I first started to explore canning with a simple wine jelly recipe and now I’ve upgraded and gotten some big girl toys and just decided to really get all into it! One of the big reasons for gardening was for me to be able to can and put back some of our very own fresh veggies. So far the only thing that has produced enough for me to be able to can are my roma tomato plants and my jalapeno peppers, which is A-Ok in my book since you can do so much with each of these. I made up this recipe for a spicy tomato pasta sauce using my very own tomatoes and my own herbs! If you can’t tell I’m rather proud to be using produce that I grew myself! It’s just so cool! Anywho, I bought the Ball Blue Book Guide to Canning when I got serious about learning more and I used a tomato sauce recipe from it as a rough guideline on what I needed for my recipe. I say “rough” because their recipe called for a mere 45 lbs of tomatoes…Woah! I’m working with 4 lbs here! I’m pretty dang happy with how my recipe turned out, so here it is:
Spicy Tomato Pasta Sauce
- 4 lbs roma tomatoes, quartered
- 1 lg onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp fresh basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes (these go a loooooong way!)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6-8 1/2 pint jars and lids
- lemon juice
2. Prepare your ingredients. Heat the 3 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat and then add onions. Saute until translucent and tender. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Now add the quartered tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper, sugar, and the pinch of red pepper. Just a pinch! Funny story how I know that: I tried to make this sauce before, with only 2 lbs of tomatoes and I added a tablespoon of red pepper flakes…you read that right. A tablespoon! Why? Because I’m stupid! Anyway, lesson learned as that sauce turned out to be a heck of a lot spicier than I ever intended.
4. While the sauce is reducing, begin getting your jars and lids ready for canning. I started heating some water to boiling in my 22 qt canner before anything else. In a large saucepot, begin heating some water over high heat.
Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water, to ensure they are clean. I wash them even if I have washed them before, just to be safe. I prepared 8 jars, as I wasn’t sure how much this recipe would yield.
Once the canner water is boiling submerge jars for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to a simmer. You want your jars good and warm before you fill them with whatever it is you’re canning. I didn’t used to do this because I hadn’t read that Ball canning book yet. I would take them out of the boiling water and they would be fairly cool by the time I got around to filling them, so I don’t know if it is indeed necessary to keep them warm. Allegedly, it is to keep the glass from cracking. I just err on the side of caution now and keep them warm.
Once the water in the saucepot is boiling, reduce it to a simmer and then put in your lids. These will also need to be kept warm until you’re ready to can.
4. Once the sauce has reduced puree it in a food processor until it reaches desired consistency. Taste it and make any adjustments that you see fit. I originally started with 1 teaspoon of salt, but after tasting it the sauce seemed a little flat, so I added 1/4 teaspoon more and that really helped it out. Now you can strain this to get the seeds and skins out, but I’m lazy and just left them in there. I didn’t figure it would hurt anybody!
5. Now it’s time to fill your jars! Pull them out one at a time and put 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice per jar and then fill the jar with sauce. The lemon juice will act as a preservative. Once jars are filled put two-piece lids on and then lower into your canner. Process for 30 minutes in hard boiling water. It turns out I filled six of the eight jars with a little bit of spillover into another jar. I would go ahead and do the eight if I were you since the amount of sauce you get depends on how much you end up reducing your sauce.
6. Once processing time is over, remove jars from the water and let them cool. The button on top of the jar should pop in if you have a good seal. I love hearing that ”pop!” sound coming from the other room while they cool. It signals a job well done. Once they have cooled, you can label them and then store them until you have your next family spaghetti night! Enjoy!