This easy Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce with onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and lemon juice is suitable for water bath canning.
Tomatoes are very easy to grow and the yield is often quite good. Hence, its popularity with home growers. It is easy to get carried away and grow too many tomato plants for the season. As such, you may end up with a ton of tomatoes at the end of the season. Here is where Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce comes in as you will need many tomatoes to make a can of sauce.
The Convenience of Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce
Who doesn’t love the convenience of being able to pop open a jar of spaghetti sauce on busy weeknights? Even better if if the sauce is made with fresh homegrown tomatoes and vegetables with no chemical preservatives. The taste is bright, fresh, and delicious. For greater flavor, you can add some olive oil, dried herbs, and meatballs when reheating.
Canning Spaghetti Sauce
It is important to note that foods with a pH of less than 4.6 are safe for water bath canning. The higher acid level prevents botulism and other harmful bacteria from growing. Tomatoes have a pH of between 4.3 and 5 which means that spaghetti sauce needs to be pressure canned unless acidity is added to it in the form of vinegar or bottled lemon juice.
Bottled Lemon Juice
Most water bath canned spaghetti sauce recipes call for adding 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to a pint (16 oz) jar or 2 tablespoons to a quart (32 oz) jar before ladling the sauce into it. Bottled lemon juice is used because its pH level is consistent. Acidity of fresh lemons may vary based on variety and growing conditions, and that is not a good thing. So, for safety reasons, please make sure to use bottled lemon juice when the recipe calls for it. You can easily buy bottled lemon juice at the grocery store.
Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce With Bottled Lemon Juice
The recipe below is one I found at Wholefully. I simply scaled it up to make 7 pint (16 oz/473ml) jars because my water bath canner can accommodate seven jars at one go. It made sense to prepare a full load because I have to process the jars for 50 minutes, taking into account the additional 15 minutes for altitude adjustment. We live at 6,600 feet above sea level.
What I like about this recipe is that the bottled lemon juice is incorporated into the sauce during cooking. There is no need to add any more lemon juice to the jar before ladling the sauce into it. The sauce is fresh and slightly tangy but not overly so. You will not even notice it if you added other ingredients like meatballs or mushrooms when reheating it.
Tomatoes To Make This Sauce
I grew 6 varieties of tomatoes this past summer and harvested roughly 70 pounds of tomatoes throughout the growing season. I made sure two of the varieties were suitable for sauces. They were Martino’s Roma and Principe Borghese. The other was Glacier Bush, a plant that sets fruit earlier and in cooler temperatures. The rest were cherry tomatoes. As you can see, the texture and color of the sauce is a little different depending on the kind of tomato used.
Most people like to use the “meatier” Roma type tomatoes with a deep red color (in jar on right). Puree extracted from Glacier Bush tomatoes is smoothier, with less separation (in jar on left). It is also slightly sweeter and more orangey in color.
Extracting The Puree
To make a smooth sauce, you need seedless and skinless tomato puree. This is no easy task when you are dealing with over 10 pounds of tomatoes. Blanching, peeling the skin off, removing the seeds, and mashing is a lot of work. A food mill or a Tomato Press and Sauce Maker (affiliate link) will make this chore a little easier. You will still need to use some elbow grease as it took me about an hour to process 14 pounds of tomatoes. I think it is worth it though to get a smooth and beautiful sauce.
Similar Tools Used in This Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce
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Food Strainer and Sauce Maker for Tomato, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
20 Quart Stainless Steel Canning Pot Set
8 Piece Enamelware Water Bath Canning Set
Ball Regular Mouth 16-Ounces Mason Jar with Lids and Bands, 12-Pack
Ball Regular Mouth Pint 16-oz Mason Jar with Lids and Bands (Pack of 24)
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
The Complete Book of Home Canning
Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce
- 19 cups fresh tomato puree (from 14 lbs/6.3 kgs tomatoes) **
- 1½ cups finely chopped onion
- 1½ cups finely chopped celery
- 1¼ cups finely chopped carrot
- 5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 10 tbsp bottled lemon juice
- 5 tsp pickling & canning salt
- 1¼ tsp ground pepper
- 1¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
- Extract tomato puree using a tomato press and sauce maker. This will ensure that you get roughly 19 cups of tomato puree without peel and seeds, after skimming off some of the foam that formed while processing.
- Wash jars in warm, soapy water. Place a rack at the bottom of a boiling-water canner and washed jars on the rack. Fill the jars about 2/3rd full and the canner up to the same level as the jars with water. Cover the canner and bring water to a simmer (with small bubbles).
- Wash lids and bands with warm soapy water. Drop them into the canner together with the jars. When ready to use, take them out from the canner with a pair of tongs. Dry them with a clean towel.
- Transfer 16½ cups of tomato puree to a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil over medium low heat.
- Combine remaining 2½ cups of tomato puree, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in a large saucepan over medium high heat.
- Stir frequently. When liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and boil gently until vegetables are tender. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Carefully pour contents of saucepan into the large pot with tomato puree that should simmering by now.
- Add bottled lemon juice, salt, ground pepper, and hot pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
- Increase heat to medium high and bring sauce to a rolling boil, stirring frequently. Continue boiling until sauce is reduced by one third. This should take about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove jars from canner with jar lifter, pouring hot water from each jar back into canner and place them on a towel. You can also remove and fill them one at a time.
- Place a funnel in the jar. Ladle prepared hot spaghetti sauce into the hot jar leaving ½ inch (1 cm) headspace.
- Slide a non-metallic utensil between the hot spaghetti sauce and inside the jar to release any air bubbles. Adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more hot spaghetti sauce.
- Wipe the rim clean with a paper towel. Center a warm lid on jar and screw on the band until fingertip tight. Repeat with the remaining jars.
- Carefully lower jars with jar lifter back into the canner. Make sure jars are completely covered with about an inch of water above the lids. Bring water to a rolling boil and process jars for 35 minutes, adjusting for altitude. The water must remain at a rolling boil for the duration of the processing time.
- At the end of the processing time, turn off heat, and remove the canner lid. Allow the canner to cool for 5 minutes.
- Carefully remove the jars with jar lifter without tilting them. Place jars upright on a clean towel. Do not worry about the water on the lids. It will evaporate during the cooling period.
- Check lids after 24 hours. Remove the bands. Lids should not flex up and down when pressed. You can also grasp the edges of the lid and lift the jar while supporting the jar with your other hand. A sealed lid will stay firmly attached to the jar. Jars that have not sealed properly must be refrigerated and content consumed within a few days.
- Label and store sealed jars in a cool, dark place, and consume within 12 months.
|Increase in Processing Time