There is nothing better than homemade spaghetti sauce! Whether you are keeping an eye on your health – homemade spaghetti sauce contains much less sugar and sodium than the commercially available varieties – or you simply prefer the taste of fresh sauce this summer harvest.
However, it is important that you follow a clear, proven recipe when adding sauce to a canner. Failure to follow a well-established recipe can lead to serious diet-related illnesses.
Luckily, in this article we have everything you need to know about canning your own home-made spaghetti sauce. Grab your gear – and your juicy, ripe tomatoes! – and off you go
Which types of tomatoes are best for homemade spaghetti sauce?
To be honest, you can use almost any type of tomato for homemade spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes sometimes vary in origin, shape, size and color, but all tomato plants make a delicious sauce.
Some are better than others. If you use a tomato paste, it will have less seeds and a firmer texture. These plants also produce their tomatoes at once, making it easier to process fruits into sauce.
The most popular pasty tomatoes are:
- San Marzano
- Amish paste
- Roma (or any other standard plum variety)
- Viva Italian
- San Marzano Redorta (a heirloom variety)
- Mama Leone
- Russian Big Roma (a disease-resistant Roma, which is a unique indefinite variety and produces fruits throughout the growing season)
- Jersey Devil
- Polish Linguisa
You can also use cherry tomatoes or even big beefsteaks for your spaghetti sauce. It's your choice! If you do not mind adding more seeds to your sauce, any type of tomato is suitable. Pate Tomatoes, however, are easier to blanch and peel and require less preparation to prepare your sauce.
To be honest, I often use all kinds of tomatoes that I have lying around to prepare my sauce. This often means I use a combination of mostly Romans and a few beefsteaks and my new favorite tomato, the Mortgage Lifter.
Because the beefsteaks and Mortgage Lifters have significantly more seeds and a meatier, juicier consistency, they run a bit more fluid. So I just add more romas to thicken them again.
Adding cornstarch or other thickening agents can also help thicken the sauce if it is too watery. However, I recommend this after canning.
Thickeners in your sauce can cause the canned foods in a water bath to be unsafe. Sometimes they can clump together if you do not mix them to a roux first. Add thickener after you have canned your sauce before you use it for the best results.
If you select tomatoes for your sauce, choose only the fully ripe ones. If your tomatoes are not ripe, they taste more bitter and can be harder to blanch and peel. Use only flawless fruit with intact skin to avoid contamination.
Add other ingredients to your sauce
The recipe we give you contains certain proportions of tomatoes, herbs and other ingredients. If you want, you may like to deviate a little from the recipe. Most importantly, you can easily change the chemistry of your sauce by adding other ingredients.
Most of the time this is fine – but adding too much other vegetables like peppers or onions can make your sauce too basic (acid loss) and this can compromise the safety of your canned food. To counter this, either increase the amount of other ingredients or add extra citric acid (lemon juice).
Another way to make sure your glasses are safe is to process tomato sauce in a pressure scanner. If you prepare a simple marinara without peppers or onions, this is not necessary.
However, if you use non-water-safe ingredients (including vegetables or thickeners), you may want to use the glasses in a pressure scanner to avoid disease.
This article explains how to process tomato sauce in a water bathwhich is preferred by most people because it is so fast. Since we do not add peppers or onions, this type of tin is safe. However, If you want to add other ingredients, make sure you use a print scanner.
- 25 pounds of tomatoes – if you use romas, it's about 80 fruits
- 4 teaspoons oregano
- 2 tsp parsley
- 2 tsp basil
- 2 cans of tomato paste (optional – if your sauce is thick enough, you can add more tomatoes instead to balance the volume)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅔ cup of sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons of Worcestshire sauce
- 1 cup of lemon juice plus 2 tbsp
- 8 chopped garlic cloves
- ¼ cup of salt
1. Preparation of your sauce: 2 options
When you finish making your sauce into the Canner, you have two options for how to prepare your ingredients. You can also process your sauce in a saucepan on the stove and simmer for several hours. If you do not want to sit in the pot, you can also cook your sauce in a slow cooker.
No matter what you decide, the steps to prepare your ingredients are the same. However, you must make sure that you set the cooking time depending on the method used.
