cooking · Gardening · Preserving

Canning 101: Basil Tomato Pasta Sauce

Last year I made this recipe for the first time, and oh…6 pint jars was NOT enough. It isn’t a quick recipe by any means, but it is so worth it. The flavors are so fresh. You will never want to buy commercial pasta sauce after you make and try this. So far I have canned 2 batches, with only 14 jars. When the big harvest our tomatoes comes in, we will do a couple more batches.


Basil Tomato Pasta Sauce


  • 12 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 7 Tbsp lemon juice, bottled only


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Rinse tomatoes well. Fill a basin or bowl with ice water, set aside. Once water is boiling, add in a few tomatoes, let simmer for 1 minute. If your tomatoes are super ripe. Remove from water, put into ice water. Repeat till done.

Once tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, make an “X” on the bottom of each, and cut off the top part, slip off skins. Some you might need a paring knife to encourage. Core, discarding. Add 3-4 tomatoes to a food processor, pulsing until chopped up. Add tomatoes to a large stainless steel or nonstick stock pot. Discard tomato boiling water.

Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar, and black pepper to tomatoes in pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium, simmer uncovered for 80 minutes, stirring often.

Take off heat stir in basil.

Meanwhile, bring a large canning pot half full of water to a boil. Add in 6 to 7 pint mason jars while doing this to sterilize them. Sterilize a ladle, funnel and chopsticks or similar, for removing air bubbles (dip them into boiling water). Lay out a clean kitchen towel, place drained jars on it.

Place 1 Tbsp lemon juice into each jar, ladle in hot sauce, leaving a ½” headspace. Run a chopstick or air bubble removing tool inside each jar. Add more sauce if needed. Wipe off rims with a new, dampened, paper towel. Place a new canning lid on, screw a band on finger tight.

Place the jars in canner, lower into water, put on lid. Bring back to a boil, then process for 35 minutes (start timer after it returns to a boil). Take off heat, remove jars and place on a cooling rack covered with a clean towel. Let cool fully, checking that the lids stay flat. If any pop up, place in refrigerator, use within a couple of days.

Store for up to a year in a cool area.

Makes about 7 pints (if you have any left over, just stash it in the refrigerator and use it within a few days.

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