canned tomato sauce with basil and garlic

When I think about canning I want to make things that I'll use year round.  I want staples that I can go to that'll make pasta sauce, chili and stuffed peppers that much more delicious.  I want to make a recipe that tastes amazing in large part because the tomatoes used in it were fresh in the summer then preserved.

Although I did can some tomatoes last summer I ended up not using them as often as I thought I would.  I still found myself going to the store for diced tomatoes here and there when I should have been in the mindset to use my canned tomatoes and just crush them into the recipe.  Canning fail.

So, this year I decided to make some sauce.  It was an all day affair, let me tell you, but worth it in the end.  I looked to the Ball website for canning recipes and used their recipe for tomato sauce with basil and garlic.  You can see the original recipe here.  

I did tweak it some.  I didn't strain the sauce but rather pureed it in the Vitamix which really did away with any sense of skin or seed that would offend anyone.  

We ended up using a pint already and added in some tomato paste to thicken it and a few squirts of gourmet garden's italian herbs.  Any fresh or dried vegetable additions would work though.  

Ingredients You'll Need:

  • 20 lb tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon per pint glass jar of citric acid or 1 Tbs. bottled lemon juice per pint jar.  Use 1/2 teaspoon citric acid or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice for quarts.
1.  Prepare your water bath and sterilize your jars, lids, and rings.

2.  Wash tomatoes and core.  Cut into quarters and set aside.

3.  Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent then add in the tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4.  Puree the mixture in a food processor or good blender, working in batches and return the sauce to a pot.  Add in the basil and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and allow it to reduce some.  

5.  Prepare your jars, adding citric acid or lemon juice to the bottom of them then laddeling in your sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Wipe the rim and center the hot lid onto the jar.  Apply the ban to figertip tight and process the jars for 35 minutes for pints or 85 for quarts.

6.  Remove the jars once processed and allow to cool on a dish cloth for 24 hours.  Check the seal.  

Always refer to official canning sites like the Ball site when canning.  I did 85 minutes for the quart because that's what a canned tomato recipe called for.  If the seal doesn't take to the best of my knowledge you can put that sauce in the fridge and eat it within the week.

Enjoy your sauce!


  1. Check your times again--no tomato sauce takes 85 minutes. The original recipe calls for 35 minutes for pint jars, so quarts would take around 45-50 minutes at the very most. Also, you should store your jars with the bands off.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Virginia! Good to know!