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Tomato Sauce for Canning

This recipe is old. Very old. As in before I was born old. 🙂

It was the recipe my mom used back in the day when she used to can. She would go up to my Aunt Linda’s farm and can every day straight for two weeks!

This recipe as is makes 21 quarts. I don’t even have a pot that big, so I never make that much. I follow the recipe – kind of. I’m terrible about actually measuring things. So for this, I’ll give you my *quantities* for each item. Remember, everything is an about-ish. You really can do as much as you want.


Tomatoes – a crap ton. Technically supposed to be a bushel. I used like 5 gallon bags of frozen tomatoes.

Green Peppers – a little bit of a crap ton. I think I used 3-4 quart bags of frozen cut green peppers.

Onions – I think the recipe actually calls for 10. I used 1 quart bag and two raw that my mom told me she wanted used up.

Garlic – 1 bulb

Oil – About a cup. Not even actually needed if you really don’t want it.

Sugar – About a cup. Add more or less to taste.

Italian Blend – Technically 4T, but I just kept churning until I was sick of it.

Tomato Paste: I used 2 smaller cans. Use more if sauce is thin, less if it is thick.

For my canning, I use veggies that I’ve gotten from dumpster diving. That means everything is free! But it does take awhile to get enough ingredients. So I freeze everything. But before I freeze, I chop it all up. Tomatoes, onions, green peppers. All into tiny pieces.


Once I’ve gathered enough, it’s time to can. Take everything out to defrost it for at least an hour. Or be like me and get impatient and throw them in the microwave.


As soon as your veggies are softish and not like ice cubes, it’s time to blend them. Yes, blend. I throw everything in the blender first. Much easier than mashing by hand. It looks gross (especially the green peppers) but don’t worry, it works!



Pour your gross looking mixture into your pot. I ended up having to do two pots to begin with. Add in your oil and sugar. Turn the heat on high until it starts to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to between low and half. It needs to stay very hot, but it doesn’t need to be on a continuous boil. Now leave it for four hours. Ok, don’t actually leave it, leave it. You do need to stir every once in awhile.


After your four hours is up, add in the spices and paste. I just used Meijer brand tomato paste. Technically, the original recipe called for oregano, basil and italian seasoning. I only had italian seasoning, so that’s what I used. Stir everything really well. The sauce should be nice and thick. If it isn’t, turn the heat up and add more paste. Cook for just awhile longer until it gets thick.


Once it hits perfection, time to can! It’s easier with two people, but doable alone. I used quart jars this time. Last year I did pints, but those were too small for our family. We had to use two jars every time!


Anyways, my mom and I did the jars together. She used a ladle to put the super hot sauce into the jars. I immediately put a lid on and screwed on a ring. Make sure not to over tighten, just finger tip tight. I put them on the counter (which was covered with a beach towel) kind of away from each other. You DO NOT want them to touch, because apparently they could break.


Right after filling them all, we left to pick up Ella. By time we came back, the cans had sealed themselves! I didn’t even have to water bathe them. Which is awesome cause I was so done by time I got home.


I found the cutest circle chalkboard stickers to use as labels. They were only .59 for a pack of 24! I used one of my many chalk markers. Make sure you remember to add the date!


What I love about this sauce is that it is so basic so you can use it for so much. Doctor it up when you want so other flavors. Use it for spaghetti or for pizza. So many uses!


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