The Phaserl


A Guide to Making and Canning Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Like an Italian Grandma

by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

Do you have tomatoes running out your ears? Get more. Once you taste genuine homemade spaghetti sauce you will definitely want enough that you never have to resort to store-bought again. When you share it with others, they’ll think that you have an Italian grandma you never told them about.

Here is the step by step for making and canning your own Italian homemade spaghetti sauce taken right from the pages of my book, The Organic Canner. It’s easy, healthy, delicious, and a great way to make use of a bounty of tomatoes. Homemade spaghetti sauce is a galaxy away from the stuff you buy in the grocery store. It’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients, and not tainted by BPA, additives, and high fructose corn syrup. Don’t be put off by the hands-on time needed to make this. Consider that if you made 14 from-scratch spaghetti dinners, it would take you far more time than the six hours that these two batches of sauce took.

If you are planning for a year’s worth of sauce, two marathon canning sessions making 28 quarts will provide you with sauce just over twice a month.

To speed up the process, use a high-quality blender or food processor. I’ve done this with both my Vitamix and my Ninja food processor with excellent results. (Check out this guide to tomato prep to make your life easier.)

The following instructions are for a canner load full of sauce or 7 quarts. If you have more or fewer tomatoes than that, a general rule of thumb is that approximately 1 pound of tomatoes makes 1 quart jar of sauce.

Why I pressure can this recipe
Any time you take liberties with a basic recipe, it is essential to make certain that you are still using the safest practices possible for your family. With the addition of low-acid ingredients like garlic cloves and olive oil, this recipe should be pressure canned to prevent the possibility of botulism. While your grandma may have canned sauce in a water bath canner for 70 years with no ill effects, I strongly recommend using a pressure canner based on research undertaken by The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Prep the tomatoes
First, unless you are using a food mill, you have to peel your tomatoes. My tomatoes are organic, so I didn’t have to worry about any nasty pesticide residue. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to take them from boiling water to an ice bath and then squeeze the guts out of them, as follows:
First, put water on to boil in a large non-reactive stock pot. (I prefer this stainless steel pot.) You don’t need to wash or cut the tomatoes before blanching them. In batches, place the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 3 minutes. (This time is not engraved in stone – don’t panic if you go over the time by a little bit.)

After you scoop the tomatoes out of the boiling water, place them directly into an ice bath and leave them there for at least 3 minutes. I like to use long tongsfor this because you transfer less of the hot water into your ice bath.

Once the tomatoes are cool enough to easily handle, use your fingers to dig the stem end out of the tomato and discard it. Then, squeeze the tomato over your blender – the skin should slide right off and leave you with a blender full of pulp. You don’t need to remove the seeds. Pulse in the blender for about 30 seconds, resulting in a nice slightly chunky puree.

Meanwhile, using either a food processor or your blender, puree 2 bell peppers (any color), 2 large onions, and 1 or 2 heads of garlic.
Add the tomatoes and veggies to a large stockpot. Then add the following seasonings – the first amount is per pound of tomatoes, and the second amount is for a 7 quart batch of sauce.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
1 tbsp – sugar or honey – 1/3 cup
1 tsp – sea salt – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
1 tsp – thyme – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
1 tbsp – oregano – 1/3 cup
1 tbsp – basil – 1/3 cup
1 pinch – powdered clove (trust me!) – 1 tbsp
black pepper to taste
1 pinch – paprika (smoked Hungarian if you can find it) – 1 tbsp
2 tbsp – extra virgin olive oil – 2/3 cup

With the lid on, bring the sauce to a simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Then, remove the lid, drop the heat and simmer gently for 3 more hours. The lid being off will allow the liquid to evaporate so that the sauce can cook down and thicken.

When it’s time to can the sauce, don’t worry if the consistency is still a little bit watery. Over its time on the shelf, it will thicken somewhat. If at serving time it is still runnier than you prefer, simply stir in a small tin of tomato paste to thicken it.

Fill sanitized quart jars with sauce, allowing 1 inch of headspace.

Wipe the lip of your jars with a cloth dipped in white vinegar and then place the lids on.

Process the sauce in your pressure canner (here’s how to use a pressure canner) for 25 minutes at 7 pounds of pressure, adjusting for altitude.
Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for at least 12 hours or until cooled. Test the seals before putting them away.

Now you have many quarts of delicious, authentic Italian marinara sauce to serve at many meals to come. You can use this to make spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Parmesan, as the base of an Italian vegetable soup, or you can thicken it to use as a pizza sauce.

Mangia bene!
(Eat well!)

