Monday, September 3, 2012

Making Spaghetti Sauce

We have always put out a big garden.
To give you an idea of just how big, 
 a few years ago there was 80+ tomato plants.
Don't ask me why, it was a year that I completely 
lost track of what I had bought and before 
I knew it snow-balled into this 
humungous amount.

Two years ago our garden looked like this.
The massive amount of tomato plants is on 
the far left, 2 and a half rows of them.
This was what it looked like before my husband
became sick. Last year he tried to plant his garden.
It was not a good year for him.
I had to try and take care of it all by myself.
I told him no more big gardens. 
So this year we put out 18 tomato plants.
I know that still sounds like a lot, but he wanted 
a couple varieties and they come in a six-pack.
I wanted Roma plants and that is what
I use to make my spaghetti sauce, so 
another 6 plants were added.

I didn't take a pic of this year's garden, 
mainly because the 18 tomato plants are not 
much to look at in a huge weed patch.
My hubby went out on Wednesday and brought 
in about 6 tomatoes and said that was all he could find.
I knew better, the man is color blind and always 
misses some. On Thursday while taking a break from
mowing grass I walked out there and yep, he had 
missed some alright. I just about filled the bucket.

I swore this spring I was not going to can or freeze 
one single tomato or anything else. I have 
spent every summer for 41 years doing this in 
practically all my spare time. 
But I am a person who does not believe in waste.
So out comes the Spaghetti Sauce recipe and 
yesterday I started in,
Now I will get to the point and share my recipe.
Make sure you read the entire recipe before 
attempting to make.


1/2 bushel of Roma tomatoes, or other varieties
8 small cans of tomato paste
3 pounds of cooking onions
6 hot banana peppers
3 garlic bulbs
1/2 pint (1 cup) olive oil (can use any cooking oil, 
this ingredient is an optional, I use it)
1/2 cup salt
1 to 3 teaspoons oregano (I use 3)
1 to 3 teaspoons basil (I use 3)
1 cup sugar (optional)

The gist of it is you wash, core, remove blemishes 
and quarter all tomatoes.
 Peel, wash onions, chop into bite-sized pieces, add to pot.
Wash, stem and remove seeds on peppers (be sure to 
wear gloves to prevent burning yourself with 
the seeds). Chop into bite-sized pieces and add to pot.
Peel garlic, add to pot.
Add salt, oregano, and basil 
Add oil if you plan to include it (I do).


I omit the sugar in my batches.

Cook sauce until it is thick. I cook mine on 
low heat, about 200 degrees for about 6 hours, 
stirring every 1-2 hours with wooden spoon,
and then reduce heat 
to 175 degrees to simmer over night. 
As long as you have your heat lowered at night 
there is no need to stir. It will simmer. When you 
lift the lid to stir there will be condensation on the 
lid, let that drip off of the lid into the sink. As the 
water evaporates the sauce will thicken. 
In the morning this would be the time to 
add the sugar if you want.
Continue cooking on low heat for 20 minutes 
and stir to prevent scorching.
 Ladle the sauce into blender 
and pulse it about 5-10 times 
to chop up the chunks.
Once that is done put the sauce through 
the food mill. 
 At this point it is ready for canning.

To can :: ladle hot sauce into clean hot jars, 
wipe rim, apply clean hot lids and rings.
Adjust rings.
Process in pressure canner for the 20 minutes.

 To freeze :: allow sauce to cool, ladle into freezer 

containers, cover with lid and label. Freeze.

Below I have added photos of the process.
If you have any questions just ask and I will 
be more than happy to answer them.

I use a roaster because you can control the temp and it doesn't scorch sauce.

All the ingredients, you can substitute dried garlic if you need to.

Washed, cored and chopped tomatoes.

Peeled, washed and chopped onions.

Washed and seeded banana peppers using gloves.

Adding the tomato paste.

Adding salt, oregano, basil, garlic and oil. Do NOT add sugar at this time.

Start out at 200 degrees for about 6 hrs., remember to stir. Lower to 175 to simmer overnight.

Keep covered, remove condensation each time you stir the pot.

After 6 hours it will cook down and look like this.

It should look like this after simmering all night. Stir in sugar if you plan to add it. Cook an additional 20 minutes.

Ladle sauce into blender and pulse about 5-10 times. Hold lid down, contents will be hot.

Transfer pulsed sauce to food mill.

End product.

I use a towel to cover the open side of the pot to prevent splashing of sauce.

Waste, after turning food mill may have 1-2 cups to pitch out.

Be sure to scrape the bottom of the mill with spatula. Sauce is thickened.

Finished sauce, ready to be canned or frozen.

Nice and thick and oh, so good!

I froze this batch. After it cooled I ladled it into containers, lids on and labeled.

I got 9 quart freezer containers full and 1
one and a half pint container. Yield may vary slightly 
depending on having number of tomatoes and 
how much time you cook the sauce to thicken it.
This recipe freezes well. I have done it both ways 
and no one can tell the difference. The freezing 
method is less fuss and faster. 
Years ago I added the sugar and scorched 
the entire pot. I felt like sitting and crying.
All that work went in the compost.
Then years later I was diagnosed with diabetes 
and so I omitted the sugar, and frankly in my 
opinion, it is healthier and just as tasty. 
My family has eaten this for years and they are 
so spoiled they will no longer eat the Ragu, Prego 
or any other brand. It is great alone with 
pasta or with a meat sauce
with mushrooms added, or of course with meat 
balls. It can be used for lasagna, stuffed shells, or 
depending on how thick you have cooked it, 
it can be used as a pizza sauce. 
When it is cooking your house will smell 
wonderful, like an Italian Restaurant.
I might add that if you like your sauce a bit chunky 
then you can omit the food mill step. I do it 
because it helps remove the seeds, and pieces of 
tomato peel, also bits of peppers and onions. 
Usually I get anywhere from 1-2 cups of waste 
when I do the food mill method, but the sauce 
will also be a bit thicker too because the bulk is 
broken down when pushed through the mill.


  1. You made a very nice, easy to follow tutorial! Makes me wish I had some tomatoes-enjoy:@)

  2. Wow, what a work of art this post is! I can appreciate all the effort that went in to the words and all the beautiful photos! I'm impressed with the process! Wow. I have to tell you I started giggling about your hubby missing the bucket full of tomatoes. I'm married to one JUST LIKE THAT...but he's not color blind. When he tries to find something, doesn't see it and solicits my aid - I always ask him if he's looking with his eyes open!!?! LOL

    Is your hubby's health any better?

    Thanks again for the wonderful recipe and all the great photos!!!

    Hugs, Annette

  3. Susanne, I could jump right into the screen and grab a big batch of that sauce. It looks fantastic and I consider myself a bit of a sauce expert, it looks like a lot of work but your family loves it so it is worth it.
    Hugs to you,

  4. Okay, Superwoman, you listen here. I would never in a million years go through all this crap in the kitchen, but I would so love to have some "real" fresh spaghetti sauce. So here's the deal...could we maybe do a little swap just between us? You send me a container of your spaghetti sauce and I'll send you something I've crocheted? I'll let you pick from several things I have left that was in my etsy shop before I closed it. It's all nice crap. If you're interested, email me and I'll show you what I've got to offer you. Do you have my email?

  5. Wow. Now, that is some special sauce. I've always wanted to do this. But look at all that equipment. Maybe next year. This year it was veggie soup with mine. We didn't have a lot with only about 6 plants and all the drought. But, enough for soup this fall.

  6. Found your blog thru a mutual follower! Your spagetti sauce looks "heavenly". I've never made it from scratch although I've made other things. Loved looking around!


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