Canning tomatoes – Pizza Sauce

Today, allow me to walk you through canning some tomatoes. I made pizza sauce from a store-bought packet. Shall we begin?

Assemble the things you'll need. In this case, a packet for your product if you do not yet know how to make it from scratch (starch, spices and beet powder for red color), 6 pounds of tomatoes, canning jars, lids and rings. (Not shown: 5 tablespoons of sugar)

The Pizza Sauce packet. Very easy, consistent results. These save me time, which I appreciate, because I do most of my canning after the kids go to bed. I do sort of feel bad about not just researching and finding a good recipe to use, but I also hate spending time on failed recipes. I'm torn. I use similar packets of spice for most of my canning: ketchup, salsa, pasta sauce, etc.

You will also need (a bit later) a jar grabbing tongs to lift jars into and out of boiling water, a jar filling funnel and a magnetic lid wand.

Ok, we need to peel the skin off the tomatoes. Set a big pot of water on to boil. Boiling the tomatoes for a short time and then dunking them in cold water makes the skins slip right off.

Also, get your lids and bands into another pot of water and set that on a low heat. You don't want to boil these, just warm them enough that the rubbery part of the lid flat become a bit more malleable. Also, at this point, you have over 30 minutes before you'll need these to be ready.

Also while you are waiting for the first pot to boil, fill a canning pot with your jars and cover them with water. We'll set this on the back burner to warm up while we simmer later on.

Put a container of cold or icy water in your sink. As the tomatoes come out of their time in the boiling pot, the much cooler water will not only stop them from cooking at that time, but will help the skins become even looser. Plus it's just no fun to peel a 200 degree tomato.

Put a layer of tomatoes into the rapidly boiling water and set the timer for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the cold water. Repeat these two steps until you have blanched all the tomatoes for your product.

After a moment to cool, slip the skins off your tomatoes.

Also, cut out the hard core from each tomato that has one, as well as any green shoulders or bad spots.

For this sauce, we puree. Put the tomatoes in batches into the blender and hit the button.

Measure approximately 10 cups of blended tomatoes

Add the measured tomato puree into the cleaned pot you were boiling them in earlier. Add the contents of the spice packet and any other ingredients you are told to. In this case, 5 tablespoons of sugar.

Stir, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 25 minutes to thicken the sauce a bit. Longer simmering time will just make it thicker, which can be needed for very watery tomatoes. Just eyeball it and if you need more time, don't stop after 25 minutes.

By this time your pot of jars is simmering, at least, if not boiling (right?), so you can begin canning the sauce. Lift out a hot jar.

Add hot pizza sauce to hot jars with your jar funnel, leaving the recommended amount of head space.

Capture a hot lid with your magnetic wand and place it on the jar after wiping any spilled product off the jar's top and threads. Wipe the stove later.

After filling all your jars, bring your canning pot to a rapid rolling boil and then begin timing 40 minutes for processing. Heat the water in the pan that had been holding the lids and rings to a simmer to use for topping off this pot as it evaporates.

After boiling the jars for 40 minutes under a couple inches of water, remove them from the pot and set them on the counter to cool until morning (24 hours is best). You'll know they are sealing as you will hear each lid POP. The next day you can wash off any hard water deposits and remove the bands if you like. The flat lids will stay vacuum sealed.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by leslie on August 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Excellent sauce for calzones!


  2. […] Edit 2010: I didn’t say WHICH August. […]


  3. Wow – I’ve never seen a spice packet for pizza sauce before, just for pickling spices. I agree that it simplifies the canning process considerably. You don’t have to remove the seeds for this recipe?


  4. Awesome tutorial – I love it! I’ve gotta try this 🙂


    • Hurry! The farmer’s markets are almost out of tomatoes. At this time of year they start mixing in the red ones that ripened on the vine with the ones they picked green and ripened indoors.


  5. Posted by Mary on September 6, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I was glad to find this online as I just canned 12 pints of this same pizza sauce. I let it simmer longer than required because my jars were still in the dishwasher. The recipe made twice as much as it said it would and was quite watery. I can’t help but think maybe the tomato puree should have been strained. I canned it all anyways and see that I did my canning EXACTLY like you did…so maybe the sauce is supposed to be that way.


    • The step above where I measure slightly more than 10 cups is the way that I know I have simmered enough water out of the tomato mixture. If you have significantly more sauce at that point, or if it’s just not as thick as you would like, continue simmering and stirring. It can take 2 or 3 hours more if you had really watery tomatoes.


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