Tomato sauce canned in glass jars
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Why I’m NEVER Canning Traditional Tomato Sauce Again!

Why I'm NEVER Canning Traditional Tomato Sauce Again!

I despise, hate, and detest cleaning and inventorying the freezers.

Abhor.

I put it off as long as I possibly can, which of course only makes things worse. I swear I’ll never learn. By then bags are pulled open and snacked on. (Apparently, frozen muffins are not off limits.) Meat packages left unmarked, were half unraveled remained unidentified and now I’m left trying to discern what the mystery meat might possibly be. Except now it has a nice thick coating of ice crystals through which I have to make the determination. Chiseling ice. Chiseling half frozen items from the bottom from that time when someone unplugged the freezer to use the outlet “for a second” and “I promise I won’t forget.” (Thankfully, there was no meat in there and, thankfully, I found it the next morning.)

With 3 freezers less than a ⅓ full, I knew it was foolishness to procrastinate any longer. Consolidation would save me a ton of time and reveal foods that I had formerly thought we were out of (I found BEEF!!!!!!)

I also found an easy couple dozen gallon bags full of frozen tomatoes from last year’s record garden haul. Since we are nearly out of tomato sauce, and since tomato season is nearly upon us, and since they were taking up the bulk of the space in one freezer, I decided to go ahead and can them into sauce.

Why I'm NEVER Canning Traditional Tomato Sauce Again!

Normally, when I can tomato sauce, I’ll freeze the tomatoes first. Though it takes a lot of passive, energy-free time to thaw them, I’d rather remove all the extra water that way instead of on the stovetop, lightly simmering the sauce to evaporate the same liquid into the air. Which takes energy, precious stove-top real estate, and a lot of babysitting so as not to scorch it to the bottom of the pan.

Up from the basement came 2 laundry baskets full of gallon bags full of frozen tomatoes. I set up 3 colanders over 3 bowls/pots. I  scrubbed out one side of the sink and dumped the rest to let the liquid run down the drain. After they were thawed, the tomatoes were processed through the food strainer to turn them into sauce (a messy job with lots of dishes), ladled the liquid into stock pots and simmered, and simmered, and simmered, and simmered all day and part of the next.

When it had finally thickened enough, I ladled the sauce into pint-sized jars, all 5 of them that I needed and processed them so they could go to the pantry shelf.

All of that garden space and work to turn probably 75 pounds of tomatoes into 5 pints of tomato sauce!! Forget it! I’m never canning traditional tomato sauce again!

And you know what I can do that AND still fill my pantry jars full with as much sauce as I could possibly need for our large family!

Had I found my new “Marinara” Sauce recipe sooner last year, those same 75 pounds of tomatoes would have become about  37 QUARTS of tomato sauce! Let me do the math for you:

75 pounds tomatoes = 1 ½ Quarts Traditional Tomato Sauce

6 pounds tomatoes = 3 Quarts Garden Fresh “Marinara” Tomato Sauce

That’s 25 times the yield!

I used to think that it would be impossible to ever grow enough tomatoes to meet our families needs. Now I have hope that I not only can, but can reclaim garden space from the tomatoes to use for other wonderful vegetables!

Over the winter I used high-yielding and delicious “Marinara” Sauce  (canned omitting the herbs) anywhere that a recipe calls for tomato sauce without any alterations to either the recipe or the final flavor of the meal. I tossed in some herbs and we enjoyed it as pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce every week! Honestly, I can think of one jar that wasn’t awesome and had that metallic, acidic, I must have used last-of-the-season tomatoes.

It is seriously an amazing recipe and will revolutionize your food preservation plan! Plus it is SO easy to make. Less than 10 minutes of prep time using just a couple dishes AND you can make it in your sleep!??

That’s why I’m never canning traditional tomato sauce again.

Find the recipe here: THE PERFECT GARDEN FRESH MARINARA TOMATO SAUCE

Why I'm NEVER Canning Traditional Tomato Sauce Again!

