This post will share the recipe and a complete tutorial for canning tomato sauce at home. It is and continues to be one of my most popular posts and I have updated it for you all with additional instructions AND another video to help you even more.
Oh, canning tomatoes! Canning tomato sauce is one of the most satisfying tasks a home canner could ask for because of the versatility of tomato sauce. When people start preserving, they often make jam because it is fairly simple and of course delicious but I find the savory preserves, like this tomato sauce, are far more useful.
If I had to can ONE recipe for the rest of my life, it would be tomato sauce.
Canned tomato sauce can be dinner in about 5 minutes: Just open a jar of sauce, warm, and pour on top of pasta.
By investing an hour or two to can a batch of tomato sauce now, you can have a dozen or more jars of sauce ready to be transformed into:
- Tomato soup (just add a little cream!)
- Pizza sauce
- bread stick dip
- Spaghetti sauce
- Stromboli filling
- Spaghetti squash topping
- Sauce for roasted vegetables like eggplant
- Stew and crock pot meals
- Sloppy Joe’s
- and more!
Before you get started, download the canning cheatsheet so the whole process will be a breeze!Yes! Download Now!
This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
Canning Tomato Sauce
This recipe requires the canner to peel the tomatoes first, then cook them into a sauce. I hate dropping tomatoes (or peaches, etc) into boiling water for several reasons. I don’t want another pot of boiling water on the stove, I am terrible at keeping track of how long the tomato has been submerged, and I always try to peel when the tomatoes are too hot and it scorches my fingertips. It can be a big, wet, hot mess. However, it is desirable if you don’t have a food mill and if you desire a completely skin free product.
To process tomatoes with a food mill:
I slice the end of the Roma (a more dense, less watery tomato variety suited for saucing) and then just rough chop the rest of the tomato and put it raw into the top of my food mill, with the largest plate in the bottom.
A food mill is a very handy thing that I think all kitchens should have. Mine was gifted to me by a wonderful friend at my baby shower, with the intention of making mushed up baby food, which I did use it for, but it is so useful beyond that, this sauce being an excellent example. It has a plate that is much like a cheese grater and a mechanism for pressing the food into the grater so the result in the bowl below is a very smooth sauce. They are popularly used for applesauce and think they are much better than a blender. They are also all metal and non-electric which means they will last pretty much forever. Here’s mine:
Put the chopped tomatoes into the hopper of the food mill and when it is nearly full, start turning the handle. The skin and some seeds are kept above while perfectly smooth sauce drips below. I have mine set atop the pot in which I will cook the sauce, so I don’t dirty another bowl, but the rubberized “legs” will grip onto a wide variety of bowls.
This technique can be applied to any tomato recipe as long as it isn’t imperative that it be completely skin or seed free (I’m sure there are a few bits of skin in my sauce).
This step isn’t a lot faster, I wouldn’t say, but it dirties fewer bowls (a big concern in my tiny kitchen) and isn’t as sweaty.
You could use a blender to puree tomatoes if they are thin skinned. Place cored, chopped tomatoes into blender and puree smooth. Pour into preserving pan.
To peel tomatoes using boiling water method
This method requires you to fill a large pot with hot water. Bring to a boil. Have a bowl filled with ice water on the nearby countertop. While the water is heating, core the tomatoes with a knife. When the water is boiling, and with a slotted spoon handy, drop the tomatoes in the boiling water one or two at a time. Keep an eye on the clock and after about 1 minute, the skins will start to split. After the skin has split and is starting to peel back from the flesh, remove it from the boiling water and drop into the bowl of ice water. Repeat with all tomatoes. Remove from the ice water one tomato at a time and peel the skins with your fingers. Compost the skins.
Tomato Sauce Canning Recipe
Here’s the recipe that I use to work up 12-pound batches of Romas, that usually yields 4-5 pints (1 pint =2 measuring cups)
12 pounds peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces onion, diced (about 2 small or 1 large)
2 large cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
about 2 teaspoons citric acid
In a wide preserving pan, heat the oil and saute the onions on medium high for about five minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another five. Combine the peeled tomatoes with the alliums and cook on medium high for about 45 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and darkened in color. Add salt to taste. Stir occasionally and beware of the sauce boiling over the edge.
Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to each hot jar that is removed from the waterbath. Ladle boiling sauce into sterilized jars (I like wide mouth pints for this recipe, but use what you have) add lids and rings, and process in a waterbath for 35 minutes. If you are unfamiliar with waterbath canning see this excellent USDA resource here.
There you have it, Wildflowers! Please share in the comments below what you think of using the food mill versus the boiling water and peel method. I’m eager to hear your thoughts!
Still feeling uncertain getting started? Here’s a great resource to help!
This post will share a recipe that is to die for delicious and uses a food mill to easily remove the bulk of the seeds to please even the pickiest eater. Read on for the full tutorial and recipe, Wildflowers!
I recently shared a post about why you should head to a U-Pick berry patch this summer after I spent a lovely morning picking a mix of mostly marionberries (similar to blackberries), strawberries, and a handful of raspberries. With this mix, I adapted a recipe from the well worn Farm Journal Freezing & Canning Cookbook written in 1962. I checked my adaptation against other trusted recipes published in my lifetime and it is safe to say that it is a homerun berry jam recipe.
Not sure if you have the equipment to start canning? Watch this first.
Download the equipment checklist here!
You can tweak the proportions of berries and strawberries to fit whatever fills your bucket (or shopping cart) because as we know from my little canning & acid lesson here both berries and strawberries are quite acidic and safely within the 4.6 level of acid and under. You can also swap out blackberries for marionberries.
This procedure uses a food mill. I found that by processing this jam through a mill, most of the seeds were removed and while I like some seeds in my jam, I don’t like them in my teeth and some blackberries and marionberries can be downright seedy. A not-so-seedy jam is also less likely to get an objection from a picky child also. You can skip the food mill step if you’d like but I found the result to be a very smooth, spreadable jam that was still plenty toothsome.
This recipe yields 8 measuring cups of jam.
6 cups marrion and/or blackberries
3 cups strawberries
½ cup bottled lemon juice, or 1 tablespoon for every cup of berries, if you are doubling or halving this recipe
6 cups of sugar
Half a box of powdered pectin and a whisk with which to mix it
A food mill with the plate with the smallest holes.
This recipe will yield about 8 measuring cups of jam, so you will need 8 half pint jars, or 4-pint jars, or the equivalent, in the water bath processing pot. Fill the pot with the jars and hot water from the tap and bring to a boil.
Prepare the fruit: You can gently rinse the berries in a colander but be careful: the more handling the berries get, the more they will fall apart and more juice will end up everywhere but the canning jar. Remove stems from strawberries and chop.
Combine fruit in preserving pan and bring to a gentle boil for 5-10 minutes.
Pour hot fruit slowly and carefully into the top of the food mill, which should be set over a large bowl or another preserving pan. Work all the fruit through the food mill and notice all the seeds that remain in the top section of the hopper.
Whisk in half a package of powdered pectin when you are ready to can. That means be sure your processing pot is ready and has been boiling, you have a towel covering the countertop, and you have your jar lifter and funnel and lid lifter ready.
Using your jar lifter, pull one jar at a time from the boiling water bath. Pour the hot water from it, and rest it on the countertop. Use the funnel and a ladle to fill the hot jar with hot jam. Maintain a half inch headspace. Apply lids and rings and return the jar to the processing pot. Repeat with the remaining jars. Bring the processing pot back up to boiling and process for 15 minutes, and be sure to add 5 minutes for every 1000 feet above sea level at which you are canning.
Remove the jars and gently rest on the towel covered counter and listen for the distinctive “ping” of the jars sealing.
After 12 hours, label sealed jars and store. Jars that didn’t seal can be refrigerated and eaten promptly.
If making jam like this seems tempting but you are afraid to try canning on your own, you need a course to SHOW you how. Enroll in the canning course for busy beginners HERE!
This post will share a recipe that is a very simple recipe for strawberry syrup and I hope to remind you also that syrup is not just for pancakes.
Strawberry syrup is, of course, great on breakfast foods but it is very versatile in the beverage realm and after I read the suggestion for strawberry margaritas in “The All New Ball Book of Canning & Preserving” and I felt silly for not using the syrup that my kids love on Saturday morning in one of my favorite grown-up drinks.
Before you begin canning, download the super helpful canning cheatsheet I made for you!
