Canning Tomato Juice and Tomato Sauce

Okay, we’ve covered the basics of canningfreezing cornfreezing green beanscanning and freezing peachesmaking and canning applesauce

Now lets talk about tomatoes!

Last year, I planted 40…yes FORTY tomato plants. On purpose. Because I’m crazy.

I ended up having SO MANY tomatoes, that by the end of the summer, I had canned almost two years worth of tomato sauce, tomato juice and tomato soup. And, I still had tomatoes! I was begging people to please come pick my tomatoes and take them far, far away from my house. 

While canning that many tomatoes was a wonderful thing…I still hadn’t fully recovered from it when it came time to plant tomatoes this year. Therefore, I only planted 20 tomato plants this spring. *cough*

The good thing is…I never have to buy any tomato juice, sauce or soup. Ever. And the home-canned stuff is SO GOOD!!!

Here’s the way I make tomato juice and tomato sauce…

tomatosauce1sm.JPG
First, you start with bunches and bunches of pretty tomatoes, like these. You can take the skins off and the seeds out if you want to…I pretty much just WASH them. I leave the skin on and and the seeds in…mostly because I’m just too lazy to do otherwise. My family doesn’t know the difference, and you can’t really even tell that the seeds and skin are still there. At all. 

tomatosauce3sm.JPG
Next, I cut the tomatoes into fourths and put them into my blender.

tomatosauce2sm.JPG
The tomatoes are then blended up until they are liquid. 
(Mmm, tomato smoothie anyone?)

tomatosauce4sm.JPG
After I blend up my tomatoes, they go into a big pot.  Obviously this pot was not quite big enough! Filling your pot this full will just about guarantee that your pot will boil over and spill all over your stovetop creating a cooked on tomato mess. (Picture of the boiled over mess not available…because I scooped some out before it boiled over, thank you very much.)

tomatosauce5sm.JPG
Next, I boil my tomatoes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. After a while it begins to look like this. Once that bubbly froth is just about all gone from the top (about an hour and a half or so after beginning the boiling process), you have made tomato juice, and you’re able to go ahead with the hot water bath process of canning tomato juice. 

tomatosauce6sm.JPG
But, if you want tomato sauce, continue to let it boil for another hour or so. You’ll know your tomato sauce is done “saucing” when most of the watery liquid has evaporated. If you continue to cook it at this point, you will have tomato paste…which is fine…if you want tomato paste.

Can your tomato sauce for 25-30 minutes following the hot water bath instructions here.

Then, you will have tomato juice for yummy veggie soups and such…and tomato sauce for sloppy joes, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce…and whatever else you use tomato sauce for. (If you want to, you can add your herbs and spices into the sauce while your making it so that you’ve got your spaghetti and pizza sauce already put together in your jars!)

I have a wonderful recipe for tomato soup that I’ll be sure to share soon! 
Yumm-eeee!

Comments

  1. says

    OH, I can hardly wait… I have already canned MANY Pints of diced tomatoes and I just walked through my garden while pulling the carrot and saw all the red tomatoes ready to be picked… I think I am TOTALLY going to do some sauce now! THANKS for the inspiration!

    [Reply]

  2. says

    Thank you for the permission to not peel and remove seeds. I LOVE that!!! I’m not a canning girl YET (will be looking hard at your dad’s auction bills all year to get supplies for next summer!)but I’ve got lots of freezer space. Have you ever frozen tomato sauce, or juice?

    Oh, and… 40 tomato plants? Wow.

    [Reply]

    Sherry Reply:

    I just thought I would let you know that this freezes very well. After the blending (or Ninja Chopper as I prefer), just pour the tomatoes into freezer bags. Very handy for winter soups and chili.
    I thought I was the only one to use the blender for my tomato sauce.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  3. says

    You have a great way of just leaving us hanging!!! :-) Can’t wait to see your recipe for that tomato soup!

    You make canning look so easy! and fun!

    Speaking of tomato smoothies….I have snuck a tomato in on occasion..shh! (-not to mention spinach, thanks 2 U 4 the tip!;)

    [Reply]

  4. says

    I have always wanted to try canning tomatoes. Next year I will have to plant more. I only have 2 plants,just enough to enjoy fresh. It would be so nice to not have to buy tomato sauce.

    [Reply]

  5. Joelle says

    My poor tomato plant died this season. (It was growing in a pot on our porch. We kept it watered but it succumbed to disease). I only got about 7 tomatoes off of it. :( Maybe once we move to a place with a yard, we can grow more tomatoes, hopefully enough to can!

    [Reply]

  6. Michele says

    My husband and I have tomatoes coming out our ears right now, but we are thankful for it. Last year they were damaged by hail…twice. So, that crop only yielded about 20 jars of salsa and 10 of stewed tomatoes. This year we have so much we needed to diversify. This recipe came at just the right time! We both love juice and it tastes great. We both like it a little saltier, but b/c preference changes we didn’t change a thing. We just add salt or (pepper) when we are ready to drink it.

