Classic Marinara

This time of year for canning is a bit odd. While it has cooled off enough that I’m not miserable canning and my favorite fruit and vegetable is in season (TOMATOES!), I’m losing my canning drive and inspiration. The first time I made Ball Canning’s basil-garlic tomato sauce, I was excited that it didn’t require pre-peeling all the tomatoes and figured I could knock it out in a few hours. I rapidly came to the realization that there was no way my largest pot could hold 20 pounds of tomatoes. I dirtied every pot, liberally smearing my white counters and stove top with tomatoes, as I tried to cook down all those tomatoes, and ensure equal distribution of the ingredients. I gave up after a few hours, packed everything away in my fridge, and decided to start again the next afternoon. Day 2 showed me that putting tomato puree through a colander was an impossible task, but pureeing whole tomatoes with the skins on left the sauce bitter. I spent an hour burning my finger tips as I fished peels out of sauce and pureed the denuded fruit in batches. The final defeat was the fact that the recipe says it made 7 1/2 pints, when in fact it made 7 1/2 quarts. Slight difference there, y’all.

Anyways, my disaster is to your benefit. This version might take a little more initial prep, but is a lot less frustrating in the long run. And this winter when you pull out a jar of farm fresh tomato sauce on a cold night, you’ll be glad you did this. When you’re ready to eat, add a pinch a sugar before you heat. And as always, follow standard canning procedures for preparing jars and lids.

Classic Marinara

  • 10 lbs Roma or San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 small)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 tbsp commercial lemon juice, divided
  • 4 tsp salt, divided
  • 4 quart canning jars OR 8 pint canning jars, with lids and rings
  1. Working in small batches (~2 lbs), drop tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer to a bowl of ice water.
  2. Over a trash bowl, pull off tomato skins and squeeze out seeds,then set aside tomatoes.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonreactive pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook until translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Puree sauce in batches, return to the pot and bring back to a simmer.
  6. Transfer marinara to prepared jars, add 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt to each pint jar (2 tbsp and 1 tsp respectively for quarts), wipe off rims, and close off with prepared lids and rings.
  7. Process in a hot water bath for 30 minutes for pints, 45 for quarts.
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