Home Canned Pizza Sauce - From Fresh Tomatoes

Canning pizza sauce using fresh tomatoes and herbs is a simple way to have a delicious pizza sauce on hand for homemade pizza night.
A good pizza comes down to two things - the crust and the sauce! I'm still working on the perfect crispy crust, but for the sauce, I have that one down. Did you know that it's easy to make your own canned pizza sauce? Make up a batch, store it in the pantry, and you can make a delicious pizza at home for a fraction of the cost. The best part is that this recipe only calls for a handful of ingredients.  

Canning pizza sauce, marinara sauce, salsa and barbecue sauce is my easy way of preserving an abundance of fresh garden tomatoes, garlic, onions and herbs. No store-bought sauce can compare to the flavor of a home canned one. rely on those pantry items for several dishes, so I normally preserve enough of each to see us through the year. 

Typically, when we harvest fresh tomatoes from our garden, I will put some aside to make a few batches of salsa, but when the tomatoes really start coming in and there's more to deal with than I can handle, I normally freeze the majority of them. 

Each year I freeze about 40-50 pounds of garden tomatoes to save for marinara, pizza sauce and barbecue sauce. This normally happens in the heat of summer when it's too hot to can anything inside, so freezing the tomatoes to prepare sauces at a later date works best for me.    

To freeze tomatoes, just wash them after harvesting and cut an "x" at one end. Add them to gallon-sized zip lock bags, label and freeze. Cutting the ends off the tomatoes will help the skin just slide off when you thaw the tomatoes. Don't skip this tip when freezing tomatoes. Trust me you will thank me later.  

What you need to make this easy home canned pizza sauce 

  • 🍅 Fresh Tomatoes - preferably paste tomatoes (Amish paste, San Marzano or Roma)
  • 🍅 Tomato Paste - deepens the flavor, adds a touch of color and helps thicken the sauce. 
  • 🌱 Olive Oil - adds a glossy texture to the sauce and is used to sauté the onion, garlic and herbs to bloom and release flavor.  
  • 🧅 Onion and Garlic - when sautéed the onions release sugars to add sweetness and the garlic softens and the flavor mellows.   
  • 🌿 Seasonings: My seasonings of choice are Italian seasoning, and additional dried oregano, basil, parsley and 1 bay leaf. 
  • 🤎Sugar - I prefer to use brown sugar in my pizza and marinara sauce. 
  • 🧂 Salt - enhances the flavor and draws out moisture. 
  • 🍋 Citric acid or Lemon juice: tomatoes are a medium - acid food so adding lemon juice or citric acid increases the acidity of the tomatoes and lowers the PH which ensures safe acidity for water bath canning. (this step is only added to the jars BEFORE the pizza sauce is added).  
  • 🥫 Canning supplies: Half-pint size canning jars, lids, rings, hot water bath canner and jar lifter. 

Wash the tomatoes and coarsely dice. I cut mine in half and and use my food processor to dice the tomatoes. 

Add the diced tomatoes to a strainer to strain off any liquid, set aside. This step is mostly for tomatoes that have been previously frozen.  

If I'm in a hurry I normally just add all of the ingredients to a large pot and start cooking the sauce, but I highly recommend sautéing the onion, garlic and herbs first for best flavor. When you sauté the mixture first it allows the herbs to bloom and draw out all of their flavors. To the sautéed mixture, add the strained tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt and bay leaf.

Stir to combine (taste and add additional seasoning if needed). Turn the heat to low and bring the mixture to a light boil. Allow the sauce to simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour partially covered. While the pizza sauce is cooking, wash and sterilize 6 half - pint size jars, lids and rings. Prepare your hot water bath canner according to your canners instructions. 

When done, remove the sauce from the heat, remove and discard the bay leaf and slowly and carefully use an immersion or stick blender to blend the pizza sauce to a smooth consistency. Be careful because the sauce will be hot. 

You want the sauce nice and smooth not chunky.

Gather your sterilized half -pint jars and add the citric acid or lemon juice to each jar. Ladle the pizza sauce into each jar, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims of the jar with a paper towel dipped into white vinegar to remove any residue and to ensure a clean seal. Add one lid and one ring to each jar and tighten to finger tip tight. Add the jars to the canner and lower the rack into the canner. Add additional water if the jars are not covered. You need at least 1 inch of water over the jars.

Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat to a low boil. Cover the canner pot and process the half-pint jars for 15 minutes. When the processing time is complete, turn the canner off, keep the lid on and leave the jars in the canner for an additional 5 minutes. 

Using a jar lifter, carefully lift the jars out of the canner. 

Place the jars on a counter covered with a mat or dish towel. You will start to hear each of the jars pop which means the jars are sealing. 🙋. Leave the jars undisturbed for at least 12 hours. After 12 hours, remove the rings, make sure the jars have sealed and then wash the jars and rims. 

Store the pizza sauce in a cool pantry and use within 18 months. 

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