My cupboards are generally stocked with homemade, canned marinara sauce. It makes my life sooooo much easier on busy nights to pop open a jar, throw it in with some pasta and call it dinner. The marinara sauce I make is also great on pizzas, which we have about once a week. It takes time and love, but pays off big time come winter.
The recipe is featured in my book Modern Homestead, but I wanted to post the actual recipe here so everyone can enjoy. I know we are all looking for new recipes, especially at this time of year when the harvest is coming to a close. It has a ton of familiar ingredients that creates a rich, complex, and slightly sweet sauce.
Also, you might need to work between two stockpots to fit everything, since this makes about seven finished quarts. Just divide the ingredients in two among your stock pots.
- 30 pounds tomatoes
- 4 onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 c. dried basil
- 1 c. honey (use less based on your sweet preference)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 T. dried oregano, parsley, thyme
- 3 T. salt
- 2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 7 tsp. lemon juice
Step 1: Peel and core the tomatoes. That means working in batches to drop them boiling water for about 30 seconds to loosen the skin, then plunge in ice cold water. The skin should peel off easily. Blend the tomatoes to make a puree.
Step 2: Ladle some puree into your stock pot and dump in the onions and garlic. Saute for about five minutes, then add everything else except the lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
Step 3: Simmer the sauce until it reaches a consistency you like. Personally, I like a thick sauce, so it takes me a couple hours to get it simmered down enough. I usually watch a movie or do some big house chores in the meantime, checking on it to stir occasionally. As it gets real thick, watch it closely so the bottom doesn’t burn.
Step 4: Add 1 tsp. lemon juice to each of your sterilized quart jars. Then add the sauce leaving about one inch of headspace. Clean the rims, adjust the two-piece caps and place in the hot-water bath canner. Process the quarts for 45 minutes.
You might end up with enough leftover sauce to can up some pints. Just use 1/2 tsp. lemon juice in those and 1/2 inch of headspace. Pints can be a nice size for households with one or two people. It’s also a good size when you just need enough for pizza, rather than a big pasta dish.
It takes time to make a good sauce, so plan accordingly. But the payoff is rich – the hard work is all done ahead of time and the end product is delicious. Hope you enjoy and happy canning!