I may have mentioned before how my husband and I have set a hefty goal of canning 40 pints of tomato sauce in preparation for winter. I think so far I've only made 12 pint jars plus about 10 pints of canned whole tomatoes (which can be made into sauce later). Our main reason for doing this is so we that can enjoy local tomatoes all year round instead of purchasing cans of tomato sauce from the grocery store. Not only do we love supporting our local farmers, but as a couple without a car we strive to reduce our walking or biking trips to the grocery store as much as possible in the winter (the less heavy cans we have to lug home through the snow and freezing wind the better!).
I hesitated on sharing this recipe/project with you because it seemed like it might be too boring or simple. But then I realized that the simple (yet oh so useful) projects are sometimes the best inspiration for someone who's new to canning or preserving.
Loosely adapted from "Canning For A New Generation" by Liana Krissoff
tablespoon olive oil
6 pounds of tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, diced
few cloves of garlic, minced
tablespoon of salt (start with less and adjust to taste)
small handful of fresh basil (optional)*
2 teaspoons citric acid (this is essential in making your sauce shelf stable - don't leave it out!)
Prepare your canning pot by bringing water to a boil and heating up 4 pint jars. Place lids in a bowl and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat add oil, onions and garlic. Cook until onions are beginning to become translucent, add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 to 10 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes or until most of the tomatoes have broken down and sauce has thickened. Use an immersion blender to blend sauce. If sauce still seems to thin continue to simmer until desired thickness is achieved.
Remove hot jars from canning pot, pour water back into canning pot and set jars on a towel nearby. Ladle boiling water from canning pot onto lids in bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to each hot jar. Ladle hot sauce into each jar leaving 1/2 headspace. Wipe jar rims clean with damp paper towel. Drain water off lids and place lids on jars. Screw metal rings onto jars (just finger tight) and place jars into boiling water in canning pot making sure that there's 1 inch of water covering jars. Process in boiling water for 35 minutes. Remove jars from canning pot and place on towel. Let sit undisturbed for 12 hours. If after 1 hour any seals haven't popped down refrigerate immediately. Label and store sealed jars in a cool dark place.
*I like to keep my sauce pretty simple so that I can tailor it depending on what I'm using it for. If you'd like you can add oregano, thyme, pepper, etc feel free.