Canning Tomato Sauce

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The tomatoes have been pouring in for the last month and we are canning tomato sauce regularly.  I have “put up” 13 quarts and a couple pints of tomato sauce and I would like to double that.  I am not sure I will get there though.  My tomato plants have been hit with blight and are dying but I still have a bunch to pull.  Aside from the tomato sauce I have around 4 quarts of dried tomatoes and a couple freezer bags full, in case I come up short.

I love home canned tomato sauce but honestly I hate making it. It is messy and time consuming- time being extremely limited, it seems these days.  So last year I started tinkering with how to make the process easier and I have settled on a way utilizing my juicer.

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I jumped right in photographing this project and never once wrote down how many tomatoes I used or how much I cooked.  I must have forgotten I had a blog to document it with.  I have never really used a recipe I just use however many tomatoes I have to make however much sauce I end up with.  There is somewhere north of 50 lbs of tomatoes on the counter.  A mix of Roma, Jet Star, Garden Peach, Black Krim, Sun Gold, Yellow Pear, Black Cherry, and Sunsweet (you can read about planting the tomatoes here).  Not all of these were used for the sauce.  Some went into a fresh eating bowl, some were dehydrated, and some were stolen by my mom.

To make the sauce I will be using a food mill, a juicer, and a bunch of pots.  Most recipes that I used prior to this method involved cutting the tops off tomatoes, chopping them, cooking them to release juice, then putting mixture into food mill to remove seeds and skins, then returning to pot to boil down into sauce before canning.

What I dislike about that process is chopping off tops, ladling hot tomatoes into food mill, and then using another bowl to keep sauce in before returning to the pot.  To remove these steps I will simply juice whole tomatoes and then put the pulp from juicer through the food mill to remove tops, skins, and seeds.  Then add the finished pulp to a pot with some juice to cook sauce down.

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So the first step after washing is juicing the whole tomatoes.  The juice is caught by the bowl and the pulp if caught in the back.

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The pulp from the juicer goes into the food mill and the good part is pushed out the bottom.  I am mixing all my tomatoes together.

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The Roma tomatoes are those wonderful sauce ones with lots of pulp.  The Jet Star’s are big and help bulk up my harvests.  The heirloom Garden Peach and Black Krim are wonderful for flavor and I toss in handfuls of cherry tomatoes because when you planted as many as I did, you can’t keep up with eating them fresh.

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Once the pulp is separated I put it into pots to cook on the stove.

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I add about 1/2 the juice back into pots with the pulp and start boiling it down.  By not adding back all the juice I can get it down to a thicker consistency faster.  I have not yet tried boiling and canning the extra juice but maybe soon I will try it.

I use three pots for cooking the sauce as I lack larger stockpots (if I have any family reading this you can feel free to take this birthday/Christmas hint).  The fourth burner is used to simmer the mason jars so I can water bath can the sauce when it is boiled down.

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Once the sauce is to a consistency I like I cut the heat and prepare the jars.

canning tomatoes-8If you have never canned before you can read about canning safety measures on the Ball Fresh Preserving website.

For my tomato sauce I like using quart jars.  I put a teaspoon of salt and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in each sterilized jar before adding sauce.  This batch made me 7 full quarts and about another 1/2 quart that went into the refrigerator to use.

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I gave them a nice water bath boil for 45 minutes and then removed and let them rest for a day before packing them away in my cupboard to use this winter.  I like canning the sauce by itself, that way when I open a jar I can flavor it with other veggies, dried tomatoes and garden herbs depending on what recipe I am using.

Here are some recipe I have on blog that use my home canned tomato sauce…

Using my juicer method might not save dishes and Em does argue I still make a mess but for me it saves time and hassle.  That is key to keeping my motivation in a hot summer kitchen!



Jeff McIntosh

About Jeff McIntosh

Jeff's family lives in his childhood home on a 1/4 acre in town lot. Despite the small space to work with, they have challenged ourselves to produce as much of our own food as possible — and cook it! They document their journey at Blogging with Apples.