    [Reply]

  7. Deborah Swinson says

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!! I planted 51 tomato plants on purpose this year, but now that I have already done wheel barrow loads of tomates and salsa I am working on sauce. I started the way I have always done it which is slow going. Then I did a search for fast tomato sauce. And here is where I found my answer! I am going right back into my kitchen and get out my blender! Thanks and bless you!
    I am also saving your blog to my favorites to come back and read later.

    [Reply]

  8. regina says

    40 plants!!!! I had to can at least once a week with just 8 plants last year. I only did tomato sauce because my family won’t eat diced tomatoes. We got a two maybe 3 year supply between July and November. You must have a huge family:) I did 4 plants this year and I think next year I’ll just do one.

    [Reply]

  9. Myla says

    Thank you for the information and I am glad you said not to peel the tomatoes. I have a lot of Roma’s because we make salsa and I wanted to make tomato sauce with them.

    [Reply]

  10. Hope says

    Do you recommend a certain type of tomato for canning? I’ve never canned tomatoes before. But I am looking forward to it so I can have them for homemade soups, especially the homemade tomato soup recipe you shared with us.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I like roma tomatoes best just because they are “meatier” and will go a bit farther in sauces and soups. Otherwise…if it’s a tomato…I’ll use it!! :)

    [Reply]

  11. Kim says

    Do you add lemon juice?? I’ve never canned before but my tomatoes (straight from my blender) are on the stove and another site said to put lemon juice in???

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Tomatoes are very acidic…therefore I don’t feel the need to add lemon juice. Most of the directions I’ve seen do not say to add lemon juice…BUT I have seen some that recommend it just to be on the safe side. I’ve never had any trouble and I’ve never added lemon juice, but from what I understand, it doesn’t change the taste of your tomatoes if you do add it.

    [Reply]

  12. Pamela Sayles says

    Can I use mostly green tomatoes for this tomato sauce recipe?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t think the flavor would be very good with the green tomatoes. I’ve never tried it before though!

    [Reply]

    evwood Reply:

    I canned green tomato-green pepper relish last year and everyone went
    nuts over it. I am going to try making green tomato sauce at the end of the season
    of the season. We like the tang.

    [Reply]

  13. chibuzo says

    I wonder why i have to peel the back and remove the seeds – many say so but no one says why. Thanks for your posting. My worry is, i need to start canning NOW!My family needs it, but how long would this last on shelf without going back or losing taste? – i need it to last between 6months and 1 year. What do i do – can’t wait! chibuzo

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Your canned food should have a shelf life of 2-3 years!

    [Reply]

  14. Stephen Banks says

    There is an quick and easy way to peel tomatoes. Cut an x on the bottom center of the tomato. Put the tomato in boiling water (just enough to cover tomato) for 15-20 seconds. Take out of boiling water and put under cold water for a few seconds. Cut off stem end and the skin will slip off.

    [Reply]

  15. ginny gillman says

    my husband told me to find out how to do turnups and beets,
    i have found turnup greens but he said he thought we would do them like potatoes, which i did last year but will do more then i did last year we have about 15lbs before planting he is not sure how many plants will come up as we got hit with frost this year lost a lot. had to replant tomatoes.
    do i cook turnups just like i did the potatoes useing pressure cooker?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I guess so…I don’t have a lot of experience with turnips. No matter how I cook them, we don’t really like them. :)

    [Reply]

  16. says

    Thank you for the great instructions and pictures! I just made my first batch of tomato sauce today with your instruction. I did decide to peel them, but we left the seeds in and it looks and tastes great. Do you add salt or any flavoring? I also found citric acid with the jars at the store, so I added that just in case. Is it necessary?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Congrats on your first batch of sauce!! I do add salt and spices later when I’m using the sauce to make spaghetti or pizza or whatever. Tomatoes are pretty acidic by themselves, so I’ve never found need to add citric acid.

    [Reply]

  17. Ralph says

    Laura,

    This is the second year I’ve used your method and thanks. It is quick and easy and as you say, I throw everything in. Eggplant, squash etc. Throw some spices in too and the sauce is to die for. I’ve got demands from others this year, looks like you’ve created a monster.

    Ralph

    [Reply]

  18. Beth says

    Thank you so much for such an easier way to can tomatoes. I will share this with everyone. I am making tomato sauce with red tomatoes and a second pot of bright yellow tomatoes. I can’t wait to see how beautiful they look on my shelf ready to eat. I will share them with family and friends too. Thank you again for making this a look forward to all those tomatoes kind of year. Easy, easy, easy. Beth

    [Reply]

  19. Debra DeVlieger says

    Hi Laura
    Have you ever just frozen the sauce when it is done or do you always can. I have very little space for canning, but have a deep freezer to use.
    Thankyou
    Debra

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you can freeze it for sure!

