Canning tomato sauce – time to jar, Tomato

We are coming to the end of our sauce adventure.  The jarring process is involved – we need clean bottles that have been heated and will need to work fast to fill them before placing them in a boiling water bath.  We process our 1 liter jars for about 35 minutes – the goal is to raise all of the contents of your jar up to 212 degrees (fairly easy for sauce itself, more time is needed if you are adding solids such as pieces of garlic).

We follow a tested recipe that we trust a great deal.  We add fresh herbs, garlic and a touch of salt to each hot jar before filling them with hot sauce.  Note that these are not required – I add them as it can be difficult to get local garlic and herbs in late winter and spring which is why we take this extra step.

Canning tomato sauce   time to jar, Tomato Tomato Preserving Recipes

Canning tomato sauce   time to jar, Tomato Tomato Preserving Recipes

Before putting the lids on, there are some things to consider carefully.  The jars need to stay hot before you place them in the boiling water.  Some people put the seals on right away – this can cause a premature seal as the jars cool.  This seal can become a larger problem as you process the jars in boiling water – the air may not escape.  We use older seals and place them upside down on the bottles to keep the heat in as we wait for room to process them (keep in mind that cleanliness is key):

Warm seals and lids are placed on the jars right before entering the water bath.  There is more info on the general preserving process in the preserving section that is linked at the top of this page.

Jars are covered in boiling water for 35 minutes.

We place the jars on the crushed boxes that came with the tomatoes – this saves our porch from water staining and protects the bottle from bottleshock (which shatters bottles as hot glass touches cold surfaces).

They cool overnight in the garage before we check the seals on the following day.

We have found that a typical bushel of tomatoes will yield 4-18 jars of sauce.  Using the tricks shared in our previous posts we had an unbelievable yield of 126 jars on 6 bushels this year – we have never come close to this amount in the past (21 jars per bushel).  The contents of each jar is about $1 and will deliver the most amazing tomato flavor year round!


  1. Would you mind sharing that trustworthy recipe? Thanks for this, because I want to jar up some sauce, but kept reading that you needed a pressure canner for tomatoes because of the low acidity. Thanks!

    • Sugarbug,

      Erg. I just wrote a reply for 30 minutes and the machine ate it. I am afraid my response was practically a blog entry and with 4 batches of preserving and half a vacation day left, this will be a shorter version.

      The long story short is that I will provide a link to a tested recipe that is safe according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation (we wrote about them here and explained why we turn to them for a lot of recipes).

      According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, most tomatoes have enough acid, but some do not. To be safe, citric acid, or reconstituted lemon juice is added to the tomatoes in the container. Reconstituted lemon juice is added to the tomatoes in the container. Reconstituted lemon juice is recommended to ensure acidity will be constant, unlike fresh lemon juice where acidity may vary. Then tomatoes may be processed safely in a boiling water canner or in a pressure canner. (Source:
      Preserving Ontario’s Harvest

      The link to the NCHFP recipe is here. Their intro to tomatoes is here.

      There is also a recipe in the giant Bernardin Bible (book link here). It`s at most book stores (and Canadian Tire) for around $20.

      Hope this helps! Please let me know if it doesn`t and I`ll see if I can find more…j

  2. Hey Joel,

    1. How much garlic and basil do you put in each bottle?
    2. What type/brand/size of pot are you using?


    • Guy,

      We eyeball the garlic and use the amount we would like to taste with. I tend to put more in than my mother, so we fight over the spoon. The biggest advantage to adding garlic, for me, is that I can eat local garlic in middle of winter. Some will state that one should not add it if you are hot water bathing, like we do – that it can add an element of danger that can be removed by pressure cooking only. My legal advice, therefore, is use a trusted recipe. The advice our family uses is based on experience and a personal decision based on what we understand to be both safe and effective. I would hate to lose an entire batch or get people I love sick with it. Herbs are by eye – I add a fair bit, a tablespoon or more likely.

      Pot wise, I believe you are asking about the large bot we use to cook down the tomatoes or do the water bath in. I am not loyal – I buy as big as I can store (we have two that I think are 75 liters right now). If in Toronto, look at restaurant wholesale stores or European grocers. I would try a place like Tap Phong on Spadina (or article on them is here:

      Hope that helps,


  3. Great article. Do you use pressure canners when canning?

  4. jeannie andrew says:

    do I need to cook my sauce in a water canner if I do all the steps and cook the sauce with onions garlic celery carrots etc. and of course tomatoes for appx. 5 hours?


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