Summertime is the best time of year to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. One of my favorite summer vegetables is tomatoes. You can do a lot with fresh tomatoes, but one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is by making homemade tomato sauce. In this blog post, I will show you how to make canned tomato sauce in a pressure cooker. This method is much faster than traditional canning methods and produces great results. So let's get started!
Can you use a pressure canner for tomato sauce?
Tomatoes are one of the high acid foods, so you can opt to use a water bath canner or pressure cooker for canning. So, it's really up to you as far as which you're familiar with and how many pounds of tomatoes you plan to can. If you are used to using a pressure canner or want to try canning in the electric pressure cooker, go for it!
Larger pressure cookers such as the Ninja Foodi and Instant Pot can handle small pint jars and maybe 1-2 quart jars. An actual pressure canner, such as the Ball appliance, is taller and made specifically to can. The only thing to make sure of is that your pressure canner has a large pot, tall enough so that no part of the glass Mason Jars inside are touching each other nor the sides of the cooker. This can lead to glass breakage. You will follow your canning recipe for processing time, just as you do for the traditional water bath canner.
Traditionally, water bath is supposed to be good for tomato sauce however the special canner we have from Ball tells us it's ok and actually has a special setting for tomato sauce. But if you don't have one of these pressure canners you can do the water bath method.
How long does it take to pressure can tomato sauce?
In general, canning recipes all give time estimates based on the jar size and also your elevation from sea level where you are located. Pressure canning in a pressure cooker does take some extra time to heat up, so keep that in mind if you're doing multiple batches of cans. It will take most of the day, or at least all afternoon! Canning isn't something to rush, of course. It's actually a fun activity to plan and get together with friends or family and do.
While pressure canning does take less time on the prep side (for example, you don't have to stand in the kitchen and boil a giant stock pot of hot water), it does take longer to process the cans. We set the pressure canner for 45 minutes, which as you may know is longer than the 15-20 minutes it takes to process jars in a huge pot of boiling water. So, there are a few differences.
Can I pressure can spaghetti sauce?
You can pressure can any form of tomato you choose! Whether it's tomato paste, tomato juice, plain tomato sauce, or pasta sauce, the difference will be your recipe. This recipe is a basic thin tomato sauce that can be added to things like chili, soup, and more. You can use it for a base for pasta sauces and even pizza sauce.
If you are wondering how to make a thick sauce, or a thicker sauce out of anything that uses fresh tomatoes, the secret is how much water is added. For example, tomatoes hold a lot of water naturally. You can adjust this by straining or draining your tomato sauce prior to blending in a food processor. Then, blend until all the tomatoes themselves are pureed. If you find the sauce is still too thin for your preference, you can thicken it up with tomato paste when you are ready to cook with it– a very easy method.
You can also allow the tomato sauce to sit and drain off any excess water afterwards, or simmer your tomato sauce with spices and salt in a small sauce pan and additional moisture will boil away. There are many ways to achieve less water your tomato sauce recipe.
Do you need lemon juice when pressure canning tomatoes?
The reason most canning recipes call for a couple tablespoons of lemon juice is to increase the acid level of the canned goods. While tomato canning deals with a high acid food anyway, we want to increase the acid level in our tomato products to ensure proper food preservation. A safe acidity level will keep tomatoes free of mold, toxins, and dangerous bacteria growth.
Keep in mind, some recipes may call for Citric acid or other ingredients. If this is the case and lemon juice is not on the recipe, follow your specific recipe. We follow the Ball Canning book for refrence.
Should I water bath or pressure can tomato sauce?
There is a lot of debate on whether you should use a pressure canning method or water bath canning. The general issue is safety. If you have not ever dealt with a pressure canner and have not researched how to do it, it can be risky. There are quite a few things that can go wrong if you're not following good instructions. For example, glass jars breaking inside the canner, the canner load being too full, or jars not sealing are some problems. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your pressure cooker.
If you have someone show you how to do a water-bath canner, it can help you understand the process and feel more confident about home food preservation. Water bath canning is said to be dangerous for the same reasons– jars getting too hot or breaking, or accidentally coming into contact with other hot jars or water. Make sure you are using safety precautions the entire time, from oven mitts to proper canning tongs or a jar lifter. Using improper equipment can put you at risk for a safety issue.
We hope these tips can help you decide if pressure canning your tomato sauce is an easier method for you. Be sure to check out the recipe below to put your fresh tomatoes to good use!
Ready to get canning? See the recipe below to start preparing for your own canning adventure. Even if you haven't grown up with grandparents or relatives who canned their farm fresh produce, you can start the tradition yourself now! Canning is a great skill to have, especially if you are planning a vegetable garden.
See more here:
- 12 lbs plum tomatoes (like Roma’s)
- Canning salt - per instructions
- Lemon juice- per canning instructions
Wash and put the tomatoes in a big stock pot on medium heat until tomato skin starts to blister. Allow some room in between tomatoes, so divide up into two stockpots if necessary
Let tomatoes cool off and run them through a food mill to remove skin and seeds. Alternately, you can sink hot tomatoes to an ice bath in a separate bowl. Blanch the tomatoes for 1 minute to 90 seconds before removing with a strainer. Quickly place on the counter or cutting board and remove skin by hand. The skin should be removable all in 1-2 pieces.
Remove any stems that remain. If you used the blanching method, pulse the whole tomatoes in a food processor or food mill until pureed.
Add boiled tomatoes back into an empty, clean stock pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Using a potato or meat masher, continue to break up any large chunks of tomato as it simmers.
Cook your tomato sauce at a simmer until reduced by a 1/3. You can reduce it longer for a thicker sauce.
Use this recipe in combination with prepped hot jars and canning instructions for long term preservation. Don't forget to label and date!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 13gSugar: 29gProtein: 16g
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