    [Reply]

  20. says

    If I add a bunch of herbs and vegetables to my sauce, then do I have to pressure can it ya think? I’m going to do that tonight, I have the sauce on the stove now. It would be nice not to have to deal with the pressure canning though.

    [Reply]

    Laura@HeavenlyHomemaker Reply:

    No, you won’t have to use a pressure cooker…although you may want to add some lemon juice just to make sure it’s acidic enough.

    [Reply]

  21. Peggy says

    I canned tomato sauce and it’s very acidic. Makes our stomachs burn. Never had this happen before. Do you have any suggestions on how to cut the acid.

    [Reply]

    Kaci Reply:

    Sugar cuts acid.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, try throwing in a little sugar (I would use sucanat).

    [Reply]

  22. Linda Cotton says

    Hi, I wanted to know if you have a recipe for tomato juice?
    Do you spice it up?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t make tomato juice to drink. I just make it as directed in this post, then use it for vegetable soup. I should look for a good recipe though!

    [Reply]

  23. Ruth says

    Please refer to the cooperative extention of the Blue Book to make sure you add lemon juice to your canning of tomatoes or you are in jeopardy of botolism.

    [Reply]

  24. says

    just found your site. love it! so i am actually posting with the lemon juice question….i see someone posted about this right ahead of me. do you put some in? i have my own little blog and posted about trying to can and i used your recipe…but then i got all sorts of feedback(crabby at that) saying i was irresponsible not adding lemon juice…my mother never did so i figured why? well, my mother tells me that is because tomatoes are lower and lower acid these days? she grows and cans heirloom seed tomatoes, which is probably why she never bothered.
    so, do you use it? what are your thoughts?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Oh, dontcha just love crabby comments? (yeah, me neither)

    I DON’T, but maybe I should start since everyone is saying that we should?! Your mom is right…it’s about the hybrid tomatoes being so much less acidic. So if you use mainly heirlooms, you’ll be fine, but if you’re using a lot of hybrids it may be a good idea…just in case. :)

    [Reply]

  25. Trish says

    Thanks for this! I’m cooking some sauce as I write this! have about 20 pounds of tomatoes- about how much sauce will this make (in quarts)?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Oh shucks…I’m very behind in answering questions. How many quarts did you get? Every tomato is different, so it would be hard for me to answer your question.

    [Reply]

  26. Michele says

    I was looking at this thinking about canning spag sauce. I always add yellow squash or zuccini etc but was wondering if you knew if I could add the meat too. I know people can meat sauce but am not sure if its the boil method they use. Do you know or have your tried?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you add meat, you’ll have to use the pressure cooker to can it. That’s not a method I’m familiar with though, so I can’t help you on the “how” part of that!

    [Reply]

  27. Jennifer says

    Hi Laura,

    I love your method of making tomato sauce…so easy! Do you have a good spaghetti sauce recipe? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have so many requests for this, I’ll share this summer while I’m making sauce!

    [Reply]

  28. Brooke says

    Laura, do you add italian seasoning or what sort of spices for spaghatti and pizza sauce? Also, when canning something like this – if you wanted to freeze it do you do the same thing (follow the same instructions?) thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you could freeze it instead of canning it. I add basil, oregano, onion and garlic to my tomato sauce for spaghetti and pizza sauce. I’ll share more detail this summer when my tomatoes are ready for canning!

    [Reply]

  29. says

    Trying your recipe for the sauce and love the fact I don’t have to de-skin or de- seed my tomatoes. I’m try a variety all together.I added fresh zucchini and vadalia onions with a red and alittle spice and is it yummie.Boiled down till water is evaporated and just about ready to can and process.Last year my sauce came out so good so I’m hoping for sucess this batch.I cannned raspberry and strw/rhubard jams and canned peaches,cause once the seasons over I’ll have fresh canned fruits and veg.’s all winter.

    [Reply]

  30. Bernadette says

    I am very new to this :) how, any tomatoes do I need (using Romas) before I start canning? This is my first year to be growing tomatoes successfully and I have 15 plants. Right now we are getting like five ripe here… feeding a tomato worm one there… I wasn’t sure how many I need to accumulate before I make some sauce and I don’t want them to go to waste sitting on my counter waiting… any ideas as to how many?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You’ll need a good, large amount before it’s worth going to the trouble to make the sauce and can it. If you blend them up and fill up a large pot, it will cook down to almost half of what you started with.

    So…I don’t really have a number for you, but I usually wait until I have around 25-30 tomatoes at least before I make a batch of sauce. Go ahead and stick those other tomatoes in the fridge while you’re waiting. With 15 tomato plants, I bet it won’t be long until you have PLENTY of tomatoes ready all at once to make some sauce! Hope it goes well for you!

