How To Make (and Can) Spaghetti Sauce In Bulk — Take 2

I’d love to have fresh tomatoes available year-round. I’d love to be able to make my tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes. I’d also love to have a pony for my birthday. You think I’m getting what I want?

So, just like last fall, I made another big batch from canned tomatoes. And tweaked the recipe a bit.


giant can crushed tomatoes (106 ounces)
7 heads garlic
2 large onions (between baseball and softball size)
10 tablespoons (2/3 cup) basil pesto
2 tablespoons dry oregano
2 tablespoons dry marjoram
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup sugar
extra virgin olive oil


Peel all the garlic. You can use the method I showed last time I did a big batch of sauce, or the method below. (If you can’t see the video in your email, come see it at the blog.)

Once it’s all peeled, mince it in a food processor.

Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. While the garlic starts to cook, dice the onions and add them to the pot.

Stir frequently until the onions are translucent and the garlic starts to get a little darker. Then add the tomatoes, and stir the onion and garlic up from the bottom.

Add the pesto, oregano and marjoram and stir.

This doesn’t look very appetizing just now. But don’t worry, we’ll fix that.

Put the lid on the pot and simmer over low heat for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.

Oops, forgot to add the sugar.

Once the sauce is thoroughly heated through, process it with an immersion blender (also know as a stick blender).

I’ve seen people scoop their sauce into regular blenders and process it in multiple batches. What a pain in the neck. You can get a stick blender for under $20, and it’s totally worth it.

Until you’ve processed it, you won’t know if you’ve reduced the sauce too much. If it’s too thick, add water and heat it through again. After an hour of simmering, I needed to add 3-4 cups of water. (No, I don’t have a rust problem. I used the empty tomato can to get the water.)

Once you’re done cooking and ready to start canning, arrange the sterilized jars as close as you can to the pot with the sauce.

Using your canning funnel — and seriously, don’t try this without one — fill all the jars to the bottom of the threads. (Technically it’s supposed to be 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch, but I’m not getting out a ruler for this.)

Wipe the rims to make sure there’s no sauce on them, and add the lids and rings.

Fill your canning pot with water and lower the jars in. You can do this without a special pot, like I did last time. But the right stuff makes it so much easier.

Put the lid on and bring to a boil for 35-40 minutes. Check every so often to make sure the water is an inch deep over the lids. Add more if you need it.

Remove the jars from the pot. There’s a special tool that makes this really easy, even if the jars are down in the water. I don’t have one. But now that I have this handy-dandy rack that lifts up and hangs on the rim of the pot, I don’t need it.

Set the jars on a towel to cool overnight.

Now, that should be the end of this. But it’s not. I had more sauce left. Enough for two more pints and a quart. (Yes, that would be four pints, but I ran out of pint jars.)

I loaded up another batch and started boiling them. Then sat down in front of the TV. And fell asleep. Oops.

I woke up three hours later to the smell of tomato sauce. “Hmm, that’s odd. Why does it still smell like … uh oh.”

There was still enough water to cover the pint jars, but the quart jar was sticking out and sauce was oozing out from under the rim. I got everything off the heat and out of the water and left it to deal with in the morning.

Next day, all the jars had sealed just fine. Even the quart jar with the overflow. But just to be safe, I opened it that night and made pasta.

So that’s the last lesson for today: When you’ve got something on the stove, always set a timer.