Canning Tomatoes

We feel so incredibly blessed to still be able to can and freeze produce this season. It is the first year in a long time that we haven’t had a garden and when we moved I mourned the fact that we wouldn’t be able to can and freeze like we had in the past.

Between family being generous with their produce, co-workers dropping off produce on our step, and the local farmer’s markets, I have canned more this year than any year in the past. What a blessing.

Tomatoes have been plentiful, so I have been canning using my old trusty recipes as well as a few new ones. I think we are set with two types of pasta sauce as well as pizza sauce. I still hope to make salsa, but am rather scared. I’ve never made salsa before. All that chopping. Oy!

Here are my favourite tomato recipes this year:

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce 
(this is our absolute favourite pasta sauce recipe)

Yield: 8 cups (It is safe to double this recipe)

8 cups (2 L) coarsely chopped, peeled tomatoes (about 9-12 tomatoes)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
2/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (5 % strength)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 6-oz/156 mL) can tomato paste

Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, wine, vinegar, basil, parsley, salt, sugar and tomato paste in a very large non-reactive pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency, stirring frequently. For mine to reach the thickness we like, I had it simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of rim (head space). Process 35 minutes for pint (500 mL) jars and 40 minutes for quart (1 L) jars in a hot water bath.

Pasta Sauce
15 lbs. Tomatoes (approx. 30 large tomatoes)
2 Lrg. Onions
2 Green Bell Peppers
2 tsp minced garlic
2 Cans Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. Oregano
2 tsp. Rosemary
2 Tbsp parsley
1 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt to taste (1 tbsp?)
Pepper to taste (1/2 tsp?)
  1. Blanch 15 lbs. tomatoes for 1 minute. Place in ice water. Discard cord/stem and peel and cut each tomato into large chunks (I cut each large tomato into 8ths). I blanch about 7 tomatoes at a time and cut an x into the bottom of each tomato before blanching, to make the peeling process easier.
  2. Puree 2 large onions in food processor (or chop really finely) then add to tomatoes.
  3. Chop 2-3 bell peppers into small pieces and add to tomatoes.
  4. Add minced garlic.
  5. Add 2 cans tomato paste.
  6. Simmer 30 minutes.
  7. Add all spices and the fresh basil.
  8. Simmer until you get to your desired thickness of sauce. I simmered mine for 30 minutes and then used the immersion blender to get the sauce to the consistency I wanted. I then simmered it another 1-1 ½ hours to help it thicken more.
  9. To can, ladle into hot, sterilized pint jars (or quarts if you are canning a larger amount) to within 1/2 inch of top, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per pint to assure acidity, seal with sterilized lids and process full jars in boiling water bath for 35 minutes for pint jars and 40 minutes for quart jars.
This made 16 pint jars for me.

Homemade Pizza Sauce


4 lbs paste or Roma tomatoes (I just used whatever I had-beefsteak this year)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp lemon juice per jar

1.     Prepare a boiling water bath canner and four half pint jars. Place lids into a small pan of water and bring to a gentle simmer.

2.     Peel, core, and dice the tomatoes. Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil, tomatoes, tomato paste, kosher salt, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. As they heat, use a potato masher or the back of a fork to help the tomato chunks break down into a rough sauce. (I used the immersion blender. Bring to a low boil and cook, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens and reduces by half. This took about 2.5 hours for me.

3.     When sauce is finished cooking, remove it from the heat. Funnel into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Place ½ tsp lemon juice on top of each jar. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

4.     Note: While this sauce can be made with any variety of tomato, choosing a meatier tomato like a plum, roma or beefsteak means that your yield will be closer to mine. If you make it with watery tomatoes, such as an heirloom, bump up the starting weight a little, to ensure you get the proper yield.

Makes 4 half pints. It made 6 for me—I must have used bigger tomatoes.

**It is very important to practice safe canning methods. If you are new to canning or need a refresher, please check out these health and safety suggestions found in THIS link.**

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