Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce is FAR better than anything you can find in a store. You’ll love the rich, savory flavor. The best way to use fresh garden tomatoes!
This spaghetti sauce is HANDS-DOWN the very best with home-grown tomatoes. We are kind of crazy about our tomatoes over here.
Growing tomatoes has become a “family tradition” of sorts in our family. Our Uncle Larry is the best gardener ever. He always has an immaculate garden. He has studied and taught about gardening, and really does know all the tricks to get plants to grow. He has 10 green thumbs! His techniques have been passed down from family member to family member. He shared his secrets with our Mom who also grows a beautiful and bountiful garden every year. To learn more about our tips and tricks for growing tomatoes, click here.
Growing tomatoes (and eating them!) has been a way for our family to connect year after year. We compare notes on how our crops are doing, what varieties were planted, and what has been canned for that season. We love talking tomatoes. We love growing tomatoes. We love getting together to plan, pick, and can tomatoes. You know how the Bubba (Forrest Gump) is about his shrimp? That’s how we are about our tomatoes.
We have so many great memories of helping our Mom with canning tomatoes when we were younger. Now we are doing the canning in our own kitchens with our kids (and still in our Mom’s kitchen too). One of the things I personally love canning the most is this Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce. It took a few years to perfect, but we finally have the best canned spaghetti sauce recipe.
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Relative Race is partnering with food bloggers to offer their viewers tried and true family recipes and some awesome prizes! You can see all of the delicious family recipes here.
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Relative Race is giving away a beautiful Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven (perfect for making spaghetti sauce!), an Instax camera, a $25 Visa gift card, AND some really awesome Relative Race swag – a road trip handbook, water bottle, t-shirt, charger, conversation card, and pencil.
Now, on with the recipe! If any of you know our Dad, you will know that he loves Italian food. He is super picky about spaghetti sauce. It has to be just right. We had him over for dinner last night and served him this spaghetti sauce. He couldn’t get enough! He even used a spoon to get all the excess off of his plate. I am telling you, you are going to love it.
Of course, this is amazing with any Italian dish– not just spaghetti. It is wonderful with lasagna, stuffed shells, chicken parmesan, chicken cacciatore, minestrone soup… you get the idea. Add a little extra tomato paste and it makes for a great pizza sauce!
Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce is FAR better than anything you can find in a store. You'll love the rich, savory flavor. The best way to use fresh garden tomatoes!
- 25 Lbs. tomatoes
- 5 onions
- 4 large red bell peppers
- 1 large green bell pepper
- 4 (6oz) cans tomato paste
- 1/4 c. soy sauce I know it sounds weird, just trust me
- 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/4 c. salt
- 10 cloves garlic chopped or minced
- 3 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 3 Tbsp. dried basil
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/4 c. Lemon juice for jars
- Fill a large pot or Dutch oven half-way with water, bring to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, add tomatoes one at a time until you can't fit any more (about 8-10 tomatoes). Boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove tomatoes one at a time with slotted spoon and plunge in an icewater bath. Peel and quarter tomatoes.
- In a food processor, cover and process green peppers and onions in batches until finely chopped (if you want to add extra flavor, saute the peppers and onions in a little oil and a pinch of salt before processing).
- In a large stockpot, combine the tomatoes (do not discard excess juices from the tomatoes), onion/pepper mixture, tomato paste, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, garlic, oregano, basil, pepper flakes, and bay leaves. If you want to make your sauce thick and smooth, use an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes until smooth with no large chunks (you can also blend it in batches in a blender). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so (tomatoes burn easily so keep an eye on it). Discard bay leaves.
- Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice 9 or 10 hot 1-quart. jars (depending on how much you have). Ladle hot mixture into jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace at the top. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 40 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
- **NOTE***The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. For altitudes up to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes; 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes; 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes; 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes.
You will notice that there is soy sauce in the recipe… it is not a typo! Don’t ask me why but we always add soy sauce to our spaghetti sauce. It gives it a deep, rich flavor that salt just can’t provide. Don’t leave it out. If you are wanting to reduce the sodium, leave the salt out, not the soy sauce.
Now I know some of you aren’t into canning, and I know we are going to get e-mails about this so I will tell you right now, you can freeze this. You can place the sauce in a freezer bag or in containers that can be frozen. It will still taste great. Thaw the sauce completely in the refrigerator before re-heating.
A quick note: this particular recipe for canned spaghetti sauce hasn’t been “officially” tested for water-bath canning. However, I have done MUCH research on canning tomatoes and found that all canning resources agree, if you add lemon juice to the jars this recipe is acidic enough for canning. Tomatoes are in the “gray area” of having enough acidity so they might be ok without lemon juice but, adding lemon juice will make them acidic enough. If you are still worried, you can pressure can them or add more lemon juice or red wine vinegar to make it even more acidic. If you are still worried, you can freeze it.
UPDATE: This recipe has been tried and LOVED by many of you– be sure to check out the comments to see everyone’s reviews about this canned spaghetti sauce!
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Q. Can I add cooked ground beef to this?
A. ONLY if you are going to pressure can it OR if you freeze it instead of canning it (or you just want to eat it fresh or within a few days). Do not add ground beef if you are planning to water-bath can or steam can — it will not be safe to eat after sitting on the shelf.
- Q.Can I add __(fill in the blank)___ to this recipe?
A. You need to be really careful when adding ingredients to (or leaving ingredients out of) a canning recipe. You are usually ok adding spices but when it comes to adding more produce or anything else it could throw off the acidity levels, thus making unsafe for canning.
- Q. How long does this last on the shelf?
A. We usually try to eat anything that we have canned within a year. You can probably go a couple years but I wouldn’t go much more than that. Some canning sites even say you shouldn’t go more than 6 months but I think you are fine going longer than that.
- Q. Can I freeze this instead of canning it?
A. Absolutely! Some people prefer to freeze it because it is easier and they have lots of freezer space. If you DO want to add more random ingredients (see above questions), freezing is a good way to go if you are worried about acidity levels.