    [Reply]

    Janine Reply:

    if you aren’t getting many off the plants at a time, you could always cut up the ones you do have and stick them in the freezer in freezer bags until you have enough, or the time to get the sauce done. I an working my way through 2 bushels of roma tomatoes right now to go mostly in the freezer for soup and sauce, salsa I make from fresh tomatoes and can that day. I’ve only just started canning this year so I am still very new. Lately my partner in crime has ditched me for the boyfriend, but will be back eventually. I’m just waiting to do the sauce and soup to be canned once the kids are back in school and I have the house to myself during the day.

    [Reply]

  31. says

    I was under the impression if you added any other vegetables to tomato sauce, you had to pressure can it. Have you had success water bath canning tomato sauce with other purreed veggies in it? Should one maybe add a bit of lemon juice to raise the acidity if doing so?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you can still just water bath it, but if you do add some extra veggies go ahead and add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice.

    [Reply]

  32. Brooke says

    Laura, okay, maybe this is a dumb question or two… but I need to ask since I’m going to venture to do my very 1st canning of tomato sauce soon… If I can “sauce” is that going to be versitale then for pastas and pizzas?? I just add spice when I go to actually heat them up for a meal?? Or if I want pasta sauce and pizza sauce do I do them differently?? Little confused… thanks

    [Reply]

  33. says

    I went and bought about 50 lbs of canning tomatoes today, wanting to turn then into sauce. I’m so happy to see this method, because otherwise I’d be peeling a boatload of tomatoes. I want to make it a simple sauce-salt, pepper, and onions, so it’s versatile. How much lemon juice would you add to make sure it’s acidic enough? and how do you know when it’s acidic enough?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you’re only adding salt, pepper and onions, you don’t need to worry much about having enough acid – your tomatoes are acidic enough! I’d say add about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice per pint jar of sauce, which will be plenty. Have fun making sauce!

    [Reply]

  34. Janine says

    just finished reading through the comments, what size jar are you using for sauce, and for the tomato soup recipe on the other page? I found the 30 min water bath time for the soup, but I think I’ve missed the time for the sauce somewhere here.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I use either quart or pint, depending on what I need. For the sauce, you can water bath it for 20-25 minutes. :)

    [Reply]

  35. says

    I just started canning a few years ago-too many bad memories of jars exploding in the pressure cooker when my parents used to can!! Noticed when I was doin salsa that many times the buttons on the lids popped down before I had even done the water bath-I usually put the salsa in jars when I’ve just removed from the burner/boiling. So skipped the hot water bath last year and had no problems with many jars…until my husband opened a jar of juice and it EXPLODED ALL OVER!!! Won’t be taking that chance again. I’m hot bathing three jars of juice right now.
    FYI-to give juice that “bite” of Spicy V-8, I add 1/2 of an onion, 1-2 cloves of garlic, and 1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper when I’m boiling everything down and before I put it thru the food mill.
    I also quit removing the skins and seeds and using the food processor to mulch it all up, and I Love It!!Gr8 advice

    [Reply]

  36. Karma says

    Ok, so you got me a little nervous, this was my first year starting from seed and I have 48 tomato plants out there just starting to ripen in my salsa garden….. am I crazy? I just could not get rid of my little seedling (babies) when I was thinning so I put them into other containers…. haha… now I am looking for ideas for what to do with it all while I wait for the green peppers to catch up. This may work!

    [Reply]

  37. Jennifer says

    Neighbor gave me his overload of cherry tomatoes. Would have been way too much work to skin all those little guys and a waste because it was way too may to eat. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  38. says

    Why do some recipes call for using lemon juice and some do not? I am hoping that the three cases of spaghetti sauce that I just finished putting up will not spoil as they dont have any lemon juice in them.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Some say that you MUST add lemon juice, but I’ve just not been too concerned since tomatoes are so acidic on their own. I’ve never added it and we’ve always been fine. :)

    [Reply]

  39. says

    I was wondering if it made a big difference to use 4% vs 5% vinegar in canning recipes? I accidently grabbed the big jug of 4% and didn’t notice when I used it for my salsa. Friends weren’t sure so I thought I’d get your opinion. Also used it for dill and sweet pickles-do I need to worry?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t think it matters either way – your 4% should be fine!

    [Reply]

    Kendra Reply:

    I’ve been told always use 5%.

    [Reply]

    AJ Reply:

    It is about the PH level of the sauce that matters. As long as the PH reaches under 4.5%, you will be fine.

  40. Janette McCune says

    Do you use an acid when canning? Lemon juice, citric acid, vinegar?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t, because tomatoes are acidic on their own, although I have heard it advised to use lemon juice.

    [Reply]

  41. Sue O says

    I just thought I would share that last year I cooked all my apples in a large crock pot and let them cook until they were pretty well cooked through. I then added my other ingredents and canned them. I like the chunckier sauce. What I liked about using the crock pot is I didn’t really have to watch them and the apples never burned.

