Category Archives: Canning

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Here is my friend’s famous pizza sauce recipe, as per yesterday’s  request by “fellow midwesterner”!

First of all, to make pizza sauce, we start with tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce (taken from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving)

  • 45 lbs of tomatoes (paste tomatoes thicken up the best)
  • bottled lemon juice

Wash tomatoes; drain. Remove core and blossom. Cut into quarters; simmer 20 minutes in a large sauce pot, stirring occasionally. Puree tomatoes in a food processor or food mill.  Strain puree to remove seeds and peels.  Cook pulp in a large, uncovered sauce pot over med-high heat until sauce thickens, stirring to prevent sticking. Reduce volume by one-half. Add 1 TB bottled lemon juice to each pint jar, 2 TB to each quart jar. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 35 minutes, quarts 40 minutes, in a boiling water canner.

Okay. Once you have your tomato sauce, you can use it to make pizza sauce for the freezer! That recipe follows, but first:

***Be sure to read this paragraph!***

Notice that this pizza sauce recipe can be made with either store-bought tomato sauce plus tomato paste, or home-canned tomato sauce. If you use home-canned, make sure your home-canned sauce is thick by using paste tomatoes, and/or lengthening the time you cook your tomatoes before canning. The longer they cook, the thicker it gets, but your volume is also reduced.  So the following recipe assumes you will use store-bought sauce and tomato paste. If you use home-canned, thicker sauce, then you can eliminate buying tomato paste from the grocery store and use approx. 41 oz of home-canned sauce. If your home-canned sauce is not very thick, you may add the 12 oz can of tomato paste to it to thicken it, and keep to the 29 oz of tomato sauce. Hopefully that was clearer than mud.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

  • 1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 TB Italian seasoning
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp fennel seed, crushed (optional–fennel seed has a unique taste, we don’t like it much)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • sugar to taste (start tasting at 1-2 tsp)

We also add a little marjoram, basil, thyme–all of these taste good in Italian dishes. Play around with the spices that your family appreciates, and leave out the ones they don’t.  You may also leave the sugar out. We think it plays down the tangy-ness of the sauce.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine tomato sauce and paste. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cool. Pour into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Freeze for up to 12 months.

This recipe also may be canned following the Ball’s Blue Book of Preserving directions for “seasoned tomato sauce” which says to add 1 TB bottled lemon juice to each pint jar, 2 TB bottled lemon juice to each quart jar. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 35 minutes, quarts 40 minutes in a boiling water canner.

This super yummy pizza sauce is extremely good with the following recipes:

Homemade Pizza Pockets

Homemade Pizza Dough

Bread and Butter Pickles

There’s something spiritual about the canning process. The age-old way of a woman providing for her family. Moving the rugs aside. Donning an apron. Washing glass jars in hot sudsy water. Heating up the canner–and the kitchen with all that steam rising. Rejoicing in an abundance of jars and rings that never need replaced if she’s careful. Knowing she can pronounce every ingredient going into these containers, and that the contents are organic, garden fresh and top treats for the tastebuds!

Don’t you just love pictures of pantries lined with quart and pint jars full of produce?

This weekend I had 8 lbs of fresh cucumbers and 4 lbs of yellow onions begging to be preserved. I obliged them with my favorite pickle recipe. Bread and Butters! Mmm. Sure to please my picky family–half of us prefer dill, half prefer sweet. This recipe is a good “in-between”.

Bread and Butter Pickles
(taken from Ball Blue Book of Preserving)

4 pounds 4 to 6 inch cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 pound onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 cups apple cider vinegar

1. Combine cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl, layering with salt.
2. Cover with ice cubes and let stand 1 1/2 hours.
3. Drain, rinse, drain again.
4. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil.
5. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil.
6. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
7. Remove air bubbles. Put on 2-piece lids.
8. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
9. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for flavors to develop.
* Makes about 7 pints

Now that school has started, time for canning will be at a premium. What have you all been enjoying about this time of year?

Homemade Salsa and Canning Tips

It’s canning time again! A good friend from church passed along two big bags of tomatoes, so this morning I lugged my canning supplies down from attic storage and like a kid on Christmas morning, I dug into it. Exciting to find extra boxes of canning flats (lids) which means I can swing that many more pints or quarts than I originally thought!

The only disappointment I experience is slight regret that we haven’t been able to replace the dishwasher that quit on me…however long ago that was (last summer?). Dishwashers are so good for disinfecting jars and rings and keeping your jars on the hot side, which is a requirement when filling with hot salsa. But then, I’m always bragging about how much I love the simple, old-fashioned life, so here’s my chance to put my words into practice!

Nothing like canning to heat up a kitchen! Every burner is busy on my stove…one canner full of cold water and clean jars that can heat up together (ta-da: hot jars ready to fill)…one saucepan with lids and rings keeping hot…one kettle with boiling water to dip tomatoes in before their plunge into chilled water (skin just slips off)…and another kettle handy into which I’ll pour the hot water from the canning jars once I’m ready to exchange their H2O for salsa!

I’d be remiss here if I didn’t recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing and Dehydration. Ever want to make Kiwi Jam? Pickled Okra? Peach Butter? This book is a homemaker’s dream. I’d think every woman should have a copy, not knowing what the future holds for our country. I’m not going Y2K on you, just advocating preparedness.

