Canning Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

It is time!

The tomatoes are coming off the vines like mad. The peppers are dripping to the ground. The garlic and onions are cured.

The planets and stars have all aligned for our spaghetti-making bonanza.

Get your quart jars sanitized — it’s time to can some wonderfulness.

Here in Kentucky, a simple water bath is all it takes to preserve these jars of goodness.

This is a basic sauce that is very versatile. It is a variation of the “Seasoned Tomato Sauce” recipe from the Ball Blue Book (pg. 23). This recipe is processed using the hot water bath method.

With jars of this spaghetti sauce I can make:

• baked spaghetti
• lasagna
• marsetti
• spaghetti & meatballs
• marinara for dipping
• Or any other dish that involves a seasoned tomato sauce

Must have this in the pantry!

Canning Note: Hot water baths and pressure canning can be used to process this spaghetti sauce. I have always used a Hot Water Bath here in Kentucky for canning this recipe. Other sources and certain elevations require pressure canning for spaghetti sauce. Please check requirements for your area before canning.

Before we get started on the sauce, we need to peel the tomatoes. For a detailed lesson in blanching go here. It’s so easy and fast.

Here’s the net-net on blanching:

• Cut out core
• Cut an “X” on the bottom
• Dunk in boiling water
• Transfer to cold water
• Slip off peels

You can make spaghetti sauce with the whole tomato (flesh, seeds, juice & all). I do not recommend it.


If you use the entire tomato, your sauce will include seeds and juice.

I like my spaghetti sauce without seeds. I also like a thicker sauce, so I’m going to bypass the juice.

You could use all the juice and just cook the sauce down to desired thickness. This takes time. This is also a pain in the neck.

If I separate the juice now instead of leaving it in and cooking it “down,” I accomplish two things:

1. My spaghetti sauce is done faster.
2. I get quarts of fresh tomato juice in my pantry.

Less cooking time plus quarts of tomato juice — “Yes, Pick me!”

I’ll show you how I do it …

You could use a food mill. If you are like me and do not have a food mill, you can just shove all the seeds out with your thumbs and toss the tomato “meat/flesh” into your giant saucepot for the sauce. No need to get every seed out. It’s OK if some seeds make it into your sauce.

Notice how I am using a strainer to catch all the seeds? What is draining into the pitcher underneath the strainer is pure, beautiful tomato juice that I will be putting in cans later. Go here to see how I can the juice. Yea!

Spaghetti sauce and tomato juice all canned the same day. Bonus!

Once the seeds are out, get in there with your hands and start squishing.

Keep squishing until the tomatoes are no longer tomatoes. You want a pot of gloop.

Now, run out to your barn and get some onions, and go to the garden for some fresh basil and oregano.

Chop up the onions & garlic and toss them into the pot with the tomatoes.

Chop the basil & oregano to smithereens & throw it in the pot, too.

Add salt and oil.

Bring this to a simmer and let it thicken. If you left out all the tomato juice, you will be done thickening your sauce in under an hour. If you threw the entire tomato (juice and all) into your pot, you maywill be simmering this concoction for … all day.

Did you know that every spaghetti sauce recipe in the world says, “Cook sauce in a large pot over medium-high heat until volume is reduced by one-half”?

Reduced by one-half!

It might as well say, “Why don’t you just die?”

Who has time to “cook until volume is reduced by one-half”? Not me. Which is why I got the juice out earlier during the de-seeding stage of the spaghetti sauce escapades.

So, now we don’t have to babysit spaghetti sauce all day.

You’re welcome.

Add 2 Tablespoons bottled lemon juice to each quart jar. (1 tbsp for pints)

Do not forget the lemon juice or you could poison yourself — must put in the lemon juice. 2 Tablespoons to each quart.

Fill hot jars with simmering spaghetti sauce. Wipe rims with a damp, clean cloth. Adjust lids finger-tip tight (tight, but not so tight that Hulk couldn’t open them).

Process in boiling, hot-water bath* for 45 minutes (35 for pints). Be sure to start timer after water begins boiling.

This winter you will be glad you did!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

40 pounds tomatoes (from my garden this is about 100 nice sized tomatoes)

• 6 cups diced onions
• 20 cloves garlic minced
• 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh oregano (chopped to smithereens)
• 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil (chopped to smithereens)
• 1/4 cup salt
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• Bottled Lemon Juice

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Happy Canning!

*Other sources and certain elevations require pressure canning for spaghetti sauce. Please check requirements for your area before canning.

  • Published on Sep 23, 2016
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