This recipe for canned tomato sauce is the most basic one. You can either can it in jars or if you prefer you can portion it into ziploc bags and freeze it.
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FIRST - Sterilize the jars - SEE BELOW
You can use any variety of tomato for tomato sauce.
Roma's will have less water as they are a meaty tomato.
Beefsteak tomatoes are popular for canning because they are large and fill the jars quickly.
Use whatever you can purchase locally at a good price.
Wash the tomatoes.
Place several tomatoes in a large bowl in the sink.
Boil some water and pour the boiling water over the tomatoes to scald them. Let the tomatoes sit in the hot water for a couple minutes as the heat will loosen up the tomato skins.
Use a sharp little kitchen knife to cut out the hard stem area and to easily slide the skins off the tomatoes.
Place the peeled tomato into a large clean bowl and keep repeating this process until you have all your tomatoes peeled.
You may need to do in batches, depending how many tomatoes you are canning and boil fresh water as once the water cools down, the skins won't let loose.
Put the tomatoes into a food processor and turn on to make a smooth puree. Work in batches, transferring each batch to a large stock pot.
Bring the tomato sauce to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 to 90 minutes, stir occasionally until the sauce reaches a consistency and taste you like.
Stir in the lemon juice and salt. The 1/4 cup lemon juice is need to ensure a safe level of acidity for canning.
You can also add more lemon juice to taste, but not less than 1/4 cup.
Transfer the hot tomato sauce to the prepared, warm canning jars.
Top with the new, sterilized lids, and screw on the rings until finger tight.
Process the jars in boiling water in the canner for 30 minutes.
Remove, and let cool on a towel on the countertop.
Leave overnight and check the seal the next day.
If any of them did not invert and form a vacuum seal, refrigerate and use that one up in the next week, or transfer to a freezer bag and it will be good for 3 months.
Canned sauce can be stored in a pantry for at least one year.
If you do not want to can the sauce, you also can freeze it instead. Let the sauce cool in the pot, then
just transfer the sauce to heavy duty ziploc freezer bags and place in the freezer. They should be good for at least three months before developing freezer burn.
*STERILIZING THE JARS AND PROCESSING
Start by sterilizing your jars. This batch will make about 8 pints.
Wash you canner with soap and hot water and rinse well.
Fill about half full with fresh clean hot tap water and put onto the stovetop.
Choose good quality canning jars and inspect them for cracks.
Always wash the jars, lids, and bands thoroughly in hot soapy water. Rinse well.
*TIP: Using a canner is convenient because you will need it anyways and once you have heated up the water, to sterilize the jars, you can also use that same water when it comes time to process.
Place the clean jars, right side up, into the canner placing each into a spot on the canning rack.
Set the canning rack to the down position. The jars will want to float and bob until they are filled with water so itís a good idea to have a jar with water in it to pour a little into each jar to weight them down.
The jars need to be completely filled with water plus there should be one inch of water above the jars.
Bring the water to a boil and boil for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat.
Once the water is no long boiling use tongs to drop in the lids and seals. This will also serve to sterilize the tongs.
Leave the jars, rings and lids for a minimum of 10 minutes up to one hour but no longer.
If you go longer than one hour you will need to sterilize again.
When you are ready to pack a jar with tomatoes or whatever fruit you are canning, use the tongs to remove the jar from the water.
The water will be very hot so be careful. You will need to empty all the water out of the sterilized jar.
Set your jar onto a clean paper towel to cool for a minute.
Pack the jars with whatever you are canning and fill to 1/2 inch from the top.
Remove all the seals and jar rings and place them into a clean bowl.
As each jar is filled and ready, place a seal on top then screw on the ring.
Screw tightly, but do not torque hard on it.
Place the filled jar onto the countertop.
When you have all the jars filled transfer them to the canning rack which is in the up position.
Slowly let the rack down to the bottom position and process.
You want to use warm jars, so they do not crack when you place them into the canner of hot water.
If you use cold jars, you stand the risk of them cracking.