Canning Tomato Sauce with Photos

A note about the photos: You may biggify if you would like more detail.

Finally my process for canning tomato sauce: I throw all my tomatoes in my big stainless stockpot. You want stainless so it doesn’t react with the acid of the tomatoes. Aluminum reacts and will give you funny colors and sometimes change the taste a bit. So use stainless or enamel coated. I don’t core, peel, or de-seed my tomatoes at this point. I just make sure there aren’t any green stems (and sometimes I don’t even bother to do that) and I wash them.

fresh tomatoes starting to cook down

fresh tomatoes starting to cook down

I let these cook down until the skins pop open and as I stir the tomatoes they mush down. I try to get all the tomatoes popped open with my spoon before I do anything else with them. This is also when I add things like garlic so it can cook down with the tomatoes.

tomatoes starting to sweat down

tomatoes starting to sweat down

most of the tomatoes popped open

most of the tomatoes popped open

Then I scoop tomatoes into my Foley food mill and run them through. This pulls the skin and seeds and core out and gives a nice smooth sauce texture. Garlic cloves that have been cooked with the tomatoes run through the mill nicely as well. I let the sauce cook for a while and reduce down until it is a little thicker. When you first sauce them they are usually pretty watery unless you have all paste tomatoes. I usually don’t fuss with specific kinds of tomatoes. I sauce whatever I’ve got. It just means some need to cook down longer than others.

Milling the sauce in the Foley food mill

Milling the sauce in the Foley food mill

Waste skin and seeds destined for the compost.

waste skin and seeds

sauce after going through the mill

sauce after going through the mill

While the sauce cooks down I get my jars sterilized in my water bath canner. This is also the time I add things like basil if I’m doing a sauce that I want lots of flavor.

sterilizing jars

sterilizing jars

I scoop sauce into each jar. I always add about a tablespoon of commercial lemon juice concentrate to each jar. This insures that your acid content is high enough to make water bath canning safe. After jars are full (leave about ½ inch head space, or the space from the food to the top of the jar) run a damp towel around the top of the jar. This removes any food that may prevent you lids from sealing.

ladling sauce

ladling sauce

Put your warmed lids and rings on. Only tighten the rings finger tight. They don’t need to be super tight or you may have jars break. Process in your water bath canner according to the time on your recipe adjusted for your elevation/altitude.

warming your lid(s)

warming your lid(s)

rings ready to go

rings ready to go

When putting your jars in and out of your canner is when that funny looking jar lifter comes in so handy. I also use a chopstick to fish out my jar lids without burning my fingers off. I wouldn’t mind one of the lid racks or the magnetic lifter but you don’t have to have them. I’ve canned for many years without just fine.

tools of the trade

tools of the trade

Now that you’ve got your sauce in the jars, lids and rings on, and the jars full of sauce are in the canner, you need to process them. All that means is that you bring your water back to boiling and you boil them for the amount of time specified in your recipe. Don’t forget to adjust your time for your altitude.

When you are done with processing pull them out and let them cool on a towel on the counter. Lids up. When they are cool you can pull your rings off, test your seal, and wash the jars down. Once that is all done label them and store them in your pantry or cupboard.

jar lids labeled

jar lids labeled

sauce in the jars

sauce in the jars

pantry storage

pantry storage

pantry storage

pantry storage

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About littlehawkyarns

I'm a gardener that is trying to provide good food for my family to enjoy. I have two children, two dogs, a husband, four chickens, and four cats. In addition gardening I enjoy handwork such as knitting, crochet, and sewing. I'm in the process of trying to learn tatting and embroidery as well. I am soon adding more critters to the collection since we just got property and I spin yarn.
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