I don’t strain with cheesecloth because I personally don’t care about things like tiny strawberry seeds and I am not interested in perfectly clear syrup. Feel free to strain of course as you wish.
To make the syrup, I will share my adaptation of the recipe from The All New Ball Book of Canning & Preserving. You should absolutely enter to win your own copy of this super valuable (367 pages!) resource for beginner and experienced canners alike.
You will need 3 ½ pounds of strawberries, stems removed
3 cups of water
6 cups of sugar
½ cup bottled lemon juice (I really like lemon + strawberry, but if it isn’t your favorite flavor, you can safely use a ⅓ cup.
Fill your processing pot with 5-pint jars, or more smaller sized jars and hot tap water. Bring to a boil.
Fill a saucepan with coordinating lids and rings and hot tap water and bring to a simmer.
Prepare your countertop with a towel (on which you will rest the hot jars), funnel, and lid lifter. Have a large bowl or a second preserving pan and a small-holed colander or sieve set on top of the bowl ready to strain the strawberries from their juice. If you desire perfectly clear syrup, have 2 layers of cheesecloth at the ready as well. Have a ladle ready as well.
Combine the strawberries and water in a preserving pan and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Heat using the medium-low setting.
Pour carefully the strawberries and accumulated juice into the colander to drain. You can let it sit for up to two hours if you are patient and if you are me, you can use a spoon to gently encourage the berries to release more juice. You will get about 6 cups of juice as a result. The solids can be enjoyed with yogurt, or you can make delicious strawberry butter. I demonstrate how to make these two recipes at the same time in my canning course at www.startcanning.com .
Return the strawberry juice to the preserving pan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir to dissolve and heat to a full boil for a minute or two, stirring carefully.
Use your lid lifter to remove one jar from the boiling water bath and pour the water from the jar back into the pot, into the saucepan of lids & rings, or into the kitchen sink. Set the hot jar on the towel covered countertop and use the funnel and a ladle to fill the hot jar with hot strawberry syrup and leave a ¼ inch headspace (distance between the surface of the food and the top of the jar). Apply a lid and ring, tighten about as tight as you would the bathroom faucet, and use the jar lifter to return the jar to the processing pot.
Repeat the process with the remaining jars until you run out of jars or syrup. If you end up with not enough syrup to fill a jar completely, leave it on the counter to cool. You can use a new or used lid and a ring to lid it and store in the refrigerator and eat up as you would any leftover food. When this happens to me, it usually is enjoyed right away.
The jars will rest on the towel covered countertop until they are cool. Check lids to see if they have sealed and are firm to the touch. Label and store in a cool, dry place. Any unsealed jars can be eaten promptly; waffles for dinner, anyone?
To use this delicious, pretty syrup, you can make strawberry margaritas. Thank you Ball Brand for reminding me of this lovely variation on a classic.
¼ strawberry syrup
2 tablespoons lime juice
About 7 ice cubes, which is about 2 handfuls.
These ingredients are combined into a shaker, shaken, and poured into salt-rimmed glasses.
To blend, combine the ingredients plus 5-10 fresh strawberries in a blend in a blender until smooth.
I prefer mine on ice, in a wide mouth Ball Brand pint jar, rimmed with a sinful amount of coarse salt.
If the above process sounds appealing, and you’d love to make your own home canned syrups, tomato sauce, pickles, and more, but have no idea where to begin or think that you could never learn how I’m here to help. I have launched a canning course for busy beginners that SHOWS you in over 10 clear videos in a way a cookbook cannot how to start canning. The course comes with my Canning 101 ebook, a supportive Facebook community where you can share successes, questions, and recipes with like-minded learners and myself, printable cheatsheets and diagrams to have stove-side (away from the burner please!) and forever access to the course.
If you are worried you don’t have time, think again. Learning how to can saves time cooking months ahead of time and the course can be watched a few minutes at a time over several weeks or gobbled up in a weekend. Don’t let another season pass you by without learning how to can; Let’s Start Canning!
If you love strawberries, you’ll love my Canning Strawberries Recipe Book!
Can it Forward Day is a day where canners can share their love, knowledge, and experience of canning with others and this post will explain everything you need to know about this celebration that canners, food lovers, and gardeners all can enjoy.
