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My favorite tomato sauce

written by

Aliceson Bales

posted on

September 1, 2023

This post may contain affiliate links.

Do you have tomatoes? If you’re like me you have tomatoes coming out your ears right now! (Please know I’m not complaining! I’m so thankful for our bountiful produce this growing season.)

In this blog post I’m going to share with you my very favorite recipe for canning tomatoes. Over the years I have preserved a lot of tomatoes - I’m in my twenty-fifth year of marriage and we’ve always had a garden so I have preserved tomatoes every way possible. I’ve canned them. I’ve dried them. I’ve dehydrated them. I’ve frozen them. I’ve tried tomato paste (didn’t have the patience on that one, honestly). I’ve canned them as a spicy vegetable drink. I’ve canned them as a spicy Bloody Mary mix. I’ve made salsa. I’ve made pasta sauce. A lot of pasta sauces. So when I say this is my favorite, please know I’ve tried any and all I’ve seen. And this is the one I make 100% of the time now. I don’t even bother with any others. 

I’m going to share my recipe with you AND a short cut that will SAVE your life in the summer when you’re working up tomatoes. It is sneaky and some of you may not like it, but I’m going to share it here. This is the trick - I quarter my tomatoes and run them through the juicer. WOOHOO!!!! You read that right. I don’t cross cut and boil for a minute. I don’t blanch. I don’t skin. I juice. And then I add 1/2 cup of the pulp into the entire tomato juice mix. That will save your life. I promise. And I've been through MANY juicers in my life. Here's the one I have used for the past five years. It's not the most expensive or the slickest-looking, but you know what I always say - the most expensive is not always the best. This juicer has actually outlasted several other (ahem) more expensive and sleeker juicers on the market.


So I know some of you will say, “But doesn’t that make it too runny?” If you think it does just add some tomato paste when you’re preparing the meal in the winter. (Come on, you know you have tomato paste! Remember that tube you bought for the recipe that called for a teaspoon and you put the rest in the fridge? It‘s time to get that tube back out and use it!!! Just put as much in as you need to get it to a thicker consistency you need for your family). Another trick is to stir some heavy cream into the sauce while it heats up and your pasta is cooking. . . . 

Aliceson’s favorite tomato sauce

However you get your tomato juice, get 10 cups of juice (see my note above. So I would use 10 cups of juice and 1/2 cup of pulp)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

2 cups fresh basil leaves, julienned

1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon for each jar of lemon juice

Combine the tomato juice, vinegar, salt and sugar and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Then cut off the heat and stir in the spices. 

Add the lemon juice for each jar and process as directed on your canner instructions.

When you prepare this in the winter you might like to add a bit of freshly sliced garlic to the sauce. I don’t put it in when I’m canning because it tends to overpower the other herbs in my opinion. 

I serve this with different kinds of pasta and in pasta bakes just as is or I add our sweet Italian sausage and/or veggies. It goes nicely with every pasta and every meat I’ve used. (I have done sweet Italian, hot Italian, beef and chicken breast.)

I hope you’ll try the recipe and let me know how much your people love it. We really do go ga-ga for this all winter long.


Tomato sauce

Canning tomatoes

Easy canning


Easy preserving


Fresh tomatoes




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