Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Preserving Tomatoes: Part 2

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4

Preserving Tomatoes Recommendation #4: Basic Tomato Sauce

This sauce is our go-to sauce for everything. In the past I have made a couple different kinds of sauce each year, but when it comes down to only being able to choose one to make (like I'm having to do this year)- it's got to be this one.

The reasons we love it are many. Our top few are that it's a chunkier sauce (I've always preferred chunky over smooth) and that it's full of other veggies (carrots, peppers, onions) that the kids don't even realize they are eating. Also, there is no need to peel your tomatoes for this chunky sauce. Just chop them up and you're ready to go. The skins get lost in the sauce and you can't even tell you are eating them.

We use it for spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, you name it. Click here to see some pictures from last year.

Basic Tomato Sauce (Recipe from Simply In Season)
This should have a different name. Like, "Fabulous Chunky Garden Tomato Sauce".
This recipe yields about 3 pints. You'll want to make more. Italicized comments are mine.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
1 tbsp. fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tbsp. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
6 cups plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (NOTE: I use Roma tomatoes and don't peel them)
6 ounces tomato paste
1 tbsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice or vinegar (see below)

Saute onion and garlic in 2 tbsp. oil until tender. Add carrots through herbs and stir well. Add tomatoes, paste, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve or freeze. To can, ladle into hot, sterilized pint jars (or quarts if you are canning a larger amount) to within 1/2 inch of top, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar per pint to assure acidity, seal with sterilized lids and process full jars in boiling water bath for 35 minutes.

Basic Tomato Sauce

Preserving Tomatoes Recommendation #5: Canned Salsa

Click here for last year's photos. This salsa is our favorite. We eat about half of what we make with tortilla chips and the other half when making Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos.

Canned Salsa (Recipe from Lee Good)
Yields about 6 pints. Italicized comments are mine.

1/4 cup olive oil
8 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced fine, without seeds (this adds a little heat, you can use less or more)
4 green bell peppers, diced
16 cloves garlic, minced
4 onions, chopped
3 tbsp. ground cumin
8 cups chopped and peeled tomatoes
4 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. salt
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
6 tbsp. white vinegar

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

(Keep the whole process moving- if the salsa cooks too long, it will get mushy) Saute the peppers, garlic and onions in oil until almost tender. Add cumin through salt and bring to a simmer. Add tomato paste, vinegar and cilantro and heat through. Bring back to a simmer and ladle into hot, sterilized jars to within a half inch of top, seal with sterilized lids and process full jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Canned Salsa
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  1. Thanks for the post on tomato sauce....I liked that it only required 6 cups of chopped tomatoes.....and not 30lbs like a lot of the other recipes I've seen. I was shocked with how many tomatoes I did have on hand...and ended up with 1 quart and 16 pints of the stuff...I can't wait to make more!

  2. I am loving the tomato series...especially this salsa! But in reading the recipe I don't see at what point to add the tomatoes? Am I just not seeing something right? When do the tomatoes get added in? Thanks!

  3. Michelle, I believe at one point the recipe reads, "add cumin through salt". The tomatoes are included in those ingredients (cumin, tomatoes, oregano, sugar, salt). Hope this helps:-).

  4. Just made the tomato sauce - yum! 10 pints. I usually do quarts... but pints made sense with Z away at college. YUM! I used tons of fresh herbs... and since i don't like to mess with vinegar or lemon, I just pressured canned instead. And then I realized I forgot the sugar/honey... will add that to the next batch.

    AND thanks for the sunflowers - what a lovely way to end the week with beauty in a vase.


  5. Thank you for touching my life!
    I was excited to have some extra tomatoes so I could try your suggestions. Then I read again, and see that I need tomato paste... do you buy tomato paste to use in your tomato sauce?

  6. Hello, Marta! I buy tomato paste. I keep telling myself I will start making it, but I lack the time. Maybe one day:-).

  7. MY GOD! You are a GENIUS! I am a working mom who is holding down corporate, but who still believes in canning and preserving! (whispering "I love this blog) - good job and I will stay parked RIGHT here!

  8. I'm making this sauce and it tastes soooo good! I can't wait to make more this evening. I have a question though....if I use 12oz jars do I still add 1 tbs of vinegar or should I use less?

  9. Janny,
    My wide mouth pints are 12 ounces and I use 1 tbsp. of vinegar in those. I'm so glad you like the sauce!

  10. Is the sugar a necessary ingredient for preserving or can I leave it out? I loved this sauce last year but a friend said it was too sweet.