    [Reply]

    LuAnna Reply:

    That is how I made apple butter last year. It worked great and I was able to work on other things while the apples were cooking.

    [Reply]

  42. Starla says

    I just finished canning some tomato sauce and I realized I forgot to add my lemon juice. Will my sauce be okay for storage or did I just spoil the whole batch?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Your tomato sauce should be just fine! I never add lemon juice to mine because it is very acidic. :)

    [Reply]

    Leigh Sabey Reply:

    Hi Starla, just so you know…(and I’m sure your tomato sauce is fine)…I madde the same mistake last year. I decided to call my local CSU extension office (experts in home canning safely), and they advised me to throw away all of my beautifully canned tomato sauce because I forgot the lemon juice :(. They said that although tomatoes are usually acidic enough to be safe, they vary quite a bit, and you can’t really be sure. It was VERY painful to throw it out, but I decided to take their advice because I planned to feed the sauce to my young kiddos and didn’t want to risk it. I’m sure yours will be OK but just wanted to share my experience!

    [Reply]

    larry smith Reply:

    i never use lemon juice and have never had any problems. the tomatoes are acidic enough

    [Reply]

    Ward Smith Reply:

    If you are unsure you coud have just boil the sauce for 20 minutes before using; that destroys the botulism toxin if it was even present.

  43. Teresa says

    I never add lemon juice either..have canned spaghetti sauce for the past 2 years with great results :) I cook it for 3 1/2 hours,put in jars and bath it for 15 minutes :)

    [Reply]

  44. Phyllis says

    This is exactly how we do our sauce, except we puree them in a cuisinart. Why buy fiber when you can eat tomato skins? Plus we cook them much longer – sometimes as much as 2-3 days, very slowly, turning it off at night(and covering the pot). Endpoint is the same – thick and not watery. To prevent scorching, we put a steel plate from our woodstove cooktop on top of the gas burner under the pot, to spread the heat. Also, we shorten the evaporation process by dipping out some of the watery liquid (if you push your ladle down in the tomato sauce, you will create a crater that fills with thin but tasty juice). We dip that out into pint jars and can it separately, for soup base. Canning times seem to vary wildly – 10 minutes for tomato juice to 45 for quarts of tomatoes. I figure the sauce is well cooked already and is put into jars still hot – we process for 10-15 minutes and have not had a problem.

    [Reply]

  45. Michelle says

    What if the tomato sauce is cold (made yesterday and want to can today) will that work??

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You’ll need to heat it again before canning, then it will be perfect!

    [Reply]

  46. Janet says

    Am thinking I will use my Foley Food Mill to make the sauce … anyone else done this? I love it for apple sauce and thought it might be one way to avoid the peeling (although now I read that many of you don’t peel .. that’ll be next year) and to get good tomato sauce!

    [Reply]

    Kia Reply:

    Janet, I’m doing that right now. I used my food mill and now have the sauce simmering on the stove to thicken. My friend makes hers this way and has for years and her sauce is wonderful.

    To answer an earlier question, my friend says she’s never used lemon juicke or any other citric acid in her tomato sauce and has done just fine. She has four little ones who have been eating it since day one and no one has ever gotten sick. =)

    [Reply]

  47. Ingrid says

    Southern New England has not had a frost, so I am busy canning 5 gallons of tomato sauce. I never peel or de-seed, I just cook the snot of it. I don’t use lemon juice either, but do add olives & capers along with peppers, onions, garlic, herbs and celery. I was going to use my food mill, but then ended up with so much sauce, I got lazy and just cooked it a whole extra day. yum.

    [Reply]

  48. says

    I found this page while looking up tomato juice for canning. My grandma (passed away last December) used to can tomato juice every summer and then we’d make soup from it by adding milk and simmering. It was wonderful with just adding a bit of salt and pepper to it. I’ve got tomatoes going in the garden and can’t wait to make it myself this year!

    Of course, it’s a miracle we survived if you go by today’s standards… I never paid much attention while she was doing it, but my uncle told me she just hot packed the jars and slapped the lid/seal on and put in the pantry when cool :)

    [Reply]

    Marla Starling Reply:

    Thats the way my granny use to do it to. Hot pack the jars, slap on the seals and rings, line them up on the table and cover with a towel. For the next 24 hours you could be anywhere in the house and hear ping………ping. lol. We never got sick

    [Reply]

    Michelle R Reply:

    I made salsa already this summer and for my bath I ran by jars in the empty dishwasher. I sure hope they sealed. The have seemed to. Didn’t know if you knew the reason we bath them in hot water for the time we do?

