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Canned Tomato Sauce

Melissa Norris
Learn how to can tomato sauce at home with this easy recipe, safe for both water bath or pressure canning!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr
Canning Time 35 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 14 cups
Calories 119 kcal

Equipment

  • Pressure Canner or Water Bath Canner
  • Canning Jars and Lids

Ingredients
  

  • 20 pounds tomatoes 20 pounds makes about 7 pints of sauce
  • 7 tbsp bottled lemon juice
  • 1.75 tsp salt
  • 3.5 tsp dried basil optional

Instructions
 

  • Pick your fresh tomatoes.
  • Take out a big old stockpot and chop up 6 tomatoes. I chopped mine into thirds.
  • Cover the bottom of the stockpot with one layer of chopped tomatoes. Take a potato masher and squish them to get their juices running. Turn the pot on medium-high.
  • Once the tomatoes begin to boil, add 6 more chopped tomatoes. Stir frequently to prevent scorching, but also make sure the tomatoes continue to boil.
  • Continue adding chopped tomatoes, one layer at a time, until you’ve added all your tomatoes or you’re in danger of overflowing your pot. If you’re working with a larger batch, you can use two large pots.
  • Mash each layer well as you continue to stir and allow tomatoes to boil.
  • Continue to boil for approximately 10 minutes. You want all the tomatoes cooked and mushy, with their glorious juices released.
  • Remove cooked tomatoes from heat. Put mixture through a fine sieve (which is my preference) or a food mill positioned over a large mixing bowl, preferably with measurements so you know how many cups of sauce you end up with.
  • Now that you know how many cups of sauce you have, you can gather the appropriate number and size jars for canning.
  • Put the strained tomato mixture back into the stockpot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and allow it to reduce down to the desired thickness. I reduced mine for about 40 minutes and let about an inch of liquid evaporate.
  • Meanwhile, prepare your jars, gather your lids, and either your water bath canner or your pressure canner.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each pint jar, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice to each quart jar.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to each pint jar, 1/2 teaspoon salt to each quart jar.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon dried basil to each pint jar, 1 teaspoon dried basil to each quart jar.
  • Fill jars with tomato sauce up to a 1/2-inch headspace for water bath canning and 1-inch headspace for pressure canning.
  • Run a spatula around the jar circumference to remove air bubbles. Add more tomato sauce if needed to keep 1/2-inch or 1-inch headspace depending upon your method of canning.
  • With a damp clean cloth, wipe the rim of the jar clean. Place on lids and screw down the bands until resistance is met, then to fingertip tight.

Water Bath Canning Instructions

  • Place jars on a rack inside your water bath canner.
  • Make sure at least 1 inch of water is covering the tops of the jars.
  • Once you’ve got rolling boiling water, process pint jars for 35 minutes or quart jars for 40 minutes. (See notes for high altitude canning instructions.)
  • Turn off heat and remove the lid from the canner. Allow jars to rest inside the water bath for 5 minutes.
  • Using a jar lifter, carefully lift jars out of the canner and place them in a draft-free area on a kitchen towel folded in thirds. Never place hot jars on a cold countertop.
  • Allow jars to rest, untouched for at least 12 hours, 24 hours if you have the counter space.
  • Remove bands and check seals then move to the pantry for storage. (If any jars didn’t seal, store them in the refrigerator and use within a day or two.)

Pressure Canning Instructions

  • Add water to pressure canner, put in the rack, and load jars.
  • Lock the lid, bring to a boil, and allow the pressure canner to vent steam for 10 minutes.
  • Put the weight on and allow the canner to come up to 10 pounds of pressure (or use a weighted gauge, depending on your pressure canner). See notes for high-altitude canning instructions.
  • Start processing time after weight begins rocking and hissing, or dial gauge reads 10 pounds of pressure.
  • Process both pint and quart-size jars for 15 minutes.
  • Allow pressure canner to cool down naturally and for pressure to return to normal.
  • Carefully remove the hot lid and wait another 10 minutes before taking jars out of canner.
  • Using a jar lifter, carefully lift jars out of the canner and place them in a draft-free area on a kitchen towel folded in thirds. Never place hot jars on a cold countertop.
  • Allow jars to rest, untouched for at least 12 hours, 24 hours if you have the counter space.
  • Remove bands and check seals then move to the pantry for storage. (If any jars didn’t seal, store them in the refrigerator and use within a day or two.)

Notes

  • If you have enough tomato sauce to fill all the jars needed for a run in the pressure canner, I'd use the pressure canner. Food may reach a hotter temperature in the pressure canner, but because it's processed for less time, it retains more of the nutrients.
  • If you don't have enough jars to fill a pressure canner, or you don't have one, the water bath is completely fine with this recipe.
  • Even if you are pressure canning the tomato sauce, you still need to use the bottled lemon juice.
If you're 1,001 feet above sea level, you must make processing adjustments.
  • For water bath canning 1,001 to 3,000 feet is 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts, 3,0001 to 6,000 is 45 minutes for pints and 50 minutes for quarts. For altitudes above 6,001 feet increase by an additional 5 minutes.  
  • For pressure canning, 1,001 + feet use 15 pounds of pressure.

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 6gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 323mgPotassium: 1550mgFiber: 8gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 5398IUVitamin C: 92mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Canned Tomato Sauce, pressure canning, Tomato, Tomato Sauce, Water Bath Canning
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