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Basic Tomato Sauce Recipe

(recipe, Jennifer Savage)

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  1. 35 to 40 lb. sauce tomatoes
  2. ½ cup olive oil
  3. 6 large onions, chopped
  4. 12 (or more) garlic cloves, crushed
  5. 6 to 8 peppers (sweet or hot, depending on preference), chopped
  6. ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  7. ¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
  8. 6 bay leaves
  9. 2 to 3 tsp. dried sage
  10. ¼ cup salt
  11. 12 oz. tomato paste
  12. ½ cup red wine
  13. Black pepper to taste
  14. Crushed red pepper to taste


  1. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water. Remove tomatoes from water; peel, then crush tomatoes into a large stockpot. Add three 6-ounce cans of tomato paste. Simmer over low heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté all remaining ingredients except wine. When onions are soft, add skillet mixture to tomatoes. Stir in wine.
  3. Check sauce: Is it too thin (needs more paste) or too thick (needs more water)? Does it need more salt, more basil, more oregano? Spice to taste and let simmer on low (stirring often enough to prevent sticking) for an hour to two hours. Taste occasionally.
  4. While sauce simmers, prepare 8 quart-sized canning jars (including lids and bands) by washing them in hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry. Fill water-bath canner (or large stockpot) with water to a height that will cover the filled jars with about half an inch of water. Set water to boil.
  5. When sauce is ready, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar. Ladle hot sauce into prepared jars, leaving a quarter-inch of room between the top of the sauce and the top of the jar. Wipe clean the rim on top of each jar to allow for a tight seal. Place thin metal lids onto jars and tighten the metal bands around the tops for a snug (not tight) fit.
  6. Place jars in rack of water-bath canner (or stockpot) and lower into boiling water. Put lid on canner (or pot) and start a timer. Simmer 40 minutes for quart-sized jars.
  7. Remove jars from water and let cool on a towel. The jars will be very hot. As jars seal, you’ll hear a popping sound.


Read Jennifer Savage's feature about home canning.