Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Nana’s Basic Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce


  • 5 lbs tomatoes
  • Boiling water canner
  • Canning jars
  • canning funnel
  • rubber spatula
  • jar lifter and/or tongs

Tomato Sauce Directions

  1. Wash and cut up tomatoes, place in stainless steel saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Using a slotted spoon crush tomatoes to release juices. Boil until tomatoes are soft and then remove from heat.
  3. In batches, press tomatoes through a fine sieve (what my grandmother used) or a food mill (what I use) which removes the seeds and skin.
  4. Return the skinless, seedless tomatoes to the saucepan over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced to 1/2 for a nice medium thick sauce.

Preparing Cans Directions

  1. Meanwhile, you can be getting your cans ready - place cans on rack of boiling water canner, add water to until the pint jars are about 2/3rds full. Cover and bring to a simmer. This process kills any bacteria.
  2. In a small saucepan, place the lids - the flat, round piece, cover and bring to a simmer. The screw bands do not need to sterilized.

Canning Sauce Directions

  1. Now you are ready to start canning your sauce.
  2. One jar at a time, remove from canner, pouring hot water back into canner, place jar on flat heat-resistant surface.
  3. For a quart, add 1/2 tsp citric acid, then place funnel in jar, ladle sauce into jar leaving about a half inch of headspace, wipe the rim and threads with a paper towel. ( This is important to make sure vacuum seal can occur).
  4. Lift a hot lid with your tongs and place on jar and then screw the lid with your fingertips until tight. Place back in canner with tongs. Repeat until done.
  5. Cover all jars with additional water by an inch or so. Cover canner and bring to a boil. The boiling must be continuous and rapid for 40 minutes. Remove lid, let sit for about 5 minutes or so.
  6. Remove jars without tilting, place jars on a towel in a draft-free spot and allow to cool for 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.
  7. Invite friends as the process is fun but laborious. My grandmother used to say many hands make for light work. We didn't add seasoning as my grandmother liked to use the basic sauce as her blank canvas to embellish as she used it for different dishes.

Yield: 6 Jars

Categories: Heirloom Recipes

Tags: canning, tomatoes, sauce