    [Reply]

    Edith Reply:

    thats the way I did it today no waterbath no pressure cooking just open kettle they always turn out great

    [Reply]

  49. larry smith says

    i simmer my salsa for about fifteen minutes and then hot bath for about one hour and fifteen minutes and have never had any problems. does anyone else use this technique? my mom taught me and ive been doing it for about five years now with no problems. Except that time a lid came off in the hot bath, what a mess…

    [Reply]

  50. says

    I’m wondering… if I wanted to make a tomato sauce with other whole veggies in it (not blended), like mushrooms or onions or bell peppers or even greens like spinach, would that still be safe to can the same way? I’ve been getting spooked out on safety by reading all these other sites that warn about ph levels and such. I’ve also been wondering about batch cooking slow roasted tomatoes and canning them. Would really love your advice on that. :-D

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you add other non-acidic veggies like that, you would need to use a pressure canner instead of just a water bath to process it.

    [Reply]

  51. Cathi says

    I noticed that there are times that the lids will seal themselves before they are put into the hot bath. One year I reasoned, NOT KNOWING ANY BETTER, that since the sauce was hot and the jars sealed that I could skip the hot bath altogether. Wrong move!!! My husband went to have some juice and had two jars explode on him!! To give him credit, all he did was calmly say, “Honey, I think this jar was no good.” Since the Year of the Exploding Jars I have always hot packed A)Tomato Juice-20min B)Sauce-35min C)Salsa-40(all are at or near boiling when they are packed into the jars. I got my times from Betty Crocker circa 1960s and from MRS WAGES MIX circa 2011.

    [Reply]

  52. vj says

    How long will canned tomatoes last in the pantry?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d say up to three years.

    [Reply]

    OldWizard Reply:

    I have had tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, cherries, apples, etc for 15 years. Storage was good – dry, cool and dark. I just feel better if those are used sooner though.

    [Reply]

  53. vj says

    Will canned tomatoes with good seals last two years in the pantry? If so, what is a good time frame for them to be used? thank you.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I’ve had some that have lasted me up to three years before!

    [Reply]

  54. betsy hammond says

    can you can tomatoes, corn and orka together…like succatash for soup later in the winter…

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You can, but since corn and okra are less acidic, you will need to can them with a pressure cooker instead of just the water bath method.

    [Reply]

  55. Carissa says

    Hi! I have a question. This is the first yr I have ever canned tomatoe juice and I am using your method…I love it! So very easy. I myself do add 2tbs of lemon juice to each of my quarts. I pureed a few zuccinni and about three carrots I knew weren’t going to get eaten to my tomatoes and boiled like you said then water bathed for 40min. Now after all said and done and 16qts later I have read on other canning websites not to water bath zucchini and tomatoes but to pressure cook them. Oh no!! Do I throw all of it out or wait until I go to use the juice and determine then? What would you do? I was wondering also if you have thrown in zucchini or squash before and how it turned out? Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    Carissa, I know it’s a bit after your post, but wanted to put in my $.02. I canned tomato sauce for the first time yesterday so I understand your anxiety. I am still staring at the jars waiting for them to explode although they are perfectly cooled and content on my counter. I too made my sauce the same way I always do; veggies (onion, garlic, zucchini, bell pepper, herbs, etc.) pureed together with the peeled tomatoes & NO lemon juice. I put them in the jars, sealed them, water bathed them for 45 mins then found all these websites saying NO other veggies (even though the sites I used as resources never said this) & now I am panicked. However, I have friends/family who have canned for years & I put my anxiety to them on FB. All have responded that A.) No lemon juice is fine. Some say they have never added lemons to tomatoes & they are still alive. B.) Some also have made sauce with veggies such as yours & mine & they too are fine. They use a water bath all the time and have not had problems. I’m sure a pressure cooker is desirable, but I am going to go with the majority consensus and keep my jars. Good luck to you!

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    Carissa, I know it’s a bit after your post, but wanted to put in my $.02. I canned tomato sauce for the first time yesterday so I understand your anxiety. I am still staring at the jars waiting for them to explode although they are perfectly cooled and content on my counter. I too made my sauce the same way I always do; veggies (onion, garlic, zucchini, bell pepper, herbs, etc.) pureed together with the peeled tomatoes & NO lemon juice. I put them in the jars, sealed them, water bathed them for 45 mins then found all these websites saying NO other veggies (even though the sites I used as resources never said this) & now I am panicked. However, I have friends/family who have canned for years & I put my anxiety to them on FB. All have responded that A.) No lemon juice is fine. Some say they have never added lemons to tomatoes & they are still alive. B.) Some also have made sauce with veggies such as yours & mine & they too are fine. They use a water bath all the time and have not had problems. I’m sure a pressure cooker is desirable, but I am going to go with the majority consensus and keep my jars. Good luck to you!

    [Reply]

  56. Amara says

    I’m sure this is a duh question, but if I just have a small amount of tomatoes, can I follow these directions to make the sauce and eat it that week (rather than canning for future)?

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    Yes,you can. Feel free to freeze it as will if you like.

    [Reply]

    Amara Reply:

    Thanks! Made a pizza that night and it was very good!

