When making recipes for canning, it’s important to stay pretty close to the recipes in the Ball Book, or USDA approved recipes. These are tried and true recipes that have the correct acidity for canning and using these recipes reduces the risk of botulism.
Spaghetti sauce is best when made from fresh garden tomatoes. It takes a LOT of tomatoes to make even a few jars of sauce because the tomatoes cook WAY down. I started with a big box full.
I honestly didn’t measure how many pounds of tomatoes these were, but you need about 20-30 pounds. Other ingredients:
1 large onion
1 bulb garlic
Fresh herbs – I used 6 sprigs of fresh oregano and several large bunches of basil
2 Tbs. pickling salt
4 Tbs. lemon juice (important for the acidity level)
The first step is to blanche the tomatoes, which means you boil them for a couple of minutes and then put them in ice water.
Doing this makes the tomato skins crack, and they’ll just slide right off. Next, core the tomatoes. (I do all these steps in batches. Have several in the boiling water, several in the cold water, a batch in a bowl to core and squeeze out extra water, a “compost” bowl, and a pot for the tomatoes to go into.)
After you core the tomatoes, squeeze any extra juice out that you can before putting them in the pot. (Be sure to wear an apron – you are sure to end up with squirts of tomato seeds on your clothes). You’ll want to drain excess water out of the pot too, before you start cooking them.
When you’ve gone through the whole process, begin to boil the tomatoes…
You want them to cook down and get mushy… about 30 minutes at least, but longer is fine. After a while, I like to remove the tomatoes again and put them through a sieve to get additional water out of the sauce.
Put the tomatoes back in the pot and boil down some more. At this point, you can begin to get your seasonings ready. Chop an onion, a head of garlic, and your fresh herbs, and blend them all together in the food processor (or blender). It’s also a good time to begin boiling your water for the water bath.
Use an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes into a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can do small batches in the food processor, but the immersion blender is SO MUCH EASIER.
Add your salt and lemon juice. If you’re wanting tomato sauce, this is where you would end, but with spaghetti sauce, you are going to add your onions and spices…
Mix them all in and let them simmer for a few more minutes.
At this point, you’ll need to boil your seals and keep them simmering. Ladle your spaghetti sauce into prepared (sterilized) jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Make sure your rims and seals have no moisture on them, so that they will seal properly.
Immerse your sealed, rimmed jars into a boiling water bath. The boiling water should cover the top of the jars. Recover, and keep in the boiling water for 35 minutes for pints and 40 for quarts. After taking them out, let them sit on the counter unbothered overnight. In the morning, press the tops of the jars to make sure they all sealed properly.
Here are the results from my entire box of tomatoes – 3 quart jars of spaghetti sauce, 3 jelly jars full of tomato sauce, and half a pint of tomato sauce that didn’t fill the jar so it went straight to the fridge.
A lot of work, but so worth it. The flavor is so yummy!