Store-bought tomato sauce hardly compares with the flavor of homemade and heart-made tomato sauce that you can in your own kitchen. I love how we can capture summer in a jar and use it all year long with this simple method to make home-canned tomato sauce.
Tomatoes are such a prolific plant and have such versatile uses. This recipe is for a basic tomato sauce that is a wonderful addition to any pantry. This lovely ingredient can be made into so many different things.
This recipe makes 4-7 quarts of tomato sauce (Depending on how thick you like your sauce.).
40 pounds quartered Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice (per quart)
Cooking and Canning Tomato Sauce
Soften the tomatoes by simmering them on the stove for about 40 minutes.
food mill and strainer
Process the soft tomatoes through a food mill.
If you do not have a food mill then you can use a blender and blend until smooth.
Place the tomato pulp in a strainer (I like my husband’s honey strainer.) or cheesecloth to drain out the juice. Save the juice to be canned later. This step of straining the sauce allows you to skip the reducing down process which usually takes about 3 hours to do. If for some reason the sauce seems too thick you can add some of the juice back in. (We ended up adding about 2 quarts worth back in but it is according to your thickness preference.)
Place the strained pulp in a large saucepot.
Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer and cook to desired thickness.
add lemon juice
Pour a little of the sauce into the bottom of the hot quart jar and then add 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice. The hot sauce in the bottom of the jar provides a buffer from the cooler temperature of the lemon juice. This protects the jar from the possibility of cracking.
Fill your quart mason jars with tomato sauce leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Place the lids on top of the jars and add the rings. Tighten the rings to fingertip tight.
Process the jars of preserves in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes if at sea level. Remember to adjust the processing time for your elevation if higher than 1000 feet.
Remove the jars and space them about an inch apart on the counter for 24 hours to cool and completely seal.
If your jar did not seal, then place it in the refrigerator and use it immediately.
Store the sealed jars in your pantry to enjoy for the next 1-3 years. After three years the nutritional value of canned food diminishes. The quality is best in the first year.
If you have any questions about canning with a boiling water bath canner or how to adjust the processing time for altitude, take a look at our canning basics videos.