  11. meganleiann,
    Regarding the tomato sauce, the vinegar is what is added to help increase the acidity (to offset the peppers, carrots, etc.). The 1 tbsp. of honey is just for taste, so by all means, leave it out if you want:-).

  12. Thank you so much for this recipe. I made the sauce AND canned it today. My very first time making sauce, and very first time canning anything! I canned 2 jars of it and kept the rest to eat right away. I decided (after I canned the 2 jars), to blend it in my magic bullet, then ate is on some pasta. If I were to blend all of it, and then can it blended, would that be okay? I don't see why not, but I just wanted to make sure.

    1. I often use my immersion blender and blend it pretty smooth and can it that way- it's fine:-). Congrats on your first sauce and canning experience!

  13. I have a salsa recipe that uses fresh veggies that are just chopped up and put in a food processor. None of the veggies are cooked. There is some apple cider vinegar in the recipe. Can I still can the salsa?

    1. Well, there are two things to consider. First of all, your salsa won't taste the same canned as it does fresh. Those fresh veggies will get cooked during the canning process and take on a different consistency and flavor once canned. For this reason, I would only can a small batch and then try it to make sure you still like it.

      Secondly, the vinegar will help add the acidity needed to make up for those added veggies, but the question is does your recipe call for enough vinegar? To make sure it does, I would add the vinegar (at least a tablespoon) to each pint jar just before putting in the salsa. This will give your salsa the extra boost of acidity it needs. This is just my two cents on the matter. Feel free to check canning books that discus acidity for further input. Good luck!:-)

    2. Ok, thank you. I want to try canning for the first time and wasn't sure about the salsa.

  14. Love your creativity! No peeling? You're my angel! Gonna do this next that the strawberry freezer jam is out of the way!
    Stay wonderful Jane.

  15. On the tomato sauce.. if I am going to use quarts.. how much lemon juice do I need to use and do I still boil them for 35 minutes or do I need to do it longer? Thanks in advanced!

    1. If you're using quarts, you should double the lemon juice/vinegar amount above. I hot water bath my quarts for the same length of time as my pints and they seal fine. If it would make you feel better, add another 10-15 minutes for quarts. Happy canning!

  16. Why do you saute the peppers, onions and garlic, won't they cook when boiled ? also the 4 green peppers are they bell peppers ? I might omit the bell peppers and use more hot peppers. I make many kinds of fresh salsa.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. The four green peppers are bell peppers- I updated the recipe to specify this. As far as sauteing the peppers, onions and garlic...I was just following the recipe I was given and loved. Feel free to skip this step if you like and see how it turns out:-).

  17. I just found your blog and I love it! I have only canned jams and pickles so far. I have never canned any vegetables because I don't own a canning pressure cooker and am terrified of botulism. Even though this recipe doesn't call for a pressure cooker, I can't seem to shake my fear. Can this sauce be frozen without it losing its taste or consistency?

    1. One year I had a few jars that didn't seal properly, so I poured the sauce into plastic containers and froze them. We couldn't tell the difference. So, if you're rather freeze it, go right ahead:-).

  18. When you add the vinegar/lemon juice do you mix it in, put it in first or leave it floating on the top? Thanks :)

    1. I add it to each individual jar after the sauce/salsa, leaving it on top. You just need to make sure you keep this additional amount of liquid in mind when you fill your jars, so you don't fill them too full.

  19. I found this recipe on Pinterest, tried it and it is so good. I'm going to can some quarts of it!

  20. what kind of vinegar do you use in your salsa? white, or cider? Thank you!

    1. Sorry for not being specific- I'll change it above. We use white vinegar:-).

  21. Can I make the spaghetti sauce with frozen Roma tomatoes? My graden has been very slow and I froze them so that I would get enough to make a batch of sauce. Should I defrost them first? Or just chop them up and throw them in frozen?

    1. I've never frozen tomatoes and then made sauce from them but a friend of mine does it often. I think she lets them thaw most of the way, although I don't know that you have to as long as you give them plenty of cook time. Anyone else want to chime in??

  22. THANK YOU so much for your wonderful blog and step by step instructions! You, coupled with my new garden this year, inspired me to start and I started with your salsa recipe. I found that it was easier for me to handle the process by organizing the ingredients into 3 bowls before starting to cook it, and it helped me to keep the process moving as you suggest. I made a little print-able cheat sheet with each bowl's ingredients and the instructions that you can download on my blog post if it's useful for anyone else. I blogged about my attempt here: I've made 5 or 6 batches so far! Thanks again!! :-)


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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