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How to Can Tomato Sauce


Homemade Canned Tomato Sauce

Homemade Canned Tomato Sauce

Photo © Molly Watson
This super basic canned tomato sauce has just tomatoes and salt (and jarred lemon juice to assure a proper acidic environment for canning) - making it perfect for canning because you can add any additional flavors later, when you go to use it. Note that fleshier Roma, plum, or Early Girl tomatoes are great here since they have less juice to cook down to make the sauce.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 4 pints


  • 8 lbs. supremely ripe tomatoes (a bit overripe isn't bad here either)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp. jarred or bottled lemon juice
  • 4 pint-size jars with sealable lids for canning


  1. Rinse the tomatoes clean and pat them dry. Now you need to remove the seeds and skin. This can be done one of three ways:

    Option 1: Cut a small "x" in the bottom of each tomato and blanch them for about 30 seconds in boiling water, remove to an ice bath, slip off their skins, cut in half and squeeze out the seeds.

    Option 2: Roughly chop the tomatoes and run them through a food mill.

    Option 3: Whirl the tomatoes quickly in a blender and push the puree through a fine sieve.

  2. Put the peeled and seeded tomatoes or tomato puree in a pot with the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring now and again, until the mixture is reduced by about a third, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sterilize the jars and lids bring a canning kettle full of water to a boil.
  4. Put 1 Tbsp. of the lemon juice in each of the 4 jars. Transfer the hot tomato sauce to the hot jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of head space at the top. Screw on the lids, put the jars in a canning rack, and lower them into the boiling water in the canning kettle. Process for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove jars and let them cool. Store in a cool, dark place (a cupboard or pantry works great) until ready to use.

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