Canning your spaghetti sauce or marinara is a great way to use your garden-fresh tomatoes and ensure you have homemade spaghetti sauce all year round!
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You carefully plan out your garden for the year, specifically picking the best spot for your heirlooms, cherry and beefsteaks. You are dedicated to watering them and pruning them. You are meticulous. Then, you start see the benefits of your hard work – you have a couple ripe ones, which you immediately eat on the spot with a little salt (no? Is that just something my Dad and I do? Really?!) All of a sudden, your tomato production explodes – holy tomatoes Batman! What in the what am I going to do with all these damn tomatoes?
Whatever we did this year, it was right – we just finished Batch #5 of the marinara….. Batch #4 alone was made out of 50 lbs….. That was 5-0 —– 50 lbs. Yeah. That’s a lot of tomatoes.
But now we have a pantry full of spaghetti sauce to last us through the cold, Minnesota winter (note to self: come up with more winter recipes that use spaghetti sauce).
Alright, get settled in – lots of information about to come your way. But when we are done, you will know exactly how to can all those beautiful, delicious tomatoes you worked so hard to grow (or the 40 lbs you bought at this weekend’s farmer’s market). But first, a beautiful picture of my tomatoes:
First, a little I am going to direct you to the USDA’s Guide To Home Canning – a great resource for all of your home-canning questions. Additionally, homecanning.gov has a great schpeel on home canning and the concern regarding botulism. Botulism is a potentially deadly form of food poisoning that is caused by a bacteria that is actually found in the soil, but it can survive, grow and produce a toxin that can grow inside sealed jars of food – like canned spaghetti sauce. There are a couple of ways to ensure this bacteria is NOT in your food – one of them is high heat. Heat, particularly at certain temperatures and for certain periods of time, can kill that bacteria – this is why a pressure cooker is generally recommended as it can withstand incredibly high temps and pressure, thus killing off bacteria quickly. Another is acidity. Tomatoes, for example, are very acidic by nature. Thus, they are generally a great food to can as they naturally can kill of the botulism bacteria. But, that is why you often hear recipes call for lemon juice, which is also very acidic, as it can also assist with ensuring there are no botulism bacteria in your food. Botulism is a very serious bacteria with potentially fatal side effects, but there are definite ways to ensure you don’t have to worry about it.
Bottom line, the safest way to can any food, tomatoes as well, is to use a pressure cooker, add lemon juice and follow the other guidelines described in the USDA’s Guide.
All that being said, below I am going to explain the way that we have canned our tomatoes the past several years. While it doesn’t involve either a pressure cooker or lemon juice, we take into consideration the amount of acidity in the tomatoes and the fact that our homemade marinara recipe cooks at 425 for 5 hours, undoubtedly killing off any bacteria, but if any remained, the 45-60 water bath would kill off the rest.
What you need:
- Ball Pint Jars with lids
- Can It Kit – Canning Starter Kit
- Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner or
- Pressure Canner
Process for canning homemade spaghetti sauce in water bath:
- Sterilize. Sterilize. And then sterilize again: With canning, you need to aware of not only the potential bacteria that may have been in your soil, but also the everyday bacteria we have on our hands and in our kitchen. So, the first thing you need to do is eliminate that bacteria. Take your jars, lids, rings and funnel (this is included in your Kit) and give them a good wash in hot, soapy water. Then, either run them through the sanitizing cycle in your dishwasher (no detergent) or place them in boiling water for 30 minutes. Once that is complete, set everything on a clean towel.
- Take your homemade marinara (which has already been in the oven for 5 hours) and pour through funnel into one of your sanitized jars. Ensure there is 1/4 inch of space left at the top of the sauce. Use clean towel or paper towel and wipe down the top of the jar to ensure nothing will prevent a tight seal from occurring. Place seal and ring on top and tighten – use tightener also included in your Kit.
- Repeat this step until you have used all of your marinara sauce.
- If you are using a water bath, take your Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner and fill it about 3/4 full of water and bring to boil. Place as many jars as can comfortably fit in the canner and let sit in boiling water for 45-60 minutes, ensuring there is at least 1 inch of water on top of the jars.
- After 45 minutes, remove from water and let sit out for 12 hours, listening for each can to “pop”. If they don’t pop, they haven’t sealed correctly and should be discarded.
That’s it my friends! Please let me know if you have any questions – happy canning!
Homemade, roasted marinara sauce. Yummmmeeeeee.
And chunky tomato sauce!
Here’s to enjoying yummy spaghetti sauce all year round!