Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce

I’ve been wanting to do some different tomato sauce recipes and found this one in one of my newer canning books – “Preserving” by Pat Crocker. This recipe takes a little bit of work with all the roasting, but it is so freaking delicious that it’s totally worth the effort. Now because this is from one of my canning books that I don’t trust with my life necessarily (such as Ball, or an extension service publication), please see my little discussion at the end of this post about how I decided that it is safe for hot water bath canning (but don’t worry, I am posting it because I decided it is).


4 pounds of tomatoes, preferably roma
2 pounds red bell peppers
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
(or 2/3 if you want to be extra safe – see my rant at the end)
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
10 cloves garlic
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp salt
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
5 tbsp bottled lemon juice

Here is what I did:

Preheat the oven to 400F

Since I tripled the recipe and I don’t have that many rimmed baking sheets, I needed to roast in phases. I did the tomatoes first. Cut them in half and seed them and place them face down on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tbsp of the oil over them. Roast them for 15-20 minutes.


Look at those beauties! Let them cool enough to handle them, peel off the skins and put the tomatoes in your pot. You can chop them coarsely if you like but mine fell apart so easily I really didn’t need to do any chopping.


Next roast the red peppers. Place them skin side up, halved and seeded on the baking sheet and drizzle with the other 2 tbsp of oil. Roast the garlic along with them. The peppers take a little longer, maybe 25-30 minutes. Roast until the skins char a little bit. The house will smell sooooo good. Remove the garlic as soon as it is soft, it won’t need that much time, 5 or 10 minutes.

Of course if you are doing the recipe as written and have enough trays, you may be able to do all the roasting at once.


Peel the skins off the peppers once they cool enough to handle. Some slide right off but some are a terrible pain. My advice would be to try and grab it by a blister and pull off as much in one go as possible. Chop the peppers and add to the pot with the tomatoes. You can also pour some of the juices released from the tomatoes and peppers on the tray into the pot.


Chop the garlic and onions and add them in as well. Bring the sauce to a boil.


Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, and red wine and boil for 30 minutes.


Add the herbs and continue to boil for an hour or so, until the sauce is thick.


Meanwhile prepare the canner, jars and lids. The recipe says it will yield 5 pints, but tripling it it I only made just over 10. This is another reason I thought a little more acid per jar may not be a bad idea.

When the sauce is thickened to your satisfaction, it’s jar filling time! Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to each jar before filling with the hot sauce.


Fill the jars leaving a half inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids, and tighten bands finger tip tight. Place jars in canner, covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Process at a full rolling boil for 35 minutes.


After the 35 minutes is up, turn off the heat, remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing the jars to a hot pad or towel. Wait 12-24 hours for them to cool. Check seals, wipe down the jars, label and store.


OK so as promised, here is my safety rant… I mean discussion… about this sauce. As you may notice, there are a LOT of low acid ingredients in this recipe. There is a 2:1 ratio of tomatoes to peppers, and onions on top of that. So, since I really want to be safe in my canning and not make anyone sick, I wanted to check into whether this is acidic enough. My one big reminder here is this: anyone can publish a book/blog/whatever about canning, so always do your research before making a new recipe. Ball for example can be trusted, and so can other books that have actual tested recipes, such as this one, by a university extension service or the USDA. I was a bit wary as to whether this recipe is acidic enough for hot water bath canning, so I referred to some ball ratios to help me decide. I found a salsa recipe that has very similar ratios of tomatoes, peppers and onions. Per tomato amount it has slightly less peppers than this recipe and slightly more onion. When scaled to the quantity of this sauce, it has about 2-3 tablespoons more acid than this recipe, and around a cup more low acid ingredients (onion and pepper). So basically what I am saying here is the recipe seems to be pretty darn close to a trusted recipe I have. And really, all I am saying is stay safe! Definitely do not add more onions or peppers to this recipe! And if you are worried at all, as I was, add a little more acid. I tried a little more lemon juice and think you may start to taste that, but I think upping the vinegar to 2/3 cup would not change the flavour too much, or you could also reduce the peppers or onions a little. All in all I just wanted to remind people not to trust every recipe you see unless they are tested recipes and feel free to be extra safe with a little added acid. OK rant done, now go make some sauce it’s so delicious!

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Seasoned Tomato Sauce

Last night was a canning EXTRAVAGANZA! An adventure in awesomeness! A deed of deliciousness! A ….slight screw up on one recipe, but we’ll get to that. I was canning with a friend, so I showed up at her house with 60 pounds of tomatoes! This sauce is what we did with half of them. The recipe is super nice if you don’t like a chunky sauce. You an still reduce it to a thick enough sauce, but it’s not chunky because you run it through a strainer after cooking it. It is also from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving like many of my faves.



10 pounds of tomatoes, cored
2.5 cups finely chopped onions
3 cloves minced garlic
1.5 tsp dried oregano (I like more personally)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes

We did 30 lbs so exactly tripled the recipe. However, we got about 11 pints even though the recipe said it would make 6, so we must have reduced it longer.

Here is what we did:

Wash and core the tomatoes. Quarter the tomatoes and fill the pot one layer deep. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher, or in our case a plastic cup because I forgot the masher, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir constantly! Here is our mistake, we got some burnage happening on the bottom of the pot. Burnt=bad! Continue adding, crushing, stirring, adding, crushing, stirring, adding, stirring, crushing, adding, stirring, adding, crushing, stirring, adding, stirring, crushing, adding, crushing, stirring, adding, stirring, crushing, adding, stirring, crushing, stirring, until all the tomatoes are in the pot. Maintain a boil the whole time and stir!


We had tripled the recipe so had this going in three pots. Once the tomatoes are all added, add the chopped onions and spices (everything but the lemon juice). You are allowed to add more garlic, or oregano, or add some basil or parsley if you desire as well. Reduce the heat to medium after you have it boiling again so you don’t burn the sauce! To get a good consistency, reduce by about half, which takes 2 or so hours. We did another recipe now, so there is certainly time, just watch it and stir so it doesn’t burn.


mmm sauce. After it is done reducing, remove it from the heat. Prepare the canner, jars and lids.


In batches, run it through a strainer/food mill. Using Mr. Victario we found that not all the good stuff strained out the first go around, so we actually put it through a few times. With just a strainer you are pressing it through I imagine this would be less of an issue.


Once you’ve got all the good stuff, return the sauce to a boil. This is important because the processing time is based on hot sauce, not lukewarm sauce, so don’t be lazy and can the warm sauce or you could be making an unsafe product.


Before filling each jar with sauce, add one tablespoon of bottled lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp citric acid if you prefer) to each hot jar.


Then fill each jar leaving a half inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids, and tighten the bands finger tip tight.


Place the jars in the canner, covered by at least 1-2 inches of water and bring to a full rolling boil. Process for 35 minutes (for those of us less than 1000 feet in altitude). After 35 minutes turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes, and remove the jars to a hot pad or towel. Listen to the pings! PING PING PING!


12-24 hours later, check the seals, remove the bands and wipe down the jars; label and store! Enjoy all winter (or as long as you manage to make them last).


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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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