Making your own pizza sauce is easy and fun! I think it is one of the best things to get your kids to help with while learning how to can along with jams. Kids can always see the benefit of having pizza sauce around. 🙂 I also like to use our pizza making time to help with math. Think of it as a word problem: If we want to eat pizza X times over the year, how many pint jars do we need? Am I sneaky, or what?
Don’t can? No problem! Simply freeze the pizza sauce in freezer bags (remove as much air as possible before sealing) for later use.
This recipe is an adaption of UDSA’s tomato sauce (practically the same thing, right?), but with dried herbs added. This gives it the pizza sauce flavor while still keeping the acid balance. Safety first! I also can pizza sauce in pint jars instead of quarts, as that is a better amount for us to use when it is pizza making night.
You will need about 3 1/4 pounds tomatoes for each pint of tomato sauce (there is about 53 pounds of tomatoes in a bushel, if you are picking them up at the farmers market). I am giving you the amount, so you can adjust the recipe as needed depending on how many tomatoes you have on hand. This recipe can be multiplied or divided as needed without effecting the quality. The recipe will yield about 6 pint jars of thick pizza sauce.
- 20 pounds tomatoes, preferably a paste variety
- ½ cup dried basil
- ¼ cup sugar, white grape juice concentrate or 3 Tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup dried oregano
- 8 teaspoons canning or kosher salt (do not use table salt)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
- Wash tomatoes, remove any bad spots and core. Slice into quarters.
- Put about a pound of tomato slices into stockpot over medium-high heat. Heat to boiling while crushing tomatoes. Continue to add tomato quarters a few at a time, while maintaining the boil. Continue to crush and stir tomatoes as they cook. This will help keep sauce from separating after canning (not a big deal if it does, just stir it in, but it does look prettier!). After the last tomatoes are added to the boiling mixture, crush, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Put cooked tomato mixture through a food mill or sieve to remove peels and seeds leaving just the pulp.
- Put tomato pulp back into stockpot with basil, sugar, oregano, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer until desired consistency is reached, stirring often. OR put as much of the puree into a large slow cooker with the spices. Leave the lid off and turn on HIGH. Allow to cook down, adding more of the tomato pulp as you have room. Continue to cook down in the uncovered slow cooker until it is the thickness you like. I reduce the volume by about one-half for a thicker sauce.
- In well cleaned, hot pint jars, put 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice in each jar. Ladle hot pizza sauce into jars, leaving a ¼" headspace. Wipe jar rim with a damp cloth, put on lid and put on jar band finger tip tight.
- Using a boiling water bath method, process jars for 35 minutes at 0-1,000 ft altitude, 40 minutes for 1,001 - 3,000 ft, 45 minutes for 3,001 - 6,000 ft and 50 minutes for above 6,000 feet altitude.
- To freeze: Allow finished sauce to cool. You do not need to add lemon juice if you are freezing sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Package one pint worth of sauce into freezer safe containers with ½" head space. Seal, label and freeze.