The Ultimate Guide to Canning Tomato Sauce

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As summer time reaches its peak, gardeners across the nation start to patrol their tomato plots. They’re on the lookout for that telltale rosy crimson hue that alerts a tomato harvest is simply across the nook! There’s nothing fairly like a contemporary tomato off the vine, however we’re usually left with extra tomatoes than we all know what to do with.

Thankfully, this fundamental canned tomato sauce is an easy means to protect your tomato harvest properly into the winter months. The simplicity of this fundamental tomato sauce is what makes it tremendous versatile. You can add some inexperienced peppers, garlic, and mushrooms to flip it right into a pasta sauce, or add some spices and use it as the right pizza sauce on your home made pizzas. It could be the bottom of pot of chili or you may flip it into the very best enchilada sauce you’ve ever tasted. Let’s dive into canning!

Overhead of two full jars of sauce with fresh ingredients around.

What’s the distinction between tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, and tomato puree?

There are a variety of completely different tomato-based sauces to maintain monitor of! Here’s the place to use what:

Tomato Puree: This is a thick puree of both contemporary or canned tomatoes that can be utilized in a variety of recipes instead of tomato paste.
Spaghetti Sauce: This is a ready-to-use sauce seasoned with herbs and fragrant veggies that’s excellent tossed with some sizzling cooked pasta.
Tomato Sauce (this recipe!): This is comparable to tomato puree, however it’s designed to be canned safely to make it shelf steady. This fundamental sauce simply has two components—tomatoes and an acidifier—and it’s an incredible base for spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, chili, enchilada sauce, tomato soup, and many different scrumptious makes use of!Close-up of a ladle full of tomato sauce above the pot of sauce.

Does tomato sauce want to be stress canned?

Tomato sauce rides the road between being a low-acid meals that requires stress canning and a high-acid meals that may be water tub canned. Our recipe is a water tub canning recipe, so so as to can it safely, it’s essential to use citric acid or bottled lemon juice to add acidity to your tomatoes to make an setting that’s inhospitable for harmful micro organism like botulism. You’ll discover directions for that within the printable recipe beneath.

A closed jar of basic tomato sauce sits atop a kitchen linen with fresh ingredients around.

What are the very best tomatoes to use for canning tomato sauce?

Plum tomatoes (AKA: paste tomatoes) are most frequently utilized in canning tomato sauce as a result of they’re meaty and include only a few seeds. These tomatoes embrace romas, San Marzanos, and Amish paste tomatoes, and the sort of tomato provides you with extra bang on your buck.

However, you should use any tomatoes that you’ve got readily available while you’re making tomato sauce. I’ve made scrumptious tomato sauces utilizing large beefsteak tomatoes, candy cherry tomatoes, and grape tomatoes. Honestly, the very best tomatoes for canning tomato sauce are those you’ve gotten a variety of!

Wholefully Protip

If you might be shopping for tomatoes from the farmers’ market or a neighborhood farmer, ask if they’ve a deal on “canning tomatoes.” Many farmers will provide a reduction on tomatoes that aren’t fairly sufficient to promote in a stand however nonetheless make wonderful sauce!

What do I want to can tomato sauce?

Not a lot! Most of what you’ll want you in all probability have already got mendacity round your kitchen. To get began with water tub canning, you’ll want:

A water tub canner—This generally is a particular canner pot, or simply a big stockpot—simply so long as it’s giant sufficient to match a canning rack or canning trivet and is deep sufficient to cowl your jars by not less than 1-inch of water. You can usually get water tub canning kits that include a canning rack, a jar lifter, and a funnel.
Lids, jars, and rings—These are simple to discover in most {hardware} and grocery shops, particularly in late summer time and early fall when canning fever kicks in. Although you may reuse jars and rings, you can not re-use the flat canning lids.
Jar lifter—This unusual pair of tongs is ideal for grabbing the highest of your jars so you may elevate them out of the boiling water. I’d actually suggest getting a pair of those since freshly-canned jars are extremely slippery!
Sieve or meals mill—This is the way you’ll get clean tomato sauce with none seeds or skins. We like each this handbook meals mill and this meals mill attachment for our stand mixer. You may use a daily metallic sieve and a silicone spatula, though that technique is a little more tedious.
Knives, funnels, chopping boards, clear dishtowels, and some different normal kitchen instruments that you simply in all probability already personal.

