Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Having your own homemade spaghetti sauce on hand is a great feeling in the winter. You can purchase tomatoes by the bushel or grow your own to make this delicious sauce. Try raising your own herbs, garlic, peppers, and onions to flavor the sauce, too. Once you’ve tried your own homemade, you’ll never want to go back to buying it from the store!
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I recently purchased a food strainer (#ad) and used it for the first time with these tomatoes and I must say that it worked much better than my food mill (also known as a Foley mill). It made pretty short work of my project, and it was on sale…bonus!
How to Make Your Own Tomato Sauce
- Wash, core, and remove any bad spots from 40 pounds of ripe tomatoes
- Cook until soft and allow to cool until just slightly warm
- Strain tomatoes through a food strainer to remove skins and seeds
- Pour tomato juice into a large stainless steel pot with a heavy bottom
- Cook on low heat until the sauce is thickened
- Add 1/2 tsp citric acid or 2 Tbs lemon juice to each quart of sauce
- Process in quart jars in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes
For Spaghetti Sauce
Follow the above directions, except add the following ingredients to strained juice in the pot:
- 5 or 6 green peppers, seeded and chopped
- 5 or 6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
- 3 or 4, onions, chopped
- 1 cup sugar (I use about 1/4 cup but most people like more)
- 2- or 3-tablespoons of Italian seasoning
Remember to add 1/2 tsp citric acid or 2 tsp lemon juice to each quart jar of sauce to be sure that the acid level is high enough for water bath canning. This recipe makes approximately 9 to 12 quarts of tomato or spaghetti sauce, depending on what variety of tomatoes you use and how long you cook it down.
Handy Tip: To reduce cooking time, you may add tomato paste to spaghetti sauce to thicken it. The more tomato paste you add, the shorter the cooking time and the larger the batch.
Canning Spaghetti or Tomato Sauce
A boiling water bath is the recommended canning method for preserving tomato and spaghetti sauce. Because many varieties of tomatoes are not high enough in natural acids, you should add citric acid or lemon juice to the sauce, as directed above.
To Can Tomato and Spaghetti Sauce:
- Bring the water bath canner to a boil and sterilize glass canning jars
- Bring sauce to a low boil
- Sterilize screw bands for lids
- Dip out a small amount of hot water into a bowl and place canning lids in the water
- Remove canning jars from boiling water
- Fill with tomato sauce, leave 1/2″ headspace
- Wipe the top of the jar with a clean cloth
- Top with a canning lid and screw band, finger tighten
- Use a jar lifter to place each filled jar into the boiling water bath
- Bring water back to a boil
- Process jars of sauce for 40 minutes
- Lift jars from the canner and place them on heavy cloth on the counter
- Allow jars to cool at room temperature
- Jars are sealed when the lid pops down with a pinging sound
- Remove screw bands, clean and dry each jar
- Label jars with contents and date and store them in a cool, dark place
Notes: I didn’t use tomato paste to thicken my sauce. Instead, I cooked it for about 24 hours. Considering the cost of our electricity, we estimated that it cost around $1.30 to cook the sauce and can it. However, if your time is limited or you would like to get as much sauce as possible from your tomatoes, you may wish to add tomato paste and cook for a shorter time. I added peppers, onions, garlic, and basil from my garden and Pizza Seasoning from Frontier Herbs, as well as organic sugar. My large boiling water canner holds 9 quarts and I had about 2 extra quarts that I used to make dinner.
- 2 pounds of ground turkey
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped and seeded
- 2 eggplants, peeled and chopped
- 2 quarts tomato or spaghetti sauce
- 16 oz package of spaghetti or other pasta, or homemade egg noodles
Brown turkey and add vegetables. Cook until veggies are tender. Add tomato or spaghetti sauce. (If using plain tomato sauce, add 3 Tbs sugar and 3 Tbs Italian seasoning, or to taste.) Turn the burner to low and cook and stir for about an hour. In a separate pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Spoon pasta onto a plate and top with spaghetti sauce and grated cheese.