Never canned before? Find a Farm and Ranch Supply store and browse that aisle. You’ll see many tools of the trade. Besides canners, there are jar lifters (a must), wide-mouthed funnels (another must) and magnetic lid/ring lifters (not so necessary, I use a fork and quick fingers to lift mine from the hot saucepan). If you’d rather, just browse canning tools and supplies online…you’ll get hooked, I promise!

The following salsa recipe was one of my top hits last year, though it doesn’t have the hundreds of comments that the Amish Friendship Bread has to show for its popularity. I thought I’d repost it here today. My dh and I think it tastes a lot like the salsa at Carlos O’ Kelly’s, a popular Mexican restaurant here in the midwest.

Mary’s Mild Salsa–makes 10 pints

22 tomatoes (I put in twice as many if they’re on the small-to-medium side)
4 bell peppers, chopped fine
3 onions, chopped fine
1 cup vinegar
3/4-1 cup jalepeno peppers, chopped fine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 cup (12 oz) tomato paste (I omit this)
Cilantro to taste
3 cloves garlic minced

After getting skin off tomatoes (dip in boiling water 20 seconds, then into cold–skin falls off), put 2/3 of them in blender and blend. Chop the rest of them (if you have a good blender you can blend all veggies together, we like it chunky) and put all ingredients into pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. Use a ladle and funnel to fill hot jars with salsa, leaving 1 inch headspace. Slip a plastic knife or other non-metal straight object along sides of jar to release any bubbles. Wipe jar rim with clean washcloth for a good seal. Apply lid and ring and put jar into canner. It will be fine as you continue filling pints/quarts till canner is full. Water bathe pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20.

Some people like to buy salsa “mix” at Wal Mart. I did this one year, and though the label said “mild” it wasn’t! That was a huge waste of my time and tomatoes, not nearly as good as homemade with all the fresh veggie additions and I was the only one who could handle the “heat”. So be warned.

If you want pictures and another recipe, this site has great pictures.

Well, I’m off…

Just two things:

Don’t forget that the Carnival of Modesty deadline is this Friday, August 3rd! Follow this link to submit and join the fun!

Be on the look-out this week, I have a wonderful author interview to post from friend and fellow homeschooler, Amy Wallace. She graciously shared how she schedules everything in, and her favorite curriculums, all in all it’s a very encouraging and uplifting read! As is her book Ransomed Dreams. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

Peach Lemonade Concentrate–Another Canning Recipe

This recipe is the brain child of my friend. The originial recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine and was for Strawberry Lemonade. Just substitute strawberries for the peaches if you’d like. Strawberry Lemonade makes beautiful Christmas gifts…especially if you give the jars dressy labels…either way, this concentrate mixed with lemon-lime soda makes for a very schmancy drinking experience!

Peach Lemonade

  • 4 quarts peaches, peeled and pitted
  • 4 cups fresh lemon juice (16 lemons) or 32 oz. ReaLemon
  • 3 quarts water
  • 6 cups sugar

In a blender, puree fruit. Place in a large (very large!) kettle; add lemon juice, water, and sugar. Bring to 165 degrees F over medium heat, stirring occasionally (do not boil). Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/4 ” headspace. Adjust caps. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. To serve: Mix about 1/3 concentrate with 2/3 lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Yield: 6-7 quarts concentrate.

Next way we’re planning on tweaking this recipe: Cherry Limeade…mmm!

Home-canned Salsa

We love Mexican food and this week, we’ve already been immersed in the stuff! I made Taco Soup and cornbread for supper Monday, canned salsa yesterday, and today (besides canning stewed tomatoes) I’ve been working on a triple batch of beef enchiladas…time consuming but oh so worth it! Wanted to share my salsa recipe with you…I’d someday like to find one with lime juice as the acid base…but we’re perfectly thrilled with this one so why bother, right?

Mary’s Mild Salsa–makes 10 pints

  • 22 tomatoes (I put in more if they’re on the small side)
  • 4 bell peppers, chopped fine
  • 3 onions, chopped fine
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 3/4 cup jalapeno peppers, chopped fine (confession, I use 4 small jalapenos–we like it really mild! so add peppers to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 cup (12 oz) tomato paste (this thickens your salsa nicely!)
  • Cilantro to taste (fresh is best!)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

After getting skin off tomatoes (dip in boiling water 20 seconds, then into cold–skin falls off), you could put 2/3 of them in blender and blend, and then chop the rest of them, depending on how chunky you like your finished product.  We like it chunky so I usually just chop the whole batch and skip the blender. After chopping/blending, put all ingredients into pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. Water bathe pints for 10 minutes, quarts, 20.

In years past I have omitted the tomato paste from my salsa and the result is a really runny salsa. Yes, it feels kind of like a cheat to add a can of tomato paste to home-canned salsa, but it really doesn’t take away from the taste, and results in a great consistency w/o hours and hours of stirring and boiling away your salsa to the right thickness. I’ve even done batches with 50% paste tomatoes, and still need to thicken it up. We like the Contadina brand tomato paste, it contains no high fructose corn syrup.

I’ll have to post the Taco Soup recipe sometime…it has taco seasoning mix, ranch dressing mix, corn, ranch-style beans…great, now I’m wishing I’d doubled that recipe!