Earlier this month, I took my first trip to Charlie’s U-Pik in Wiggins, MS with friends. We spent the morning in the heat and humidity wading through mud in our rainboots picking farm fresh produce. The tomatoes, unfortunately, weren’t ripe yet. So as I checked out, I grabbed a 25 lb. box of Roma tomatoes from their other (larger) farm in Lucedale. I wanted to make sure I was ahead of things for when I went back, because I had a lot of plans for tomatoes during this, my first canning season.
I took that 25 lb. box, 4 lbs. of onions, some of the green bell peppers I picked that morning, and a bunch of other yummy stuff, and made my first-ever batch of canned spaghetti sauce. It took all day, but DANG, was it tasty.
Prep time: 1 1/2 hours +, Cook time: 5 hours + Total time: All day, Yield: 9 quarts / 18 pints
- 25 lbs. Roma tomatoes
- 4 green bell peppers, seeded and minced in the food processor
- 4 large onions, minced in the food processor
- 2 twelve oz. cans tomato paste
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 1/2 cup minced garlic (or less, if you’re not a garlic fiend like me – it will get stronger as it sits)
- 2 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
- 1 tbsp. dried basil
- 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup Italian Red Wine
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Enough lemon juice for 2 tbsp. for each quart jar and 1 tbsp. for each pint jar
- Blanch and peel your tomatoes. When you have finished all of them, core and quarter them.
- Heat your oil in a large stockpot. Use the food processor to pulse your green bell peppers and onions in small batches until finely chopped; add these to the stockpot along with the juices generated in the processing. Sauté for a few minutes, until your onions start to get translucent.
- Ad your tomatoes to the stockpot, and crush with a potato masher. Stir in all of the ingredients EXCEPT the lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 4-5 hours, stirring from time-to-time.
- Start your hot water bath canner and put your jars into it to heat.
- Fish out your bay leaves (remember how many you put in and count!).
- Add 2 tbsp. lemon juice to each of your hot quart jars (or 1 tbsp. to each of your hot pint jars). Ladle your hot sauce into jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove the air bubbles from your jars and adjust headspace again. Wipe the rims clean and apply your lids and bands.
- Process your jars in your water bath canner (make sure they’re completely covered with water!). Bring water to a boil and THEN set the timer for 40 minutes (35 minutes for pint jars). Remove and cool without moving for 12+ hours. If in 12 hours, the jar is completely cool but has not successfully sealed, keep in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.
Note: Check Ball Canning Guide (or guide on your box of jars) for processing guidelines at your specific altitude.