Tomato Sauce

The tomatoes are still flowing in like crazy so the next great mission was tomato sauce! There are a TON of great tomato sauce recipes out there, so I hope for this to be one of many delish recipes I post. Another favourite from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. If you are looking for it, it’s the Italian style sauce in the book.



8 cups of fresh plum tomato purée
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp bottled lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary) to taste

As written above this recipe makes about 3 pints. I had 22 pounds of tomatoes for this mission, which when pureed was 28 cups of purée. So we did a batch about 3.5x this recipe.

Here is what we did:

Tomato sauces are a lot more manageable with a friend, so Kiki and I set off on another tomatoey adventure. We also invited another good friend – VICTORIO!


If you plan to do a lot of sauces, pastes, purées etc. a Victorio strainer is an awesome investment. Plus, it’s so fun to use! Assemble your strainer. Wash and quarter the tomatoes and chuck them into the hopper! Plunge and crank those delicious babies through the strainer.


All the good stuff comes flowing out the front and the “waste” gets pooped out the side. This is the skins and seeds, stuff you’d rather not have in a good sauce. BUT see my dehydrating post for something to do with the skins if you want to use the whole tomatoes!


Tomatoes can be really juicy, even romas, so I like to reduce them for at least an hour or two. Measure the juice and reduce it either in a pot on the burner, or in the oven. I put the juices in a bunch of trays and reduce it in the oven at 300F. If you are just doing a single batch though, this recipe does reduce fine on the burner. Combine the chopped veggies with a cups of the tomato juice and boil for about 5 minutes. Then add 1 cup of juice at a time so you can maintain the boil. When doing a large batch I like to do a combo of the two methods, reducing some of the juice in the oven first.


Once all the tomato business is dealt with, chop up the carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Or perhaps you did this recipe the other way and already added them. I like them pretty finely chopped, but it’s up to you. Try for consistent sizes so they are cooked evenly.


Get everything boiling over medium high heat. I did this first with a fraction of the tomatoes, while leaving the rest to reduce in the oven. As the trays in the oven become reduced enough, add them to the main pot. However you want to do it is fine, then reduce it until your desired thickness, about by a third or so. Add seasonings if you desire, the garlic, salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes and lemon juice. SAFETY NOTE: The lemon juice is added to make this recipe safe for hot water bath canning. Make sure you have measured how much tomato juice and everything else you added so you can add enough lemon juice. And don’t add more carrots, onion and/or celery than the recipe calls for. I wouldn’t want you to give your family botulism!


While the sauce is reducing and cooking, prepare the canner, jars and lids.


Fill the jars leaving a 1/2 inch head space. De-bubble the jars, wipe the rims, and place on the lids and bands, finger tip tight.

I had 10 pints almost exactly – the capacity of the canner. It’s a canning miracle!


Place the jars in the canner, covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 35 minutes. Following the 35 minute time, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, let cool for 5 minutes and remove the jars onto a towel or hot pad. Listen for the 10 pings!!


Let them cool for 12-24 hours. Check the seal and wipe the jars down.

Label, store and enjoy!


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