When I am canning tomato sauce, I use Roma tomatoes. Meatier tomatoes like the Roma tomato will give a thicker sauce. Juicier tomatoes will have to be cooked down more to thicken.
Wash tomatoes and remove stems and bruised portions.
You'll need to remove skins.
Removing seeds is optional. When I'm canning tomato sauce, seeds don't bother me for things like spaghetti sauce or stews and chili. But I would not want seeds in something with a smoother consistency like ketchup or tomato soup. Depending on what your use is for the sauce, you may leave the seeds if you like.
I've described three ways to prepare your tomatoes for canning. The method you choose will depend on how you want to preserve it.
I'll explain the options. Then continue at the bottom for ideas of how to use your tomato sauce, or if you want to can it up just like it is without seasoning, I give full canning instructions below as well.
This option will remove the skins but not the seeds.
This is easiest done in a blancher. If you don't have one, you can just use a slotted spoon and a big pot of boiling water.
Blanch 4 to 6 (or more if small) tomatoes at a time. This will always depend on the size of the tomato. In the example pictures, I am doing Roma tomatoes. I like them for canning because they are meatier than other tomatoes. They are smaller too, so I can fit more in the blancher.
Tip - I like to have two pots set up in my double sink. The one on the left is for the cold water to cool the tomatoes as they come out of the blancher. The one on the right is to slide the skins off into. The pots are lower than if you set them on a counter, which is easier on the arms, while the sink makes for easy clean up.
As you skin the tomatoes, slice them into a pot where they will be simmered.
Another way of preparing your tomatoes for canning is to use a food mill. This is my preferred method. The food mill removes both the skins and the seeds.
First, wash your tomatoes in cold water, and then slice in half. Simmer the tomatoes to make them softer for the food mill.
It is easier to do this if you have some juice in your pan to start, so try this: Place a single layer of tomatoes in a pot. As it heats, use a potato masher to crush tomatoes to draw out the juices. When you have a bit of juice in your pot, continue slicing tomatoes in half and adding to the pot.
When all tomatoes are sliced, simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until tomatoes are juicy and heated through.
I used two large pots to simmer 30 pounds of tomatoes. With the tomatoes split into 2 groups, it is less likely to scorch.
Put tomatoes through the food mill. This removes all skin and seeds.
This option does not remove the skins or the seeds. I'll use this on occasion when I'm in a hurry to take care of lots of tomatoes.
The method is pretty self-explanatory. Just wash your tomatoes, remove any stems, plop them in the blender and blend until smooth. Just long enough to get them all soft and saucy. Work in batches a few at a time until all tomatoes are finished.
I do this step with the tomatoes raw. I suppose you could simmer your tomatoes first, but be very cautious about hot liquid spitting out of the blender and burning you.
Now you are ready for canning tomato sauce. You can use it in recipes like stewed tomatoes or spaghetti sauce if you want. Canning tomato sauce unseasoned is a great idea. It is very easy to use for many recipes when you are ready to cook supper.
First, bring the tomatoes to a boil. Use a medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning. If you had especially meaty tomatoes and your sauce is thick, you may need to just stand there and stir.
It can be canned just as soon as it is hot and bubbly. IF you would like to have a thicker sauce, you can cook it down. Simmer, uncovered, to thicken. Cook until it reaches your desired consistency. Stir frequently to avoid burning! The amount of canned tomato sauce may be reduced by nearly one-half.
An easy way to do this is to place sauce in a slow cooker and leave the lid off. Let it cook until thickened.
Gather your canning supplies:
For more information on why acidifying your tomatoes is important, please read...
...do you really need lemon juice?
To process the sauce just as is: Fill hot jars. Add 1 T lemon juice to pint jars and 2 T lemon juice to quart jars. Leave a 1-inch headspace.
My suggestions is to follow pressure canning instructions. This is my preferred method and is what I've included below.
Be sure and adjust your processing to your altitude.
Be sure you are using the correct time with the correct method. Double check... water bath? Or pressure canning? And be sure to use the instructions for your altitude.
For more information on why this is important, see this altitude adjustments page.
Process Pressure Canner
Pints - 15 minutes.
Quarts - 20 minutes.
|Adjustments for Pressure Canner|
|Altitude in Feet||Dial Gauge Canner||Weighted Gauge Canner|
Process Water Bath Canner
Altitude in Feet - Processing time in minutes
1-1000 - pints 35, quarts 40.
1001-3000 - pints 40, quarts 45.
3001-6000 - pints 45, quarts 50.
6001-higher - pints 50, quarts 55.