Homemade Canned Tomato Sauce

Oh what was I thinking when I bought all those tomatoes!

I picked up the tomatoes on Monday while it was pouring rain and started in on making homemade salsa. Tuesday rolled around and 1 case worth had been blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped. 20 pints and a bunch of hours later there were still about 2 cases of tomatoes left.

Tuesday was a 12 hour work day so I didn’t get around to working on the remaining tomatoes. Wednesday was spent trying to catch some sleep after working the night shift. The kids are still home from school so the sleeping thing didn’t go so well. The boxes of tomatoes sat in a big pile mocking me from the corner of the kitchen. I would have to wait until Thursday before working on the sauce. No sleep + sharp knives + boiling hot water = waiting to blanch and peel another 50 pounds of tomatoes. Unless I wanted to lose a finger or two.

Thursday was the big saucing day. Blanch, peel, dice. Blanch, peel, dice.


With my daughter’s help we finished the boxes in a day. Whew! My nails now seem to have a slight orange tint to the edges from handling the tomatoes.

I’m not sure what type of tomatoes we had but they were very juicy. We poured all the juicy that built up on the cutting board into a large container. In the end it was poured through a strainer to remove the seeds. I used some of it in some incredible Lime Chicken Chili…..recipe to be posted later.

Rather than make a seasoned tomato sauce I went with cooking them for several hours to remove the excess water and thicken them up a bit. When it’s time to actually make sauce I will add in onions, garlic, herbs and spices. Since there were some large tomatoes pieces I used an immersion blender to puree the last of the chunkier bits. Then we moved on to canning the tomato puree.

The canning jars were soaking in the clean sink in some nice hot water.

According to the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving we needed to add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each jar. Then each was filled with the hot sauce until there is 1/2 inch of head space left. Wipe the rims to make sure they are clean. Top with a lid and band. Place the jars in the hot water bath and process the quarts for 45 minutes.

While we didn’t get an exact weight it appears that 50 lbs of tomatoes (minus the skins and seeds) gave us about 15 quarts of sauce along with a quart or two of strained tomato juice.

I’m done canning for the week. Next up will most likely be apples. The farm said they will be ready before Labor Day this year. Looks like we will be out there picking our favorite Honeycrisp apples by next weekend.

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