Ladling tomato sauce into a jar using a canning funnel.

Tell me about canning tomato sauce!

Tomato sauce is a superb newbie recipe as a result of it solely takes two components: contemporary tomatoes and a few citric acid or bottled lemon juice. Here’s how to make your sauce:

A collage of numbered images show the steps for making canned tomato sauce

Wash your tomatoes and minimize them into quarters.
Place a single layer of tomato quarters into a big pot over medium-high warmth.
Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes till they start to get mushy and launch their juices. Add in one other layer of tomatoes, and maintain mashing.
Continue including tomatoes and mashing till all tomatoes are added.
Cook over medium-high warmth till the tomatoes are mushy and really juicy.
Place a meals mill fitted with the medium display screen over a heat-proof bowl. Scoop the tomatoes into the meals mill and course of all of the tomatoes till all that’s left is dry-ish tomato skins and seeds.
Pour the skinny tomato sauce again into the cooking pot, and warmth over medium-high warmth till decreased by about 1/3 for skinny sauce or by 1/2 for a thicker sauce.
Use the directions beneath to protect the tomato sauce for later.

Wholefully Protip

You’ll want about 5 kilos of tomatoes per quart of completed tomato sauce.

Close-up of two jars of canned basic tomato sauce with fresh roma tomatoes and basil around.

How do you may the tomato sauce to be used later?

It’s such a dinnertime win to have jars of this fundamental tomato sauce on the shelf. Here’s how one can it to make it shelf-stable:

Get your lids, rings, and jars prepared by following the steps in our intro to canning put up.
Prep your tomato sauce as above.
Add citric acid or bottled lemon juice to the bottoms of your jar. How a lot you add will rely on the scale of jars you’re utilizing. Add ¼ teaspoon of citric acid or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for a pint jar. For a quart jar, add ½ teaspoon of citric acid or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Ladle your sauce into the jars, ensuring to depart ½ inch headroom. Remove any air bubbles and regulate the headspace again to 1/2″.
Wipe the edges of the jars clear and prime with lids, tightening till simply fingertip-tight.
Lower into the water tub canner and course of in boiling water. Pint jars needs to be processed for 35 minutes, whereas quart jars will probably be processed for 45 minutes. If you might be at excessive altitude, these occasions may have to be adjusted.
Remove jars and place in a cool, dry spot for 12-24 hours. You would possibly hear a “pop” after they seal. To examine if the jars are sealed correctly, press on the middle of every lid. If they pop up and down, the jar didn’t seal correctly, and your sauce needs to be refrigerated and used inside a couple of days.

Two canning jars filled with tomato sauce stand open on a red and white kitchen towel.

Do you’ve gotten to put vinegar or lemon juice in canned tomato sauce?

Yes! Some kind of acidic addition is important when canning tomato sauce as a result of tomatoes on their very own are proper on the road between what’s protected to can in a water tub canner and what isn’t. Adding citric acid or bottled lemon juice will make the combination acidic sufficient to safely can.

Two finished jars of basic sauce with fresh roma tomatoes and basil.

Do I’ve to peel the tomatoes first?

Nope! Through the method of creating the tomato puree, you’ll take away the peels with a meals mill. We do suggest eradicating the peels earlier than canning. While some folks consider that leaving the pores and skin on helps add some thickness to your tomato sauce, we’ve discovered that the skins toughen up an excessive amount of throughout canning and lead to unappetizing chunks within the ultimate sauce.

Can you freeze home made tomato sauce as an alternative of canning?

You certain can! When freezing home made tomato sauce, be sure to’re utilizing correct freezer-safe jars (those with straight sides and no shoulders), and by no means fill them previous the road on the facet of the jar. Your home made tomato sauce ought to maintain safely within the freezer for 4 to six months.

Close-up of two jars of basic tomato sauce without lids.

Why do my jars have much less sauce in them than once I put them within the canner?

Tomato sauce is very susceptible to siphoning, which is when liquid is pulled from the jar because it cools after canning. Don’t fear—it occurs to everybody typically, and your tomato sauce continues to be protected to eat and retailer at room temperature so long as the seals are good. Press on the middle of the lid after it has had time to cool—if it doesn’t pop up and down, you might be good to go!