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17 Comments

  1. Try using one of those big electric turkey roasters. I used one to cook spaghetti sauce to can. Got 14 quarts.

  2. The only reason I leave the herbs out is for versatility just like you said. Honestly, this sauce is so packed full of flavor I sometimes forget the herbs and don't even notice.

  3. The only reason I leave the herbs out is for versatility just like you said. Honestly, this sauce is so packed full of flavor I sometimes forget the herbs and don't even notice.

  4. This looks so great! I was just wondering about the herbs – in this post you said you left them out. Is that necessary for canning or is it to make the sauce more versatile? Thanks so much for your posts and advice! Such a blessing to those of us new to homesteading!

  5. I save even more time and space by dehydrating my tomatoes and blending them in the food processor and making powder. Use tomato powder to make paste, sauce & salad dressing!

  6. Yep, that's it. Toss them in a bag and forget about them until you have either enough tomatoes, time, or both! 😀 Sorry to hear it's so rough growing them! We'll have the occasional worm or blight, but generally, it's pretty easy to grow tomatoes here.

  7. I am so glad that you posted this! In an earlier post I remember you stating that you freeze your tomatoes. Do you just put them in a ziplock and add them to the freezer until you get enough to can? We live in south Alabama and unless you use major pesticides and heavy fertilizer, tomatoes can be such a hard crop. I had some this year but the trickled in sporadically. This would be a great help if I could just put them in the freezer until I had enough to can.

  8. I hate it when my freezer gets like that! It’s kind of like that right now since our inside refrigerator went out and it took two weeks for them to deliver a new one. Now, I’m totally unmotivated to bring the stuff that was in the inside freezer back in to my super clean new inside freezer.

    I can’t wait to try your marinara sauce. I freeze my tomatoes also because it helps get the skin off but I catch all the juice and can it as tomato broth. I add it to rice or soups during the winter.

    This year we grew Juliet tomatoes (along with several other varieties) and they were a very prolific paste tomato. I was super impressed with them.

  9. I've done it with both pasting & eating tomatoes. Last year was a mix. This year though I decided to ditch the paste tomatoes all together because I prefer the flavor of heirloom tomato sauce. My yields on paste are always lousy and they always seem to be the first to sucumb to disease. (I've tried S.Marzano, Amish, & Heinz.) Plus I'm thinking that the size of the eating tomaotes will wash out with the water loss and end up with just as much final product as a paste anyway.

  10. I've done it with both pasting & eating tomatoes. Last year was a mix. This year though I decided to ditch the paste tomatoes all together because I prefer the flavor of heirloom tomato sauce. My yields on paste are always lousy and they always seem to be the first to sucumb to disease. (I've tried S.Marzano, Amish, & Heinz.) Plus I'm thinking that the size of the eating tomaotes will wash out with the water loss and end up with just as much final product as a paste anyway.

  11. So…..Im not sure what kind of tomatoes you are growing, but it sounds like you processed the wrong kind of tomato here. To get a good sauce, you want a paste tomato, they have less "juice" and more "meat" exactly for sauces. Sounds like you tried to process an early girl or some kind of tomato for a salad. The variety makes a huge difference.

    1. This comment!!!! Yaaasss. You need a proper paste tomato to make sauce. Anything else is going to lead to some disappointing results.

      1. I was using San Marzano some years, Amish Paste others. Hated the flavor without heavy seasoning. (SO bland!) Hated being tied to the kitchen babysitting the pot when I wanted to be outside soaking up the summer. Hated the abysmal yields compared to the new sauce I’m making. I use it for everything and to be honest rarely even add any extra herbs or anything no matter if it’s pizza, pasta, whatever.

  12. Thanks for the reminder, I'll be trying this recipe out this year for sure!
    I wanted to make sure to tell you about a new book that you're going to want to get your hands on, the only cheesemaking book anyone should own. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at our local farmers market, watched his demonstration, tasted his amazing creme fraiche and cultured butter and was gifted with kefir grains. I bought a copy of his book and within the first few pages realised you would love this book. Cheese recipes that don't use comercially produced cultures, even how to make your own renet,…it's an amazing book. https://www.chelseagreen.com/the-art-of-natural-cheesemaking