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Homemade canned tomato sauce.

September 1, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we’ve been getting some insanely large tomatoes this year from our garden. Insane. I already used a bunch to make that hot tomato and peach jam, I gave some massive 1 1/2 lb. ones away and then I found myself with another 8 lbs. of them. And in this heat we’ve been having, you can’t just be lax and let them sit around for a while, you have to use them or they’ll get mushy and it’ll be a waste.

Last year I showed you all how to make my favorite simple tomato sauce. Well, this one isn’t quite as simple, and takes a lot longer to make. But the benefits are that it’ll keep all winter long and you can store it in your cabinets until you’re ready to use it.

Canned tomato sauce.

I have always wanted to do this, and either didn’t have enough tomatoes at once to make it worthwhile or used up all my tomatoes making salsa (I love salsa, guys. I really do). So this year when Jay mentioned that it was the one thing he really wanted to do, I agreed.

I found this recipe over at An Oregon Cottage. It’s from the old Ball Blue Book’s seasoned tomato sauce, and while it’s not included in current prints, it’s still safe and fine to be used.

What I did- since I didn’t have 23 lbs. of tomatoes- is I altered the measurements for my tomatoes. You can do the same. Just be sure to use the measurements exactly as given and divide them by what your amounts are, and not just use whatever measurements you want if you’re going to actually process them for shelf-stability.

Canned homemade tomato sauce.



  • 23 lbs. tomatoes (a variety of paste, heirloom and cutting provides the best flavor & consistency)
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, chopped**
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional, I omitted this)
  • 2 tablespoon canning salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano***
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Citric acid or bottled lemon juice


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Halving all ingredients to work in two batches, divide olive oil, onions, garlic, and dry seasonings between 2 or 3 roasting pans (what you have that will fit in your oven).
  2. Wash tomatoes, remove cores and blossom ends, cut in half and squeeze gently to remove some of the seeds. Place tomatoes, cut side down, on top of ingredients in prepared pans.
  3. Roast for about 40 minutes, turning once, until most of the tomato skins are puffed and browned. Remove from oven and pluck skins off with tongs (it’s okay not to get every bit).
  4. Scrape roasted vegetables into a large stockpot, set aside and repeat the prep and roasting with remaining half of ingredients (unless you are making just a half batch – then just proceed to next step).
  5. Using an immersion blender, whir roasted ingredients until smooth (alternately, you can scrape from the roasting pans into a blender in batches and then add to the stockpot). If you’d like to strain to remove seeds, now is the time for that, too, using a wire mesh sieve.
  6. Bring smooth sauce to a boil over med-high heat, lower heat and then simmer sauce until it reaches desired consistency, stirring often, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. You can adjust salt or dry seasonings to taste at this point if you wish.
  7. Prepare a water-bath canner, jars, and lids.
  8. Adding 1/4 tsp. citric acid to pints (1/2 tsp. to quarts) OR 1 TB. lemon bottled juice to pints (2 TB. for quarts), ladle the hot tomato sauce into hot jars, one at a time with 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims, attach lids and place in canner rack.
  9. Process 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts (if processing both pints and quarts together, use the longer processing time). Note: start the processing time after canner comes to a full boil and then adjust heat to keep a low boil for the timed amount.
  10. Remove from canner to a towel-lined surface and let cool 24 hours. Check seals, label & store for up to a year.
NOTES from AN OREGON COTTAGE re: this recipe-
*The current editions of the Blue Book do not have this exact recipe that is in the 10-year-old book, but it is still considered safe and was okayed by the extension office to use. I have lessened the olive oil, though, since the current recipe uses less and it works just fine with less.
**The tomatoes aren’t roasted long enough to fully roast whole garlic cloves, so you’ll want to chop them.
***Do not replace dried herbs with fresh, though you can increase or decrease the amounts given and add any other dried herbs you’d like.

Canned homemade tomato sauce.

It’s very important to remember you cannot substitute fresh herbs for the dried herbs in this recipe if you’re canning it. If you’re freezing it, then that’s fine. Same goes for the amounts of olive oil or lemon juice. If you’re freezing it and want to add more oil, that’s okay. You can also omit the lemon juice. But if you want to can it, DO NOT CHANGE OR ALTER THOSE AMOUNTS, UNLESS YOU’VE HALVED OR QUARTERED THE RECIPE EXACTLY BASED ON YOUR TOMATO AMOUNTS.

Canned homemade sauce.

For this photo, I picked some brand new Better Boy’s just to make it look prettier. However the sauce itself is a mix of Yellow Taxi, Brandywine, Better Boy and Big Beef tomatoes. Hence the more orangey color. If you use all bright red or all dark red tomatoes, your sauce will be more even colored. And if you use a mix of green and purple and red heirlooms, you’ll get a more muddy color. And that’s totally okay- color doesn’t matter.

Taste does.

Canned homemade tomato sauce.


Soundtrack: “Think For Yourself” – The Beatles
Sources & Credits: 16-oz. wide & regular mouth Ball® jars;, 32-oz. Kerr® wide mouth jar;, vintage striped tea towel, tomatoes direct from our garden.
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