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Tomato Sauce

The original recipe came from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration (I think it’s Volume 1 and it actually has a blue cover)- and I’ll post that first.  Ben says that a recipe is never safe in my hands because I always modify it (and he’s right) so I’ll add my modifications after.

  • 45 pounds tomatoes
  • 6 cups chopped onions
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Bottled lemon juice

Wash tomatoes, drain.  Remove core and blossom ends.  Cut into quarters; set aside.  Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a large sauce pot.  Add tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, salt, black pepper and sugar.  Stir in crushed red pepper, if desired.  Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leaves.  Press mixture through a sieve or food mill; discard seeds and peels.  Cook pulp in a large, uncovered sauce pot over medium-high heat until sauce thickens, stirring to prevent sticking.  Reduce volume by half for a thick sauce.  Add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to each quart jar – OR – t tablespoon lemon juice to each pint jar.  Ladle hot sauce into hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4″ head-space.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process pints 35 minutes (quarts 40 minutes) in a boiling-water bath canner.  Yield 14 pints or 7 quarts.

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Ok, so that was the original recipe.  I’ve always like a really thick, flavorful sauce with lots of other veggies in it.  And because I have a good sized vegetable garden, I always have an abundance of veggies on hand.

My modifications:

  • No olive oil
  • No salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 cups of chopped sweet bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves – chopped
  • 6 cups total of chopped zucchini and yellow squash (quarter and cut out seedy center)
  • 1 or 2 carrots – cut into 2 or 3″ chunks
  • 6 celery stalks, diced to 1/4″ thick

Wash your tomatoes removing any blossoms and/or stems.  Half or quarter if necessary.  Assemble your Sauce Master and grind up your tomatoes (the Sauce Master automatically removes the skin and seeds and you are left with a beautiful, thick puree).

Put the puree into a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot.

Chop your onions, peppers, squash, etc., chunk up your carrots,  and add to the tomato puree.  Cook puree over medium heat until it starts to bubble, then reduce it to a simmer (or move it to a simmer burner, if you have one).  Let this simmer several hours and then add your spices.  You really do need to reduce the volume of puree by half for a really thick sauce.  Throw out the carrot chunks before jarring your sauce.

Sterilize your canning jars (I run them through my dishwasher on a short wash cycle), just make sure that your dishwasher has a sterilize cycle.

Add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to each quart jar – OR – t tablespoon lemon juice to each pint jar.  Ladle hot sauce into hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process pints 35 minutes (quarts 40 minutes) in a boiling-water bath canner.  Yield 14 pints or 7 quarts.

NOTE:  The carrots and the sugar help to reduce (in many cases eliminates) the natural acid in tomatoes – at least that’s what my Italian ex-grandmother-in-law told me.

Don’t get caught up/hung up on the quantities – and certainly don’t feel like you have to run right out and buy 45 pounds of tomatoes at the local farmers market!  You can use smaller amounts without an issue and just gauge the quantities.

As for tomatoes – this year I got carried away – I have a total of 21 plants down in the garden – some Roma’s, a Big Boy, Jet Star, and an early variety that came from Burpee (and I don’t remember the name of them but I’ll find it and post it later).

15 thoughts on “Tomato Sauce”

    1. Hi Candie – what I’ve done in the past if I want to have actual carrots in my sauce, is to grate them and add them with the herbs after it’s cooked down for awhile. Still add the bigger chunks and get rid of them prior to jarring.

      If you don’t have a canner, that’s not an issue, just put enough water in your biggest stock pot (to cover the tops of the jars), bring it to a boil, add your filled jars, put the lid on the stockpot and let it boil for the appropriate times.

  1. And what if I want to chop/shred carrots and leave in? Will it have the same acid reducing effect? I know that sounds stupid, but I know sometimes you need to do things the way they are explained to get the proper results :)

  2. LOL it’s me again. So I have been wanting to make my own sauce for quite some time. Now I am looking at Sauce Master contraptions on the internet…trying to make sure I am looking at the correct thing…yours looks to have some kind of attachment on the top…what is that?

      1. Candie – here’s a link for a Sauce Master on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-The-Original-Sauce-Master/dp/B0000DDVMQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346153149&sr=8-1&keywords=sauce+master – the funny shaped “bowl thing” on the top is the hopper (where you stuff your veggies).

        You can do applesauce – I’m waiting for the first frost, then going across the Canadian border to pick some MacIntosh. If you do a lot with pumpkin, you can make your own pumpkin pie filling.

        In the next couple of weeks I’ll be making homemade tomato juice.

        1. Okay thanks again for all the information :) I knew what the hopper was but yours looked like it had some kind of metal “cage” like thing on top of that. Maybe it’s all just part of the hopper…

          1. Candie – I just figured out what the “cage” thing was that you were talking about! It’s not part of the Sauce Master, but rather the “rack” that goes into the canner!

  3. You know, I ALWAYS forget something! When adding zucchini or yellow squash, I never peel it, but do quarter it and remove the seedy center!

  4. Nancy, I’m going to buy a sauce master tomorrow :) Gonna start with tomato sauce and apple sauce. I want to can some salsa and pizza sauce…do you have recipes for those? I’m thinking pizza sauce will be very similar to the tomato sauce but seems like maybe some different spices?

    1. Oh Candie good for you! Actually I throw all of the same stuff into my pizza sauce as I do my spaghetti sauce the only difference is how long I cook it down. For spaghetti sauce I usually reduce it by half and for pizza sauce by 2/3 so be prepared for some LONG simmering times – make sure that the pot you cook it down in has a very heavy bottom otherwise it will burn and then you’ll cry :-(
      As for Salsa – yes, I have two different recipes that I’ll throw up here in just a few.

      I did up the last 2 or 3 bushel of tomatoes that I had and they are cooking down for tomato juice – I am glad that canning season is almost over, the only thing left in a couple of weeks after a good frost is applesauce!

  5. Thanks so much Nancy! Just printed the applesauce recipe. Okay, now for a couple more questions :) If I want to just can up some of the tomato puree I can do that right? Do I need to cook it? Or can I just put it into jars with lemon juice and then process it in the waterbath canner for 15-20 minutes? Also, what about canning straight tomatoes? Do I just clean and chunk them up and put in jars and process in the canner? Or do I have to cook them first?? I am talking straight up, no spices or anything – besides may some salt.

    Thanks for all your help and advice!!!

    1. Hey Candie
      You can jar up the puree, just heat it up until it is steaming or bring it to a boil. Then add the lemon juice to each jar and process pints 35 minutes (quarts 40 minutes) in a boiling-water bath canner.

      You have to be careful with home canned stuff – the heated contents, into the heated jars, and then the boiling water bath canner is all designed to keep out bacteria and prevent stuff from spoiling – the lemon juice acts as a preservative and helps your tomato products keep that lovely red color.

      You can also can whole tomatoes – I’ll post instructions separately.

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