    [Reply]

  57. Mike says

    Interesting, I have been making tomatoe sauce for years that has garlic, onion and peppers in it + the years fresh dehydrated spices. (On the edge of spaghetti sauce but useable in like Pepper steak, sausage pastas and such spaghetti or goulas I add additional italian) I also blend with the snins on and cook the sauce at least 4 hours. I water bath at a rolling boil for 35 min pints and 40 min quarts. I have ket my sauce for 2 to 3 years and its always been fine. I also do not use lemon. I did not know when you added onions and peppers it should be pressure canned. I have been a chef most of my life and put up at least 30 Qts and 24 Pts every year. We gift the pints and hord the quarts.
    Who knew?????

    [Reply]

  58. Barbara says

    I have canned tomato sauce for about 3 or 4 years now and have successfully eaten close to 100 pint and quart jars without getting sick and have never used lemon juice or anything else. I canned last night and didn’t know to put in them lemon juice but will do so from now on. If you have jars of sauce or tomatoes already canned I think you are safe to eat it since tomatoes are acidic already.

    [Reply]

  59. JanaLee says

    I just have a quick question… We bought the wrong tomato plants by mistake this year and have grape (Roma/grape hybrid) tomatoes coming out of our ears! Can we use those for making sauce? Will they taste alright?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yep, they’ll work just fine!

    [Reply]

  60. Jasmine says

    Hi! I canned my batch of spaghetti sauce with a few mistakes. my ingredients for the sauce consists of : 40# of romas, onion, garlic, green pepper basil, and oregano. I didn’t add lemon juice and I only processed my quarts for 15-20 minutes in a water bath canner . is that batch going to be ok? Has anybody done this and lived to tell about it? I’m feeding this to my kids, so I’m a little nervous after reading the “real” recipes.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You’re probably okay since you didn’t add very many non-acidic items to your sauce. :)

    [Reply]

  61. Susan says

    HI! I started over 55 years ago so guess I have put up several thousand jars of Tomatoes in my life. I still love canning but I have changed the way I do it. If I add any low acid veggie to my sauce or juice I pressure can at the time needed for the low acid veggies. In the past I did a simple water bath and no one was ever taken ill, BUT better safe than sorry. It is so easy to say no one has gotten sick YET.Acid is added now due to the new types of tomatoes that tend to have a lower acid content than the older varieties

    [Reply]

  62. Jennifer Murphy says

    I have a question. I just canned tomatoe sauce in quart jars. I did not cook the sauce on the stove prior to putting the sauce in the jars. I water bathed the quart jars for 20 to 25 min. The jars sealed. Is this long enough? If not can I water bath them again?
    Thank You!
    Jen

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    That is long enough for the water bath. :)

    [Reply]

  63. Karin Ryan says

    I am learning so much reading others’ comments. My question is, I canned tomato juice after blanching them, removing the skins, then simmering the pureed juice for a few hours. It looks wierd to see the juice separate in the jars almost immediately after the lids sealed. Is that OK?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, it should be just fine!

    [Reply]

  64. LuAnna says

    I didn’t see where you state how long the water bath processing is for the tomoato juice, sauce and soup and in what size of jars. What size is best for each of these (thinking for sure pints with the sauce). This is my second year canning and I want to try to add new things to my canning experience each year, so that I can figure out what we like the best and how much of it to can each year. Thanks for your help and recipes.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    20-25 minutes of process time works well.

    [Reply]

  65. Joni says

    I have lots and lots of cherry tomatoes and want to make sauce. Can I process them with my large tomatoes or will there too many skins and seeds?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve done this with cherry tomatoes before with no problem!

    [Reply]

  66. renee says

    I have been reading and was going to can my homemade marinara sauce til i read that you cant put oil in it, already did. so i guess i will have to freeze this batch. for the future, when i make the sauce, i will put just my spices in and no oil. my question is how much lemon juice and will it change the way my sauce tastes? i have only canned green beans this year with my husband in a pressure cooker and we havent yet tried the beans. when you read all about canning, it starts to scare you. I know it is easy because soooo many people do it, my mom was one of them. thanks for your advice.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You can just add about a teaspoon of lemon juice for every quart of sauce and the flavor will not be effected.

    [Reply]

  67. Sylvie says

    Thank you so much for all that you do Laura. I just recently found your blog & I just can’t get enough, very impressed.
    I do have one question on your tomatoe sauce; I still have lots of tomatoes in the freezer from last year that I need to do something with. Do you think it would be ok to thaw them to make your sauce then canne them?
    CHEERS & thanks again ?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you sure can!