To maintain it from occurring subsequent time, after canning, depart the jars within the water with the warmth off and canner lid off for five minutes earlier than shifting them to a folded towel to cool utterly. A slower cooling course of means much less siphoning!

How lengthy will canned home made tomato sauce maintain?

Canned home made tomato sauce will maintain for not less than 18 months. Make certain that the jars are stored in a cool, dry location that’s out of direct daylight. Test your seal earlier than opening, and if it’s nonetheless intact, your sauce continues to be protected to eat. Past 18 months, correctly canned tomato sauce continues to be protected to eat, however the high quality could start to drop.

A hand holds a Ball jar of canned tomato sauce.

Can I add different greens to this tomato sauce?

In order to maintain the tomato sauce protected for water tub canning, it is important that you simply stick to the precise components and quantities that we listed beneath. Ingredients akin to onions, garlic, carrots, or celery will all make your sauce much less acidic and never protected for the water canner. This tomato sauce is supposed to be used as a base ingredient that you could rework into numerous completely different dishes.

If you’d like to can some sauce that’s prepared to be poured on pasta or pizza straight out of jar, we suggest our spaghetti sauce recipe as an alternative.

A single jar of canned tomato sauce stands surrounded by fresh tomatoes and basil.

Canned Tomato Sauce Recipe

4 quarts or 8 pints

Prep Time:

Cook Time:
1 hour

Total Time:
1 hour half-hour

Canning tomato sauce is an efficient means to protect tomatoes for long-term storage. Learn how to safely can your tomatoes on this full information—from prepping the tomatoes to choosing the right jars.


20 kilos tomatoes (about 80 plum tomatoes)

Citric acid or bottled lemon juice


Wash tomatoes. Core and minimize tomatoes into quarters.Place a single layer of tomato quarters within the backside of a giant saucepan. Mash with a potato masher, and warmth over medium-high warmth till juicy.Add within the remaining tomatoes in 3-4 batches, mashing after every addition. Once all tomatoes are added, simmer till tomatoes are tender and juicy.Remove from warmth. Run the tomatoes via a meals mill to take away peels and seeds.Return purée to saucepan. Cook purée, uncovered, over medium-high warmth till purée thickens, stirring to stop sticking. Cook till quantity is decreased by one-third for a skinny sauce, or one-half for a thick sauce.Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water till prepared to use, however don’t boil. Wash lids in heat soapy water and put aside with bands.Add ¼ teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to a sizzling pint jar; ½ teaspoon citric acid or 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to a sizzling quart jar. Ladle sizzling sauce into sizzling jar, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and regulate for headspace. Clean jar rim. Center lid on jar and regulate band to fingertip-tight.Place jar on a canning rack within the boiling-water canner. Repeat till all jars are crammed.Cover the canner and produce water to a boil. Process pint jars 35 minutes or quart jars 45 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Start timer as soon as the water is at a full, rolling boil.Turn off warmth, take away canner lid, and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and funky for 12-24 hours on a folded towel. Check lids for seal—they need to not flex when heart is pressed. Label and retailer jars.


You can safely add dried herbs to your tomato sauce jars to add taste to this fundamental sauce. Here are a couple of choices: Italian tomato sauce—Add 1/2 teaspoon every of dried basil and oregano, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and a small pinch of crimson pepper flakes to every pint jar earlier than packing with tomatoes. Tex-Mex diced tomatoes—Add 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon every cumin, oregano, and coriander, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and a small pinch of crimson pepper flakes to every pint jar earlier than packing with tomatoes.We want to depart our jars unsalted, however if you need to season your tomatoes earlier than canning, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint jar on the similar time you add your citric acid or lemon juice.Tomatoes (and particularly tomato sauce) are susceptible to siphoning—the place a number of the liquid is pulled out of the jar from the stress increase. As lengthy as your jar seals correctly, it is nonetheless protected to take pleasure in, even when a number of the sauce has siphoned out. To scale back siphoning, when processing time is up, make certain to flip off the canner, take away the lid, wait 5 minutes, then take away the jars.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 64

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 26Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

At Wholefully, we consider that good vitamin is about way more than simply the numbers on the vitamin info panel. Please use the above info as solely a small a part of what helps you resolve what meals are nourishing for you.

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