PUTTING UP: Tomato Sauce

Thanks to an extended summer harvest season, I’m getting my canning groove back after a month hiatus.

I certainly wasted no time in putting up… it was time to put up or shut up!  No more dawdling (well, not that I WAS but … )

Our second crop of later summer tomatoes are loaded with green tomatoes so a friend brought me a big box of canning tomatoes which needed to be processed immediately.   60 lbs turned into 30 quarts.

I figure another batch like this should keep with plenty of tomato sauce us till next Summer and nothing, NOTHING, beats homemade tomato sauce, especially sauce made with fresh, homegrown herbs and vine ripened tomatoes.


from Ball Blue Book of Canning —  BTW I LOVE this book. I’ve had mine for years and use it ALL the time!

Makes about 7 (16 oz) pints

20 lb tomatoes (about 60 medium)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely minced, fresh basil  (I love herbs, the more herbs the better so I and add another 1/4 cup mixture of herbs from the garden – rosemary, oregano)
1 Tbsp Bottled lemon juice per hot jar
7 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) WASH tomatoes; drain. Remove core and blossom ends. Cut into quarters. Set aside.
3.) SAUTE onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.) PUREE tomato mixture in a food processor or blender, working in batches. Strain puree to remove seeds and peel.
5.) COMBINE tomato puree and basil in large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until volume is reduced by half, stirring to prevent sticking.
6.) ADD 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot jar. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
7.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check for seal after 24 hours. Lids should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Like to start canning your garden’s bounty?  Complete CANNING KIT


  1. Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams says:

    That looks great!

    Since I am trying to obtain 70% of my family’s food this year from either my backyard or within a 50 mile radius of Louisville I have enough canned tomatoes to get through winter too (I hope!).

    Do you can the green tomatoes? I still have green tomatoes on the vine. Since we’ve already had our first frost in Kentucky they probably won’t ripen. Wasn’t sure what to do with them. Any ideas?

    • Inna says:

      try russian way of canning green tomatoes:

    • Deanna says:

      I have a short growing season for tomatoes here in the PNW what we do with the green tomatoes is hang them up and allow them to ripen in the house or you can certainly can them.

    • Kimberley says:

      Try chow chow. Just made a batch for the first time this year. Very simple. My recipe came from Companys Coming series of cookbooks for preserves and called Maritime Chow Chow.
      Good luck

    • AlaskAnna says:

      Pick the tomatoes and bring them inside. Let them sit on a tray, and they will turn red. This works for pumpkins as well.

    • Montana Wildflower says:

      I’ve canned the green tomatoes before and it worked great! I had so many tomatoes, I was tired of having them all over the place – they just needed to be DONE! I wasn’t able to slip the skins. I put about 1/2 tsp of sugar in each jar & a few slices of onion. They tasted great when I used them for stews, soup & homemade pasta sacue! If I had green tomatoes, I’d do it again instead of letting them ripen!

      • Amy says:

        Did you cook them per red tomatoes for the jars?

    • mary ellen says:

      take green tomatoes off vine and put them on a cookie sheet then put them in a closet and leave them for 4 weeks but check on them every week because there will be red ones in there. We tried this this yr and it works.

  2. Sarah S says:

    Greetings and happy canning. I would recommend getting a new copy of the Ball Blue book, the science of canning keeps evolving, so for safety sake, good to keep up.. Also, the university of Georgia has a great web site, they are the source for canning recipes and current safe practices.

  3. Deanna says:

    I absolutely love canning. It is the best. I just wanted to say to those who haven’t started yet but are interested in becoming self sufficient that urban homesteading is a process that can’t be done overnight.

    Thank you for sharing your stories. I found your website a few years ago and was so inspired by it that our family has spent the last few years learning how to create our own homestead. Becoming self-sufficient is a living creature with a mind of it’s own.

    Our journey began with planting apple trees,building the garden, then the learning of soap and cleaners, then came the canning, , then chickens, buying direct from the local farms (for learning and purchasing things we couldn’t grow on our small plot of land), then the forging for wild plants ( I live in the PNW so there is an abundance of wild edibles and medicinal if you know what you are looking for), this year it is all about medicinal plants. While everyone is sick around us we are as healthy as can be.

    People who once thought I was a little kooky are now coming to me for advice or direction.

    To be truthful my family could actually live off of the land and be self sufficient. Please keep sharing. It is my pleasure to share your stories to help motivate others to live the “simple” life.

  4. Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams says:

    Thank you for the advice on green tomatoes Inna & Deanna. And you are right Deanna – this does not happen overnight. The time that goes into it is immense, but worth it.

  5. Nebraska Dave says:

    This year I am not going to have many green tomatoes at all. Last year I had a half of a wheel barrow full of green tomatoes. This year the tomatoes just stopped producing tomatoes about a month ago and the ones that were set have been slowing ripening over the last four weeks. At this point in time mostly all the tomatoes are gone and only a very few green tomatoes are still on the vine. There are not enough to really do anything with. So I’m just going to pull the tomato vines out and put them out in the yard waste and plan for next year.

    Have a great green tomato day.

  6. Kenny Jackson says:

    We put up about five gallons of basic tomato sauce from our four plants, and still have lots to harvest in the third week of October! Two Roma’s, a Chech sauce variety, an Early Girl variant, and a Black Cherokee. It was a slow start to the season, but it really filled out well. I will be drying what we can’t eat in the next couple of weeks.

  7. Quail's Hollar Farm says:

    Wow thanks for the recipe, I’m looking forward to trying it. We’re just getting some tomatoes off our plants now, hopefully the local treetop rodentia won’t notice them on the plants as of yet.

  8. Justin says:

    This is a great resource for canning. Very applicable and excellent for winter. I’m going to get into canning in the future. Is each item different in terms of how long they last when you can them? What is the general rule?

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