Canning Fresh Tomato Sauce

I’m not a total stranger to canning, since my mom and grandma used to can pickles and jams in the summer when I was a kid. So, when my mom needed to figure out something to do with the pounds upon pounds of tomatoes coming from her community garden I decided I would try my hand at making and canning fresh tomato sauce. 

Since this was my first time making tomato sauce from scratch I went with a simple “recipe” for the sauce itself. It really wasn’t a recipe at all… it is just pureed tomatoes cooked down to the consistency desired. I used the instructions from The Kitchn for the sauce, and instructions from the Ball Jar website for canning.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceI began with a little over 50 pounds of tomatoes from my mom’s garden. I actually have no idea what all the varieties are. There were some huge heirloom tomatoes along with many smaller grape and cherry tomatoes. Everybody in the pool!

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceThe first step was to set up an assembly line for blanching and peeling the tomatoes. My BFF Katie generously (perhaps foolishly) volunteered her house for this project as she has much better lighting for photos. Peeling tomatoes may sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty easy if not a little time consuming.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceI cored each tomato with this shark paring knife which made the job much more pleasant.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceThen cut an X shape on the bottom.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceDrop the cored and scored tomatoes 4-5 at a time into a pot of boiling water for 30-60 seconds.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceThen transfer to a bowl of ice water until they’re cool enough to handle.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceOnce they’re cooled off a bit, you can peel the skins right off by hand.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceCanning Fresh Tomato SauceWhen all the larger tomatoes were peeled, I gave them a rough chop.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceThe smaller tomatoes we halved or quartered and threw them into the mix peels and all.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceI filled my pot with a mixture of peeled and unpeeled tomatoes, then took my stick blender to it. It made quick work of any peels and seeds and turned our tomatoes into a big pot of thick tomato juice. Also, I am wearing a pug face shirt and a cat breed apron. Fashion.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceCanning Fresh Tomato SauceHowling FoxhoundHowling FoxhoundYour 4-legged friends may not appreciate the stick blender.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceAs you can see, I underestimated how much sauce my tomatoes would produce. Not only did we need two overflow pots, I had to wait for these pots to cook down a while to get more room so I could add additional tomatoes and puree them in.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceTwo hours in we’re making some progress. The big pot on the right took about another 2 hours after this.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceOnce it was sufficiently thickened, I started pouring it into my sterilized canning jars. Again, for these steps I followed the directions from the Ball website.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceWhile the larger pot of sauce finished cooking, I started heating up the giant canning pot.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceThe first batch of sauce went into the water bath and I crossed my fingers that everything would go smoothly. I am pretty sure there is little to no chance of the jars exploding during this process but that was my fear for some reason.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceCanning Fresh Tomato SauceAfter a steamy 40 minutes it was time to use my jar grabber to remove the processed sauce.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceThen I used my jar grabber to taunt Sammy.

Canning Fresh Tomato SauceAfter two rounds of processing, we ended up with 5 pints and 9 quarts of fresh tomato sauce. The entire process took about 8 hours and was pretty exhausting albeit rewarding. Even though it was a long process, it wasn’t particularly difficult. So, grab a friend and make some sauce!

Linking up with: Ginger Snap Crafts, Creative Geekery, Design Dining and Diapers, Liz Marie Blog, The 36th Avenue, Lil’ Luna, Lines Across, Sugar Bee Crafts