What better way to capture the flavor of summer (to be enjoyed months from now as the weather starts to cool down) than with your own fresh tomato sauce, made with plump, peak season maters? Jarred, grocery store brands simply cannot compare to the vibrant tomato flavor this sauce delivers. The recipe here is for canning a very basic salted sauce—which can be used as the base for pasta/pizza sauce or tomato soup—as you’ll want to wait until you’re ready to pop the seal and cook with your sauce to add in aromatics and seasonings like garlic, onion, and herbs. It’s important that you closely follow the recommended directions for canning tomato products in order to avoid the risk of botulism. You can find citric acid on the baking aisle or where canning products are located in the grocery store; however, you can also substitute bottled lemon juice in place of the citric acid (1 tablespoon of juice per pint-sized jar). 


Credit: Kelsey Hansen; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey and Ivy Odom; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary

1 day 3 hrs 50 mins
1 hr
Makes 7 to 8 pt.


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Core tomatoes with a paring knife, and score the bottom of each tomato with an “X,” cutting just through the skin but not into the flesh. Place 5 or 6 tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon, and immediately plunge into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove tomatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining tomatoes. Peel and discard skins from tomatoes, and coarsely chop.

  • Process tomatoes, in batches, in a food processor until blended and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes (for a chunkier sauce, do not process until completely smooth). Transfer each batch to a 10-quart stockpot.

  • Bring processed tomatoes and salt to a boil over medium-high; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half or to desired consistency, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

  • Place 1/4 teaspoon citric acid in each hot, sterilized jar. Ladle mixture into jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Center lids on jars, apply bands, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jars in boiling-water canner. Process as directed for 35 minutes.