Ball Brands is the organizer behind Can it Forward Day and they will be sharing demonstrations on Friday, July 22 2016 on Facebook Live from 10 am to 3:30 pm EST. FYI, Facebook Live is a way for people to share live video on their Facebook pages. It doesn’t disappear in 24 hours the way Periscope videos do (another video streaming app – I’m on there too @adwildflower 🙂 so you can watch them any time if you miss it. Head to https://www.facebook.com/BallCanning/ on Friday July 22 to watch a variety of demonstrations throughout the day. Facebook Live allows viewers to ask questions by typing into the chat box so it is interactive as well. Better yet, for every like, comment, share, etc, a $1 donation will be made to a select few food bank type charities all over the US. The recipes that will be demonstrated include Apricot Lavender Jam, Spicy Heirloom Tomato Chutney, Green Tomato Pickles, Fiesta Peppers, Chipotle Peach Salsa, and more. I have every intention of sharing some demonstrations of my own that day on Facebook so you should be sure to follow along there too!
Before you start canning, I want you to download this free canning process guide I created just for you. It will make the canning process a breeze!
Newbies and experienced canners alike can Pledge to Can it Forward and get a $5 coupon for the Ball Brand online store (hellllooooo pretty blue, green and purple jars!) and commit to learning and sharing what you know about preserving with others.
If Twitter is your social media hangout, you can use the tag #canitforward and ask questions and share ideas there.
I encourage you to get a trusted canning cookbook and this is one that would be an excellent resource for any canner regardless of experience.
There you have it! Who’s canning it forward with me this year? Share in the comments below!
This post will share a recipe for pickled bread and butter jalapeños and a few clever techniques for keeping your sweet and sour pickles crisp and delicious.
I don’t can a lot of pickles. I also don’t can much that is very spicy, either. As you learn more about canning and develop the set of recipes you enjoy making and your loved ones enjoy eating, you will too find that there are some foods you can over and over and others you don’t end up trying.
Before you start this recipe, download this free canning process guide I created for you. It will simplify everything!Yes! Download Now!
Enter my friend Kimmy. We grew up in the same little community, laughed our way through many an FFA van ride, ruled the Parliamentary Procedure circuit together, and have both made canning a part of our motherhood cooking routine. Kimmy is an experienced preserver; when I told my mom that I asked Kimmy to guest post, she enthused about how Kimmy’s mom was a great canner as well and recounted various dishes prepared by her mom she enjoyed at baby showers and other events over the years.
As you can more and more, and you feed your partner longer and longer, it often happens that their eating preferences become part of your cooking routine. This is true with our lovely guest poster Kimmy. She shares below the technique for keeping your peppers crisp and the varieties of peppers you can use to spice your jar up even more. Here’s Kimmy!
I love this recipe for so many reasons! Mostly, because growing up I never appreciated how delicious a jalapeno was. Hot peppers were never something that we had around or used in cooking very much. My mom would chop up a few for a homemade salsa now and then, but that was pretty much it. Enter my husband Ricardo. When I met my husband back in 2006, every time we would have a meal, at home or in a restaurant, he would order jalapenos on the side. I thought he was nuts, but soon, refrigerators of every place that we frequented were well stocked with his favorite condiment. Fast forward 10 years and our house is stocked with hot peppers in many forms, some of which I have come to love. We have hot sauce, dried peppers, jalapenos pickled in vinegar, and my all-time favorite- bread and butter pickled jalapenos.
This recipe is adapted from the Blue Book Guide to Preserving, which is the book I recommend to all of my friends who want to get started canning. I love this book because it has simple recipes to can pretty much anything and is up to date with current USDA recommendations for canning. Along with this book, I also recommend Jenny’s canning course, Start Canning. She asked me about a month ago to preview the course that she created for new canners and it is amazing! She shows you the process of canning step by step. It truly is the next best thing to actually having someone in your kitchen with you, showing you each step of the canning process. I highly recommend it.
*Aw, shucks Kimmy, thanks!
To get started you will need around 4 lbs of hot peppers. I like using jalapenos but have also mixed in serranos, anaheims, and other kinds of hot peppers as well. I like to slice the rounds into ¼ inch slices using my mandolin cutter, but a cutting board and a knife will do just fine. Oh, and I prefer to use gloves while dealing with these peppers. I had an unfortunate incident one time where I wiped my eye while cutting peppers and it burned for days! So now, I am very careful.
