras

Let’s talk canning fresh tomatoes. So you’ve made oodles of salsa and heaps of spaghetti sauce and slow-simmered marinara. Well, it’s time to break out and try canning fresh tomatoes in a whole new way.

Sataraš, pronounced sah-tah-rah-sh, is the Serbian equivalent of ratatouille and a scrumptious way to use up those last heaping bowlfuls of garden tomatoes. You know, the ones on the counter right next to the mountain of red peppers that you received from your dear ol’ over-achieving hobby gardener of a dad (aka my Tata whom I love dearly).

Between my own garden and his we have armfuls of fresh tomatoes and peppers to share with friends and neighbors. {I won’t even bother mentioning zucchini, though I just did.}

Since I can’t leave a bag of garden produce on your doorstep I’m doing the next best thing and sharing my sister’s wonderfully flavorful sataras recipe instead. Easy preparation with endless possibilities to put your own spin on it … if you happen to be one of those recipe-changer types. {Happy to have you in the club!}

Fresh tomatoes, red peppers and sliced onions are the three traditional and fundamental ingredients of Serbian sataras, though eggplant is a tasty addition. {If only I didn’t live with three eggplant nay sayers.}

The dish is prepared in layers, beginning with sweating onions.

satarash step 1

After these cook down and start to emit liquid, it’s time to add the next layer: sliced red peppers. {Like your food spicy? Go ahead and toss in a few hot peppers. }

sataras step 2

After the peppers have softened, add the diced tomatoes on top of the peppers – the final layer.

sataras - step 3

Let this cook on a low simmer, stirring after the tomatoes have emitted their juices are have began to cook down. Taste as you go and salt as you wish — but be mindful with the shaker. I also add a generous sprinkle of cracked black pepper, though my sister does not.  There are no defined rules here, let your taste buds be your guide. {If you’re planning on canning the sataras, add 1 to 1 -1/2 teaspoons of salt. That’s plenty to preserve it without sending the sodium level to the moon. }

cooking sataras

When the sataras has reduced to a rich ragout-style consistency, you’re ready to prep the canning jars and preserve this tasty garden goodness.

Serbian sataras

Now that you know how to make Serbian sataras, you may be wondering how to serve it. Quite simply, however your little heart desires! Not only is canning Serbian sataras an easy way  of preserving the taste of garden fresh produce, it is a delectable dish with endless uses. Add a generous spoonful to scrambled eggs, serve as a healthy side dish, or use as a topping for fish, chicken or pork.  {My family’s favorite preparation: pour sataras over browned pork chops and bake. Oooh so yummy.}

If canning isn’t your thing, follow my sister’s lead and freeze the sataras in whatever means you choose.  Her method of choice: freezing in 16oz cottage cheese containers. Hubby and I are annual canners and have been in a canning craze since the end of August. The canning kettle is parked on the counter with jars of all sizes covering the dining room table and boxes of lids and bands everywhere. It’s a good thing I’m not an overly obsessive neat freak or I’d be breaking out in hives by now. It’s also good that my Hunky Hubby doesn’t mind getting a steamy facial for weeks straight this time of year just as it is a good thing to have a willing over-achieving gardener at the ready to help peel and chop.  🙂

Happy canning, friends! Prijatno!

Serbian Sataras ~ a tasty way of canning fresh tomatoes
  • ⅓ C canola oil
  • 4-5 onions, sliced
  • 8-10 red peppers, sliced
  • 3-4 lbs tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Add oil to a large shallow pot over medium heat and sweat the onions until translucent (roughly 5-7 minutes).
  2. Add the sliced peppers on top of the onions but do not stir. Cover the pot and let the peppers soften and begin to get tender (roughly 10 minutes).
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pot on top of the peppers.
  4. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes. The tomatoes should begin to emit juices.
  5. When the sataras starts to cook down, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Gently stir only to ensure that the onions are not catching.
  7. Simmer uncovered until the majority of the liquid has evaporated and the sataras has thickened to a rich ragout consistency.
  8. Preserve by canning in a hot bath or freeze.

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