Home canned marinara sauce is easier than you think to make and it will give you fresh, preservative-free sauce to use all-year long!
Last summer was an epic year for our garden tomatoes. And I do mean EPIC.
We winter-sowed heirloom seeds in February and started planting itty bitty seedlings in late June. Do you know what happens when you don’t plant itty bitty seedlings until late June and then have an unexpectedly long summer?
You’re picking garden tomatoes at Halloween…in Connecticut. It was both amazing and a bit tiring at the same time. I mean, by October 1st, I’m all pumpkin-all-the-things but when you come back from a chilly fall week in Maine on October 11th to your canning tomatoes that have only just fully ripened, it’s kind of a shock.
All in all, we harvested from 8 plants last year which we grew solely for canning tomatoes in addition to 10 Brandywine plants for “eating” tomatoes. We ended up taking the weekend after our vacation to can about 60 pounds of our Bonny Best variety tomatoes which yielded approximately 6 quarts of whole tomatoes, 2 quarts of crushed tomatoes, and 2 quarts + 5 12-oz jars of marinara sauce.
And since we’re still eating through our stash from last fall, we’re still reaping the benefits of that crazy October canning weekend. Thanks to a safe and effective canning method, this sauce is still just as fresh as the day we canned it. Gotta love canning!
This canned marinara sauce was super simple to make after you make it through the slightly annoying part of chopping, par-boiling, and skinning the tomatoes. If you can grab a few extra pairs of hands to help you through that process, it’s smooth sailing after that. Add a few glasses of wine to your canning party and you’re ALL SET!
Home Canned Marinara Sauce
- Prep Time: 1hr 30min
- Cook Time: 5hrs 15min
- Yield: 4 quarts
The recipe you see below is only for home canned marinara. The process we used for canning whole or crushed tomatoes can be found on Food in Jars.
18 pounds paste or roma tomatoes
1 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
¾ cup bottled lemon juice
Core and roughly chop the tomatoes.
In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, and salt until transparent, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down.
Position a food mill or sieve over a large bowl and begin to press the hot tomatoes, onions and garlic through it, stopping to clear out the skins and seeds as needed (discard or compost the skins and seeds). Alternatively, you can run the vegetables through the food processor but this won’t remove the skins and seeds.
Return the pressed tomatoes to the pot and simmer the sauce until it is reduced by 1/3 to 1/2. The time for this will vary based on how juicy your tomatoes are – it took 4 hours for our sauce to cook down properly because our tomatoes were very juicy. About half an hour before you’re ready to can, stir in the basil and parsley.
At the same time that you add the herbs, prepare a water bath and submerge 4 quart jars in the water and boil for 10 minutes. Place lids in a small saucepan over very low heat to gently simmer while you prepare the tomatoes.
Take your prepared jars from the boiling water (of course, dumping the water back into the canning pot before proceeding) and add 3 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice to the bottom of each jar. Using a large ladle, transfer the hot tomato sauce into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace between the top of the sauce and the rim of the jar.
Wipe the rims with a clean kitchen towel, add lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. For smaller jars, reduce the processing time by 5 minutes.
Transfer the processed jars to a clean towel and allow the jars to sit untouched at room temperature for 24 hours before checking the lids for a seal and storing for up to 1 year. If any lids have not sealed, as evidenced by that characteristic “pop”, put the unsealed jars in the refrigerator immediately and use the sauce within 1 week.
adapted from Simple Bites
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