Every year, when our gardens fill with ripe, red, fresh tomatoes, we love it, but we wonder what we’re going to do with such a bountiful harvest. Tomato season is an incredible time and allows us to enjoy juicy Roma tomatoes in our salads and pizzas, but we often wind up with bags of them in our pantries – more than we can handle. We don’t want this hard work to go to waste, so it’s crucial to know how to prepare and store tomatoes for year-round consumption.
One option is canning whole tomatoes, of course, but if you want to set yourself up for a year of delicious and quick Italian meals, canning tomato sauce or canning tomato juice is a great storage choice, too. In this article, we’ll look at the tomato sauce canning process and give you what you need to know to make your canning process easy and safe.
We’ve cracked open the “Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving” so we can show you how to prepare and can your sauce, and we walk you through our tried-and-true canning method. And, we let you know what equipment you’ll need to pick up ahead of time, as well.
Tomato Sauce Canning
To determine how long do tomatoes last depends on how you preserve them. Obviously, tomatoes stored in the pantry have a much shorter life than when canning sauce or juice.
It’s important to know how to tell if a tomato is bad so that you won’t use it during canning. Discard tomatoes that have holes, moldy spots, are wrinkled, or mushy. They will take away from the flavor of your tomato sauce.
Here, we’ll examine the benefits that come with canning tomato juice or canning tomato sauce using a pressure cooker, and we’ll share our favorite canned tomato sauce recipe for canning; our canned tomato sauce recipe will taste amazing anytime you choose to use it. Our guide will make your summer less stressful and your winter much tastier!
In addition to the obvious benefits of canning tomato sauce, it’s highly recommended to use the canning tomatoes that you put up earlier in the season or last year. It’s also possible to use freezing tomatoes that you preserved this year or last.
While canning green tomatoes is a great way to preserve these tart beauties, we don’t recommend using them for tomato sauce. They are better used for your other tomato recipes instead. For example, there are many simple and delicious quick pickled green tomatoes recipes available to use up an excess of these fruits.
Thaw frozen tomatoes to make homemade tomato sauce that is more delicious and flavorful than anything from a can from the store. Taking advantage of your own stored produce will make your sauce will taste better than you ever thought possible!
Canning, Storing and Using Tomato Sauce
Our tomato sauce needs to last all year long, and we want to make sure that the sauce remains safe and contaminant-free for your family’s safety. Inadequate or missing equipment or unsanitary conditions might not seem worth fretting over during the home canning process at first, but any oversights or skipped steps can result in your sauce going bad in the jar.
Treating your canned sauce properly when you open the lid is equally essential, as canned sauce needs additional loving care at the end before it’ll be ready for your family table.
In this section, we examine how to can tomato sauce. We also go through the canning process step by step and make sure that you get the most out of your canned tomato sauce when you’re ready to crack open a jar for dinner one night.
Not only can you preserve tomatoes in this way, but you can also use different recipes for canning banana peppers, different fruits, and other vegetables. It’s easy to learn how to can green beans and even carrots. Canning is a great way to use excess produce to eat during the colder months.
Your canning success will hinge on how well you treat your sauce during its lifetime; with our canning instructions, you’ll be ready to serve fresh-tasting and delicious tomato sauce all year long.
Canning Tomato Sauce
To begin canning home made tomato sauce, you’ll need to have a tomato sauce recipe for canning. We provide our favorite recipe later in the article, and we encourage you to use it, but if you have a favorite home recipe for tomato sauce for canning that’s been passed down to you through the generations, that’s fine to use as well.
The goal here is to use a tomato sauce recipe explicitly designed for canning, as fully cooked sauces won’t work as well in recipes after you open them.
Make sure you wash and clean your jars and ensure proper safety protocols when cleaning canning lids. Use extra care to keep the jars sterile when using a boiling water canner. Whether you choose water bath canning or pressure canning, the goal is to have a safe canning process that works every time.
Pressure canning tomato sauce will expose the jars to high enough temperatures to sterilize anything, but you should still take care to keep the canning equipment as clean as possible. It’s vital to know how to sterilize canning jars before you use them to ensure that your food doesn’t spoil before you can eat it.
Pour three quarts of water into the canner, or fill the hot water bath canner pot. Whichever canner you use, place it over high heat as you work with the jars.
Heat your jars and lids until you fill them by placing them in a separate pot with several inches of boiling water until you use them or leaving them in a heated dishwasher. Keep the canning seals warm by placing them in a shallow pan of hot but not boiling water.
Fill the hot jars with sauce, leaving about one-inch headspace at the top. Measure the headspace carefully, as 1/2 inch headspace will result in spoiled food.
Add lemon juice to the remaining space in the jars – the citric acid in lemon juice is an excellent preservative and seal. Place the jars inside the pressure canner, or submerge the jars in the boiling water bath.