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5 comments to A Guide to Making and Canning Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Like an Italian Grandma

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    Somebody, either a cooking show, or even a website, has a cute little shortcut that also saves a lot of cooking time and fuel.

    They said you can “blend” your batch of tomatoes, and then pour all of it into a container and put it into the fridge overnight and let is “settle down”.

    You’ll end up with all the pulp at the bottom and all the clear liquid at the top.

    You just POUR off (separate) the clear liquid and do all your work with the settled, thicker products.

    Saves a lot of boiling time (and fuel) because your stuff is already reduced of the clear liquid. Yes, there are some nutrients that have to be left behind in the clear liquid, but hey, the longer boiling time would have killed a percentage of them anyway.

    I suppose you could use this left over liquid as “Filler” for other canned veggies instead of water, and you’ll be reclaiming every last bit of nutrient goodies.

    If you are gonna just POUR it out, then POUR it onto the garden!!!

    I’ll bet the clear liquid would make part of a healthy DRINK of veggie juices, or even as a basting broth over turkey or chicken.

    OK. Keep stacking RECIPES and Garden tips along with your silver, ammo & food.

    OFF TOPIC bicycle tip.

    Cheap, HOME MADE cargo saddle bags/boxes are easy to do with a couple of plastic Kitchen rectangular garbage pails (5 to 11 gallon size?), and some metal that can be bent to make a frame for it.

    That 3/4″, or even the 1/2″ EMT tubing should work pretty good, bend it, drill it, bolt it. Just make sure it’s done STRONG enough to carry the weight of the cargo (groceries) without snapping off during the bumpy rides back and forth.

    Some of the MOST handy steel for modifying, adding racks, etc, to a landscape trailer, or making a lawn tractor trailer, etc, is the 12ga thickness, holes pre-punched, 10ft stick of UNI-Strut or Super Strut Electrical support rails they sell at Home Depot, Lowes, etc, for about $20 per stick. Also makes great (inexpensive) mounting rails for solar panels too.

    • KRELL427

      Craig you really should have your own YouTube channel with videos showing all your helpful tips.

      • Craig Escaped Detroit

        Thanks for the compliment. I’d probably just get lost in the mix of all the other “helpful tips” channels out there, but I am proud & honored to be able to give some helpful tips to my fellow SGT klan.

        I want us to survive well, and be able to use our imagination & creativity to work our way, invent our way thru any adversity.

        Part of me recalls back to the stories of my mom & dad growing up during the great depression, living thru the war years, etc.

        Then there was my ex-girlfriend who grew up in Eastern Europe under the USSR hard times, and how her rural family survived because they grew a garden, and all the amazing stories of those years.

        I visited to Poland, Lithuania, Hungary & The Czech Republic a few times since 1995 (not so long after the Soviets fell, and Chernobyl exploded). Those durable (and sometimes sad) people helped to educate me and widen my knowledge.
        I’ve walked on some of the Baltic sea beaches & forest sand dunes, and walked thru some of the old WW2 German bunkers that still dot the seascape and forests. I’ve heard the stories and seen the photo museum displays of villages and family members who did or did NOT survive the Stalin years, gulags, or Siberian exile.

        We are very blessed that we have NOT had to endure such things (yet), or endure what is now happening in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Syria, or Chicago or LA. There are a thousand ways to suffer, and I hope our planning, and all the great advice and stories that SEAN (SGT) gives to us, will help us be the shining lights and healthy survivors during the bad times that are coming.

        Be Well Krell, be well Eric, Ed, Kaki, Anon, Mike, Fonestar, Milli, Glitter, etc etc etc.

        We certainly have our diverse opinions and even argue about things, but we are still here at SGT getting filled with useful data for the future. Most of us will survive, and even when we die, at least we had a much better chance of SEEING it coming and not get caught by surprise.

        I hope NONE of us makes the “wrong choices” when it comes to living or dieing. I don’t know any of you, but I love you, even when we fight, you are ALL part of my SMARTER-BETTER FAMILY.

    • Ed_B

      Great tip, Craig. I’m gonna try this when the crop comes in. 🙂

      As to the clear liquid that is decanted from the majority of the tomato pulp… save it for home made soup stock or feed it to chickens or pigs. Failing that, pouring on the garden, as you suggest, is a fine idea and so is pouring in on veggies and flowers in pots for some additional nutrition for them.

      I make a pretty nice spaghetti sauce myself, even without being either Italian or a grandma. Maybe being a grandpa helps? lol But I have never canned it before. I should try that. I have frozen batches before and that worked well but during hard times there might not be power to run the freezers. If not, then canning would be a great choice for preserving it for the winter months.

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