    [Reply]

  68. says

    I followed this today and didn’t peel the tomatoes and was so excited that you said yours was fine without doing that… but my sauce turned out extremely bitter just as Mom said it would if I left the skins on. So disappointed, does yours really never turn out bitter? Any idea why mine didn’t turn out?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I do prefer the taste with skins taken off, although we eat it just fine with skins on. Here’s something you might be interested in that I discovered just this year. I love it! http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/victorio-food-strainer-and-sauce-maker-best-investment-ever-for-homemade-applesauce-and-tomato-sauce

    [Reply]

  69. thummel1 says

    I love this post. It’s got my sense of humor. So how does your sauce taste? I, too, planted 20 tomato plants this year (doesn’t count though, I thought 8 died when I planted them, so I replaced them, and they are actually flourishing). I’ve NEVER canned. I have a blendtec blender, so I thought hey, I’ll just make a bunch of sauce for pasta with the Blendtec! Pop it in the blender, that thing turns everything to a fine liquid. Nonetheless, I’m kind of scared to start. I’d like to make salsa and bruschetta too. Do you (or anyone) have any recipes or tips to make some yummy stuff? We like spicy, zingy, garlicky stuff. I’ve got most everything I need in my garden now. I seriously have no idea where to start. I will take all tips! Thank you!

    [Reply]

  70. Kathy says

    Question on water bath canned tomatoes. I only canned for 15 minutes, maybe 18. They were Cherokee purples with a few cherry and pear thrown in. I added lemon juice from a bottle. Packed in hot jars and lids, although the tomatoes were room temp, or warm, liquid was hot, however, there was not much of it to add since the jars were pretty full. Pint jars, btw. What do ya’ll think? safe or not?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think they should be just fine!

    [Reply]

    Kathy Reply:

    Thank you! I did leave out one part, yet another mistake on my part, I did not run an utensil around the jar releasing air bubbles before I canned them. I can see air bubbles in some of the jars. Is that okay?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You should be fine. Air bubbles are only a concern if they are moving around, as if “fizzy.” That means your food is likely fermented and possibly contaminated. As long as the bubbles are not moving, you’re fine. :)

  71. Barbara says

    I have been canning tomatoe juice for 40 years. I just put in blender with skins & seeds & a jalapeno (I add a dash of tabasco & 1/2 tsp salt to each jar when filling). I have never boiled, before putting in the jars, for as long as everyone is saying. I bring to a boil that can’t be stirred down & boil stirring constantly for 10 min. Fill jars & water bath for 35 min.
    Have never had a problem, am I just playing with fire all these years? No lemon juice either.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think you’re fine since you are processing them in a water bath.

    [Reply]

  72. says

    This may be a silly question, but do you then add seasoning to this tomato sauce in the future when you open a jar to use for pizza, spaghetti etc? Or do you just use the tomato sauce straight from the jar as is? Thanks!! I really enjoy your blog!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I leave the sauce as is, then I add herbs and spices when I’m ready to make spaghetti and such with it. :)

    [Reply]

  73. says

    Silly question….we are making salsa, and I took all the juice from the tomatoes and ran it thru the foley mill. It’s about 6 cups. Can I cook that with some garlic salt or regular salt (~1 tsp) and then can it? I know it’s not a lot, but thought since we were canning, why throw it out (my mom likes tomato juice for bloody Mary’s). Any other suggestions for it?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You can use it as tomato juice, but it is pretty watery, and not like “actual” tomato juice. I’ve cooked rice in it before just to give the rice a little flavor and to avoid throwing it out. :)

    [Reply]

  74. Eileen B says

    So I was canning tomatoes last night and was tired…I forgot to heat them in a pot for 5 minutes before canning after peeling…I added 2 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt and poured boiling water to fill…quarts…then processed for 45 minutes am I okay? Man I can’t believe I missed a step!

    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You should be fine. :)

    [Reply]

  75. Madelaine says

    I wash my jars in the dishwasher and leave them in the hot dishwasher until I fill them. Then do a hot water bath. We have never been sick. Hope I’m not tempting fate!

    [Reply]

  76. Saydi says

    Don’t waste energy cooking down for hours when making tomato, spaghetti sauce… Drain the water off easily with cheese cloth, you will have a rich thick sauce and save hours of cooking, gas, or electric. Get ready the day before, cook down some, put in fridge overnite, then use the cheese cloth the next day to drain water off.

    [Reply]

  77. JWight says

    I couldn’t see that this question is answered, but I just finished putting up about 18 quarts of spaghetti sauce that called for oil (2 cups) and lemon juice. I forgot the lemon juice! The sauce is so good – but is the oil without lemon juice ok?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It’s probably okay, but with the oil, I would hesitate. If your jars aren’t too full, you might consider freezing the sauce just to be sure.

    [Reply]

  78. Terry says

    I just canned my homemade tomato sauce which has onions, basil, garlic, and a little carrot and celery. I added the lemon juice and processed for 35-40 min in a water bath. Will that be ok?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think since you added lemon juice, you should be fine. If you have any concerns though since you added other veggies, you can freeze the sauce just to be safe. :)

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *