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Spaghetti Sauce 

Canning Recipe

Canned Spaghetti Sauce

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The exquisite and mouthwatering flavor of this homemade spaghetti sauce is truly exceptional! With a track record of over two decades, I've honed and refined this recipe to perfection. Whether you opt to freeze it or preserve it in jars, prepare it effortlessly using an instant pot, stovetop, or even a crockpot - each method yielding exceptional results. This homemade spaghetti sauce boasts both simplicity and scrumptiousness, rendering store-bought alternatives obsolete. Beyond the taste, the added benefit lies in the transparency of its ingredients. You have full awareness of what goes into your meal. Whether employing fresh garden tomatoes or opting for the convenience of canned, including organics, the outcome remains remarkable. Give it a chance, and I'm confident you won't look back.

You Will Need


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Canning Recipes

Approximate Processing Times for Pressure Canning:

  • Sea Level (0-1,000 feet):

    • Poultry, meats, and vegetables: 75-90 minutes

    • Low-acid vegetables (without meat): 20-40 minutes

  • 1,001-3,000 feet:

    • Poultry, meats, and vegetables: 75-90 minutes (increase pressure if necessary)

    • Low-acid vegetables (without meat): 20-40 minutes (increase pressure if necessary)

  • 3,001-6,000 feet:

    • Poultry, meats, and vegetables: 75-90 minutes (increase pressure further if necessary)

    • Low-acid vegetables (without meat): 20-40 minutes (increase pressure further if necessary)

Canning spaghetti sauce step-by-step instructions:



  1. Wash the tomatoes thoroughly. Remove stems and make a small 'X' shaped incision on the bottom of each tomato.

  2. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.

Blanching the Tomatoes:

  1. Prepare a bowl of ice water and keep it nearby.

  2. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower a few tomatoes at a time into the boiling water. Allow them to blanch for about 30 to 60 seconds, or until you notice the skins starting to loosen.

  3. Use the slotted spoon to immediately transfer the blanched tomatoes into the bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking process and helps to easily peel off the skins.

Peeling and Chopping:

  1. Once the blanched tomatoes are cool enough to handle, use your fingers or a paring knife to peel off the loosened skins.

  2. Cut the peeled tomatoes into halves or quarters, removing the core and any tough parts.

Cooking the Sauce:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the diced onion, bone broth, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, onion powder, bay leaves, onion flakes, salt, and pepper.

  2. Add the prepared tomatoes to the pot and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Allow the tomatoes to cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.

  3. Once the tomatoes have softened and the flavors are melded, remove the pot from heat.

Processing the Sauce:

  1. Set up your food mill over a clean pot or large bowl. Pass the cooked tomato mixture through the food mill to create a smooth sauce. Discard any remaining solids in the food mill.

      Return the smooth sauce to the cooking pot.

Adjusting Consistency and Flavor:

  1. Place the pot with the smooth sauce back on the stove over low heat. Stir in the tomato paste to thicken the sauce. Adjust the thickness to your preference by adding more paste if needed.

  2. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as desired. Simmer the sauce for an additional 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Canning the Sauce:

  1. While the sauce is simmering, prepare your canning jars by placing them in the water-bath canner filled with enough water to cover the jars. Bring the water to a simmer to sterilize the jars.

  2. Using tongs, carefully remove a sterilized jar from the canner, pouring out the water. Fill the jar with the hot spaghetti sauce, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp paper towel and vinegar to ensure a good seal.

  3. Place a lid on the jar and secure it with a ring, tightening it just until it's snug but not overly tight.

Load Jars into Canner: Using a jar lifter, carefully lower the filled jars into the simmering water in the pressure canner.

Close Canner Lid: Once all the jars are loaded into the canner, carefully close and lock the lid of the pressure canner according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Venting and Building Pressure: Allow steam to escape from the vent for about 10 minutes before closing the vent and building pressure. Follow your canner's instructions for building pressure based on whether you have a dial-gauge or weighted-gauge canner.

Processing Time: Once the canner reaches the appropriate pressure, start the processing time. For quart-sized jars of tomato and bone broth spaghetti sauce with meat, the processing time will be approximately 90 minutes at the specified pressure for your altitude.

Cooling and Opening Canner: After the processing time is complete, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to naturally decrease. Wait for the pressure to return to zero and the canner's lock to release before opening the lid.

Removing Jars: Using a jar lifter, carefully lift the jars out of the canner and place them on a towel or cooling rack. Leave them undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.

Check Seals: After the jars have cooled, check the seals by pressing down on the center of each lid. If the lid doesn't flex or pop, the jar has sealed properly. If a jar hasn't sealed, store it in the refrigerator and use its contents promptly.

Label and Store: Once sealed, label the jars with the contents and date. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Enjoying the Sauce:

  1. This homemade spaghetti sauce can be used in a variety of dishes, not just spaghetti! Use it in lasagna, pizza, or any other recipes that call for seasoned tomato sauce.

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Tomato Sauce Variations

Always use a pressure canner when canning anything with meats or low acid vegetables.

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce:

  • Roast 2-3 red bell peppers until charred. Remove the skins, seeds, and stems.

  • Blend the roasted red peppers with the tomato sauce for a smoky and slightly sweet flavor profile.

Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce:

  • Add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or chili powder for a spicy kick.

  • Enhance the heat by using spicy Italian sausage instead of regular sausage.

Mushroom and Herb Tomato Sauce:

  • Sauté 1 cup of sliced mushrooms in olive oil until they're golden brown and tender. Add them to the sauce.

  • Increase the Italian seasoning blend, oregano, and basil for an herbaceous twist.

Mediterranean Olive and Capers Sauce:

  • Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped Kalamata olives and 2 tablespoons of capers to the sauce for a tangy and briny flavor.

  • Reduce the salt slightly to balance the saltiness from the olives and capers.

Meaty Bolognese Sauce:

  • Brown 1 pound of ground beef or ground pork before adding the onions. Sauté until cooked through, then proceed with the recipe.

  • This hearty variation adds a rich meatiness to your sauce.

Herb-Infused Tomato Sauce:

  • Experiment with fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or marjoram to add layers of aromatic flavors.

  • Simmer the herbs with the sauce for a few extra minutes before removing them.

Garden Veggie Tomato Sauce:

  • Dice and sauté an assortment of garden vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and carrots. Add them to the sauce for added texture and nutrients.

Chunky Tomato and Meatball Sauce:

  • Make small meatballs using a mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage. Brown them in a separate pan before adding to the sauce.

  • This variation offers hearty meatballs alongside the tomato sauce.

Lemon Zest and Herb Tomato Sauce:

  • Add the zest of one lemon to the sauce for a citrusy brightness.

  • Amp up the fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme for a vibrant herbaceous flavor.


Feel free to mix and match these variations, adjusting the ingredients to your taste preferences. Each twist can bring new dimensions to your homemade spaghetti sauce, making it a versatile staple in your kitchen.

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Canning FAQs

What is Pressure Canning? Pressure canning is a preservation method used to safely preserve low-acid foods, such as vegetables, meats, and sauces, by using a specialized pressure canner. The canner raises the internal temperature above boiling, destroying harmful microorganisms and ensuring the safety and shelf stability of canned foods.

Why Do I Need a Pressure Canner for Low-Acid Foods? Low-acid foods have a pH level above 4.6, which allows harmful bacteria like Clostridium botulinum to thrive. Pressure canners create higher temperatures than water bath canners, ensuring that low-acid foods are processed at temperatures that eliminate these dangerous microorganisms.

Can I Use My Pressure Cooker for Canning? No, pressure cookers are not recommended for canning. Pressure canners and pressure cookers are distinct devices. Pressure canners are specifically designed to reach and maintain the necessary high temperatures for safe canning. Using a pressure cooker for canning can result in underprocessed and unsafe food.

How Do I Know if My Jars Sealed Properly? After the jars have cooled for 12 to 24 hours, gently press the center of each lid. If the lid is firm and doesn't flex or pop, the jar has sealed properly. If the lid moves or makes a clicking sound, the jar did not seal. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

What Should I Do If a Jar Didn't Seal? If a jar didn't seal, refrigerate its contents and use them within a few days. Alternatively, you can reprocess the contents using a new lid and proper processing time. Make sure to follow the recommended guidelines for reprocessing.

Can I Adjust Processing Times Based on Jar Size? Processing times are determined by factors such as the type of food, jar size, altitude, and pressure canner used. It's crucial to follow tested recipes from reputable sources and adhere to the specified processing times for the jar size mentioned in the recipe.

How Do I Adjust Processing Times for Altitude? Higher altitudes require adjustments to processing times and pressure settings. Consult an altitude-adjustment chart provided by your canner's manufacturer or a trusted canning resource. Typically, you increase pressure by 1 pound for every 2,000 feet above sea level.

What Are Some Signs of Spoiled Canned Food? Signs of spoiled canned food include off-putting odors, unusual colors, bubbling, mold growth, and spurting liquid when the jar is opened. If you encounter any of these signs, discard the contents and do not consume them.

Can I Reuse Canning Lids? No, canning lids are designed for one-time use. The sealing compound can become compromised after the initial use, leading to potential sealing failures during subsequent uses. It's recommended to use new, unused lids for each canning session.

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