How To Make A Healthy Tomato Sauce Recipe for Canning

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Hi, I’m Jenny and I teach busy people how to preserve healthy, homemade food in jars over on my blog, The Domestic Wildflower. If you are just starting your WW plan or if you are a life member, I can teach you how to make a healthy tomato sauce recipe for canning that will save you money and it's ONLY 4 POINTS FOR THE WHOLE JAR on all 3 WW Plans!

How To Make A Healthy Tomato Sauce Recipe for Canning

Canning used to take a really long time, make a huge mess and was something your granny would do- not a mom who has soccer practice to manage, a deadline at the office, and a morning workout to fit in. Now, there are tons of modern tools and techniques to make preserving fit into your hectic life and the result is nutritious foods on your pantry shelf ready at a moment’s notice. 

If I had to can one thing for the rest of my life, it would be this healthy tomato sauce recipe. It is so versatile- I use it on whole wheat pasta, in omelettes, as a tomato soup base, in a stew, in the crockpot when I need to add a high flavor veggie, and in countless other ways.

It has only a few ingredients, mostly tomatoes, and a little garlic and onion, and zero added sugar or other junk. But the best part is that is it is COOKED IN ADVANCE. You can open a jar of home-canned tomato sauce and warm it up and you’re ready to eat. It is an investment with an incredibly high return. Shelf-stable health food that you made yourself that would impress the picky toddler all the way to your in-laws is a win in my book. 

FAQs About Canning

Do I Need To Buy New Supplies for Canning?

No! Instead of getting a giant, single-use black speckled canning pot like your great auntie used, use a pasta or stock pot you already own but put a silicone trivet on the bottom. This inexpensive item prevents the glass jars from rattling around on the bottom of the pot and breaking, but allows you to use a pot you already have!

All equipment can be used, thrifted, or borrowed EXCEPT canning lids. You have to use new lids every time you can. Once they’ve been sealed, you can’t use them for canning again. You can use canning jars and their rings over and over (for years!) but you need new lids.

Get the Canning Equipment Checklist here! 

Should I Use A Steam Canner?

Yes! Use a Steam Canner – If a traditional water bath pot like Granny used is like a hot tub, a steam canner is like a sauna. Both achieve the same result using the same science. Heat forces air out of the jars, creating a vacuum-tight seal, kills spoilers inside the jar, and creates shelf-stable and safely preserved food.

Steam canners use the same water bath recipes and you keep your jars in the “sauna/hot tub” for the same amount of time but they are AMAZING because they save so much time coming to a boil. A traditional water bath takes 25+ minutes to come to a boil and a steam canner is ready in 5 minutes.

This is especially helpful when you’re canning your second and third batches- no waiting! They are lightweight, safe, approved by the USDA, and a total game-changer – I use mine exclusively at home. Read more about them here!

Should I Peel The Tomatoes Before Canning?

Skip peeling the tomatoes- old recipes have you peel the tomatoes which can take over an hour for a whole batch, plus it makes a giant mess in your kitchen. (It was one of my least favorite canning tasks.) There’s no reason you have to peel the tomato. With the high-quality blenders most families use to puree all kinds of fibrous foods into smoothies, follow my directions to make a “tomato smoothie” and skip the peeling step entirely.

Healthy Tomato Sauce Recipe for Canning

4 Points In The WHOLE JAR

Healthy Tomato Sauce Recipe Free Recipe Card

You will need: 

  • 12 pounds tomatoes, halved or quartered, cores removed
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic, jarred type is fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Mrs Wages Citric Acid, 1/2 teaspoon added to each pint jar upon lid application


1. Prepare your water bath canning pot or your steam canner. Fill the water bath canning pot with water, add 7 pint jars, and bring to a boil OR fill the steam canner to fill line and turn on low with the 7 pint jars nearby on a towel-covered countertop. 

2. Blend the tomatoes.  Start on the “food chop” setting, and then move to a medium blend setting, for up to two minutes or until the visible skin pieces in the blender are smaller than half an inch.

3. Combine olive oil, garlic, and onion in the bottom of a preserving pan at medium-low heat and cook till onion is soft. Add salt and pepper.

4. Pour the blended tomato smoothie on top of the cooked garlic & onion mixture and stir to combine. Repeat the blending process until all tomatoes are blended and added.

5 Cook on medium heat until sauce is reduced, darker red in color, about 1 hour.

6. Ladle into jars one at a time, maintain 1/2 inch headspace, add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to each jar, apply lids and rings, and either submerge into the boiling water of the boiling water bath with a jar lifter  OR set gently on the rack of the steam canner. 

7. Process for 25 minutes PLUS 5 minutes for every 1000 ft above sea level. Remove from heat, rest jars carefully on towel covered countertop. Label cooled jars and store for up to 1 year. Yields 8-10 pints.

If you want to learn more about canning, grab the Canning Jump Start Guide! It’s a visual guide that shares canning equipment checklists for traditional water bath and steam canning, a canning season planner, recipes to get you started, an elevation adjustment guide, a stovetop guide (what pot goes where!), and more. You’ll be canning with confidence, the modern way!

Jenny Gomes blogs about homemade foods and crafts at The Domestic Wildflower She’s the mom of two small children, an adjunct English instructor, and a huge fan of ditching old canning methods in favor of time-saving new techniques. Learn more from her courses and ebooks at

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