You’ll need to change your boil or pressure processing times according to whether you use quart jars or pint jars and where you live. For best results, we recommend you consult the chart the National Center for Home Preservation provides that allows you to adjust for various jar sizes and altitudes to meet USDA requirements (..).
Canning tomatoes and sauce can be a messy job so wear old clothes. If you find yourself with a stain, getting tomato sauce out of clothes is relatively easy with some grease-cutting dish soap and water.
Storing and Using Your Canned Tomato Sauce
Now that you’ve got your sauce sterile and safely packed away in jars, it’s time to save them for future use. Proper storage can make or break your tomato sauce canning experience and will determine whether your canned sauce has a long life or a short, tragic one.
A little forethought will keep your sauces happy and tasty, so finding them their best home is essential and worth the effort. Using your canned sauce correctly is crucial as well, as some dishes are better suited for canned tomato sauce than others.
Take a few minutes to pick a functional storage space where your jars can sit undisturbed for an extended period. If you have the time and forethought, scout out a possible storage location long before you can your tomatoes.
When you find a likely spot in your house, place a thermometer there, and check the temperature across time to make sure that you choose a spot with constant mild temperatures and as little light exposure as possible. Dark, cool places are friends to canned goods and will prolong your sauce’s life.
When you’re ready to open a jar and make a recipe with canned tomato sauce, make sure that your recipe requires some additional cooking. Your canned tomato sauce needs to be cooked a bit more, so it’s perfect for use in a pizza or calzone.
You can, of course, use your canned sauce to make spaghetti sauce, but if you do so, cook it further rather than merely reheating it, and add additional ingredients such as fresh basil and other fresh herbs along with some dried herbs. With care, you can use your canned tomato sauce to make your Italian dishes into delicious delights throughout the year.
Why is Canning Tomato Sauce a Great Option?
With so much going on in our lives, it’s natural to question any effort you make that takes time away from other activities. You might be wondering why you should preserve your tomato sauce for the long haul. Why is tomato sauce so vital that it needs to be canned and used all year long?
This section answers those questions. We take a look at what makes tomato sauce such a valuable meal choice, and we provide you with all of the reasons you’ll need to include tomato sauce canning in your yearly activities.
And, we wrap things up with our favorite tomato sauce recipe for canning. You’ll love how it tastes, and you’ll be astonished at how well it lasts.
Tomato Sauce Health Benefits
You’ll find all sorts of health boosts in tomato sauce. A single cup of tomato sauce has half your daily recommended vitamin C, and a quarter of your recommended vitamin A. You’ll also find tomato sauce a good source of fiber, depending on preparation and tomato type – you’ll get up to six grams of fiber in that cup of sauce.
Tomato sauce is an essential antioxidant source, as well. Along with Vitamins A and C, tomato sauce contains lycopene, all established antioxidant agents.
You also get a fantastic flavor-to-calorie profile with tomato sauce: although a cup of sauce only holds about a hundred calories, it’s exploding with flavor. If you want a healthy meal choice but still want to get the best flavor bang for your caloric buck, tomato sauce is a great option.
Tomato Sauce Flavor
There’s simply nothing else that tastes like tomato sauce. It has an instantly recognizable flavor that knocks you out and keeps your taste buds happy. Nothing works better with cheese and pasta than tomato sauce, of course, and you can also use it to liven up casseroles and other dishes.
There’s no substitute for tomato sauce flavor, and your family knows it. We’ve included a great tomato sauce recipe for canning; it will make a tasty, thick sauce suitable for canning.
Wash the tomatoes, and score them on one end with a knife to form an “x.” Drop the tomatoes into a stockpot of boiling water. When the tomato skin begins to peel back at the score marks after thirty seconds to a minute, move the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water, and peel them.
Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and add them to your saucepan. Sauté the garlic and onions in a large frying pan with a little olive oil until softened. Add the onions and garlic to the tomatoes, and simmer on low heat.
Once the vegetables are soft and the sauce is full of tomato juice, remove the saucepan from the heat. Once the mix has cooled, pour it through a strainer or food mill to remove seeds and any remaining skin. Run the sauce through a food processor or blender to achieve a smooth consistency.
Return the sauce to the heat, add the tomato paste and simmer. Add bay leaves, oregano, peppers, and sugar. Simmer uncovered until the sauce volume reduces by about half for a thin sauce; simmer longer for a thicker sauce. The sauce is now ready for canning; remove the bay leaves, and keep the sauce warm until you pour it into jars.
If you happen to get some tomato sauce on your clothes while canning, there are several home remedies for removing tomato stains that you can employ that are safe for most fabrics and easy to use.
We hope that you enjoyed this guide to canning tomato sauce at home. Tomatoes are an excellent addition to the garden and kitchen, so why not keep the love coming all year long? Our guide on how to can tomato sauce will help you realize your goal of delicious year-round Italian meals and will save you time and effort.
You’ll be astonished at how a few jars of tomato sauce will make the darkest winter night a little brighter. For the first time, you’ll be able to have a taste of summer any time of year!
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