Next, you will need a few onions, thinly sliced. I used 4 small onions, but you can use more or less depending on if you like a lot of onions in your peppers. Go ahead and throw the onions and peppers in a big bowl together. You are going to layer them with canning salt (About ⅓ cup total). Then, cover the top layer with ice cubes. The salt and the ice help to keep your pickles crisp. Go ahead a let these sit on the counter for an hour or two.
While you are waiting you can prepare your jars, lids, and canner. Fill your large stockpot with water. I use a big enamel canner when doing these peppers because I usually do two or more batches at a time. However, you can use any large pot that you already own. Just make sure to have some sort of rack on the bottom so that your jars aren’t sitting directly at the bottom of the pot. Put your jars inside your pot so they will heat up and boil as your canner starts to boil. This sanitizes your jars. This recipe yields about 7 pints, but I always do a jar or 2 extra just in case there are more peppers. I like to use pint jars for these peppers, but any canning jar would work. Sometimes I do them in ½ pint jars to give away as gifts. The jar size is totally up to you.
*You can print off the canning equipment list here!CLICK TO PRINT!
Ok, so you have your peppers and onions bringing in the salt, covered in ice. Your canner is filled with jars, working on a boil.
Now for the rest of the pickled jalapeno recipe. Combine 2 cups white sugar, 2 Tbs mustard seed, 2 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp celery seed, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, and 3 cups vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
It’s time to drain and rinse your peppers/onions. It’s ok if they are a little wet, but you don’t want any extra water in the bottom of your bowl. One at a time, you are going to take your jars out of the boiling canner and fill it with the pepper and onion mixture. Squish those babies down; don’t be afraid to really pack them in there. If you leave too much space, after canning them, you will have a ton of liquid on the bottom of your jar. It will still be perfectly safe to eat, and really yummy, but it just doesn’t look as good as a full jar sitting on your shelf.
Next, you are going to use your jar funnel, and ladle your liquid into the jar with the peppers and onions. Make sure to leave ¼ headspace at the top. At this point, I always take a clean washcloth, dampen it with hot water and wipe the ring of the jar off, just to make sure that there isn’t a spec of anything that will cause my jar not to seal. Add a ring and tighten on your jar and return this full jar to the canner. Repeat with the rest of your jars. Process for 10 minutes, making sure to adjust for altitude if needed. Add 5 minutes for every 1000 feet above sea level.
Download the altitude adjustment guide below!
Once your processing time is complete, using your jar lifter to lifter your hot jars from the canner, placing them onto a towel on your counter. Let the jars sit for 24 hours before washing, removing the rings and setting in your pantry. Don’t forget to admire your handy work.
*You can print the helpful canning process cheat sheet here to guide you at the stove!
These peppers are sweet and tangy and not overly spicy. They are better if you let them sit and cure for 4-6 weeks before eating. The longer you wait, the more flavor that develops. We like to eat them on hamburgers, nachos, over even plain on an hors d’oevre tray.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family. It is a great way to preserve those jalapenos that all seem to ripen at the same time in your garden.
Bread and Butter Pickled Jalapenos
Adapted from Blue Book Guide to Preserving
4 pounds jalapenos cut into ¼ inch slices
4 small onions, thinly sliced
⅓ cup canning salt
2 cups of sugar
2 Tbs mustard seed
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
3 cups vinegar
Combine peppers and onion slices in a large bowl, layering with salt. Cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1-2 hours. Drain, rinse, drain again. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Pack peppers and onions into jars. Cover with simmering liquid, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, tighten lids and rings onto canning jars. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner, adding 5 minutes for every 1000 feet of elevation above sea level. Label sealed jars and store in a cool, dark spot.
Yields about 7 pints
What do you think, Wildflowers? I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I sure do know how to pick a guest poster 😉 When I read this recipe to my husband he immediately asked, “Why don’t you can things like that?!” I guess I will have to start 😉
If you would love to learn how to can but have no idea where to begin, I’m here to help. I want you to head to Start Canning so I can SHOW you in a way a cookbook cannot how easy and fun canning can be.Enroll Now!
Psst- if jalapeños aren’t ripe where ever you are, pin this recipe anyway- you won’t want to skip it!