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Tomato sauce (also known as salsa roja in Spanish or salsa di pomodoro in Italian) can refer to many different sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish, rather than as a condiment. Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as bases for sauces for Mexican salsas and Italian pasta dishes. Tomatoes have a rich flavor, high water content, soft flesh which breaks down easily, and the right composition to thicken into a sauce when stewed without the need of thickeners such as roux or masa. All of these qualities make them ideal for simple and appealing sauces.
In countries such as the United Kingdom, India, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the term tomato sauce is used to describe a condiment similar to ketchup. In some of these countries, both terms are used for the condiment.
How Can I Use Canned Spaghetti Sauce?
- Stuffed Shells
- Chicken Parmesan
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Minestrone Soup
- Pizza Sauce, simply add a little extra tomato paste to thicken it up.
Water Bath Canning Spaghetti Sauce
This particular recipe for canned spaghetti sauce hasn’t been “officially” tested for water-bath canning. However, after MUCH research, we’ve found that if you add lemon juice to the jars this recipe is acidic enough for canning. Tomatoes are in the “gray area” of having enough acidity, so they might be just fine on their own. But adding a bit of lemon juice ensures their acidity. If you’re still worried, you can pressure can them or add more lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
UPDATE: This recipe has been tried and LOVED by many of you. Be sure to check out the comments to see everyone’s reviews about this canned spaghetti sauce.
Can I Add Ground Beef to the Canned Spaghetti Sauce?
You can add ground beef ONLY if you are going to pressure can it OR if you freeze it instead of canning it (or you just want to eat it fresh or within a few days). Do not add ground beef if you are planning to water-bath can or steam can — it will not be safe to eat after sitting on the shelf.
Can I Add (fill in the blank) to this recipe?
Be really careful when adding or omitting ingredients to a canning recipe. You are usually fine adding spices but when it comes to adding more produce, meat or anything else it could throw off the acidity levels, thus making unsafe for canning.
How long does Canned Spaghetti Sauce last on the shelf?
We usually try to eat anything that we have canned within a year. You can probably go a couple years but probably not much longer than that. Some canning sites even say you shouldn’t go more than 6 months, but I think you are fine going longer than that.
How long does home canned spaghetti sauce last?
The flavor and nutrient levels in your home canned spaghetti sauce are best when used within one to two years. If you store the sauce in the freezer, try to use it within six months.
We’ve used a few home canned items at five years of age, but the flavor is not as good.
Never use a canned product with a broken seal, bulging lid or other obvious signs of damage or spoilage.
How do you thicken homemade spaghetti sauce for canning?
Low, slow cooking is my default option to thicken the sauce and concentrate the flavor of the tomatoes. Other options include:
- Weigh and freeze the tomatoes, and then allow them to thaw in a colander to remove excess liquid before proceeding with the recipe.
- Can the sauce when it is somewhat thin, and then add tomato powder or dehydrated tomato puree to thicken when you heat the sauce for serving. I use this option when I make sauce out of cherry tomatoes or other very juicy tomatoes instead of paste tomatoes.
Some people grind up the skins and seeds to thicken the sauce. For our tastes, this made the sauce so bitter that we couldn’t eat it.
SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH MEAT
Add some meat to your spaghetti sauce with a pound of Italian sausage or ground beef. Brown it off in a hot skillet first and then add to the pot to simmer for a meaty Bolognese sauce.
HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH JALAPENO
If you like spicy sauces, chop up 4 or 5 jalapenos and add them to the blender with the onions and green peppers before simmering the fresh tomatoes.
HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH RED WINE
The traditional Italian way of making a rich homemade fresh tomato sauce is by adding 1 cup of wine for every liter of sauce and simmering it to cook the alcohol, leaving you with a seriously rich sauce with a bright red color.
One of my favorite uses for this delicious spaghetti sauce is using it as the base for spaghetti Bolognese. Just add meat to the sauce and boil some spaghetti, top with parmesan cheese, and voilà – you have an authentic spaghetti Bolognese dinner the whole family can enjoy.
Now let’s get started!
To make this canned spaghetti sauce recipe, you’re going to need about 18-19 pounds of fresh tomatoes, which is right around 60 tomatoes.
I use a mix of Roma (paste) tomatoes and every day garden tomatoes (I think I have early girl in my garden this year which I used for this recipe).
PEELING THE TOMATOES
The more traditional method of removing the skins from the tomatoes involves plunging the tomatoes into boiling water and then plunging again into ice water.
What Are The Ingredients In Spaghetti Sauce With Fresh Tomatoes?
When I make my easy homemade spaghetti sauce, I use as many fresh ingredients as I can. Since starting the garden in 2016, I do now grow most of my herbs and spices needed for canning.
How do I blanch tomatoes?
Just dump some tomatoes into a large stockpot of boiling water for about 1-2 minutes, and then immediately remove them and dump them into a pot of ice cold water. If you look closely at the photo below in step 3 you’ll see that the skin has actually split off of the tomatoes – perfect!
Cut your tomatoes into smaller pieces discarding the core/stem. Don’t worry about the seeds – I just leave them in there. You can remove them if you want but plan on adding an extra hour in if you want to get all of your seeds out! It’s pretty time consuming and if you leave them in they’ll end up dissolving right into your sauce anyway.
Cut them in the food processor and then dump them into your tomato pile. Then cut up 2-3 green bell peppers and add them to the mix. Mince & add 1/2 head of garlic (or 1 tsp. of the pre-minced garlic). Add 2 cans of tomato paste to help thicken it up.
Simmer it on your stove top for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally as not to burn the bottom! Add 1 Tbsp. oregano, 2 tsp. thyme, 2 tsps. rosemary, 1 Tbsp. lemon basil, and 1 Tbsp. Worcester sauce. Sprinkle in a bit of salt and pepper. Simmer 10-30 minutes depending on how thin/thick you want your sauce!
How to Peel Tomatoes for Canning Spaghetti Sauce
You’ll need to first peel and core the tomatoes before making this spaghetti sauce for canning. As the skin can contain bacteria, it needs to be removed before making the sauce.
I have a step-by-step blog post showing how to peel tomatoes here, but it’s fairly easy one you learn how to do it.
Start by washing the tomatoes, then making an X at the bottom of the tomatoes and place in a large pot of boiling water (in batches) for 60 seconds then promptly remove and place in a large bowl filled with ice water.
Let the tomatoes cool, then the peels should slip right off.
Core the tomatoes (full tutorial on how to core tomatoes here) and quarter them. Place in a large saucepan and boil for 20 minutes uncovered.
Make the Spaghetti Sauce for Canning
Start by heating the olive oil in a separate large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and bell peppers and cook until tender, about 10 minutes taking care to make sure the garlic doesn’t brown.
Add in the salt, spices and sugar along with the tomato puree and bring to a boil.
Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until thick. The initial volume will be reduced by roughly one-half.
Process the Canned Spaghetti Sauce using a Pressure Canner
This recipe works in either a weighted-gauge or dial-gauge pressure canner. The processing time will vary depending on whether you are using pint jars or quart jars. As mentioned above, you’ll need a pressure canner for this recipe as a water bath canner isn’t able to safely can this recipe as it doesn’t have additional acidic ingredients like bottled lemon juice or citric acid.
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