First bring two liters of water on your stove to a boil. While you wait for the water to boil, rinse your tomatoes and remove the stems.
Once the water boils, use a slotted spoon or forceps to introduce each of your tomatoes into the boiling water. Leave it there for about a minute. As soon as the skin of the tomatoes seems to retire, you should remove them and place them in an ice bath.
Allow the tomatoes to cool for a moment so they do not burn their fingers. Peel tomatoes and quarter, each in a stock pot. If you use Roma tomatoes, you can put in the whole tomato. However, if you use a larger tomato such as a beefsteak, you should cut out the core. This will not make you sick, but it does not taste pleasant in a sauce.
If you plan to prepare your sauce in a pressure vessel, you can add peppers and onions as you like. Do not add peppers or onions when working in a water bath. However, if you decide to use a print scanner, put your green peppers and onions in a food processor or blender.
You can also hack them by hand before you put them in the soup pot. Put the rest of your ingredients in the pot with your tomatoes, peppers and onions.
If cooking in a soup pot on the stove, allow the mixture to simmer uncovered for at least four hours and stir occasionally. Remove the bay leaves after the four hours have elapsed.
Step 2. Prepare your glasses and canners
I like to cook my glasses while the sauce is still cooking to make the most of my time. Warm up your glasses by warming them in a hot water bath or put them in the dishwasher in a hot cycle. Make sure your tapes are also cleansed.
While you finish your glasses, you can also prepare your scanner. A water bath scanner can be safely used for this job. Make sure there is enough boiling water in the container to completely cover the glasses.
The instructions that you will receive in this article apply to canning in a water bath. If you choose a print scanner, you do not have to prime and heat up your water, you need to adjust your processing times, as putting it in a pressure scanner is slightly different than getting it into a water bath scanner. Look for another recipe for the best results, as you can use more glasses in a print scanner.
Step 3. Fill your glasses
Once your jars are done and your sauce is done, you can put two tablespoons of lemon juice in each of your nine glasses. Make sure the glasses are nice and hot! Pour the spicy sauce into the jars and leave about half an inch of head space.
Remove any air bubbles with a plastic remover and adjust the air space by adding or removing more sauce. Wipe the edges to make sure there is no sauce left, as this may affect the preservation process. Center the lids on your glasses and screw them tight but not too tight.
Step 4. Place the glasses in the Canner
Time to go! Carefully place each jar in your scanner. Make sure the water covers the glasses and add more if not.
Step 5. Process your glasses
Bring your water back to a boil. Once the water boils, you should process for 40 minutes.
Step 6. Remove the glasses
You can cool the glasses in the scanner if you want. However, it is better to remove them once you are done.
Place the hot glasses on a towel (make sure you cover your worktop to avoid damage!). Ideally, the place where you can cool your glasses should be draft-free and free of direct sidewalks.
Step 7. Save your glasses
Once the glasses have cooled (I like to give them about twelve hours), you can keep them. Check for signs of dose failure. Make sure your lids are sealed (which is often indicated by popping noises as the glasses cool) and that there are no residues on the outside of the jars.
If you have hard water, you may notice white spots on the outside of the glasses. That's not something you have to worry about – just wipe it off.
You can store your glasses in a cool, dark place like a cellar or your pantry. They should take several years.
Some final tips
- This recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce. You do not need to use it if you do not like the taste, but try it. This makes it taste better, even if you have sat in a jar for several months.
- You can either use freshly squeezed lemon juice or bottled lemon juice. For optimal safety, I recommend bottled lemon juice.
- If you are at a height not exceeding 300 meters, you can follow this recipe directly. However, if you're up to 3,000 feet tall, you'll need to add five minutes. Add 10 minutes at 6,000 feet and 15 minutes at 8,000 feet. At 10,000 feet you have to add a whopping 20 minutes.
- This sauce is incredibly good for you. It contains less than 120 calories for three quarters of a cup and only 17 grams of carbohydrates. It even has three grams of protein!
So, what do you think – do you have what it takes? This sauce tastes great when placed over pasta or even pizza!
You can also add ground beef, lamb, chicken or turkey to get a full meal. We recommend this only after canning and immediately before cooking to ensure that your jars are safe and the quality of the meat is maintained.
And if you feel like it, we've written about a whole host of other things you can do, such as:
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