A really good pizza comes down to two things – the dough and the sauce. The toppings are secondary to those! Canned Pizza Sauce is the answer to preparing a pizzeria style pizza at home. Make a batch, store it in your pantry, and make delicious pizzas at home for a fraction of the cost!
I love pizza. It’s probably my favourite food. And, as much as I love to eat it, I love to make it too! Sure, there are times when I’m just too tired or lazy and we order pizza from one of our go-to pizza joints. But, for the most part – like 99% of the time – I’m making the pizza myself.
A few years ago, we ordered pizza every Friday night. After a long week of work and school, it was just what we needed to put the week behind us. Then, back when the lockdowns started at the beginning of the pandemic, we were spending much of our time at our house where pizza joints were not very close. Eventually one opened up, which had great pizza, but it has since closed. Even while it was in business, I still opted to make pizza at home, just because it’s not hard to do and it tasted better!
After a few months, I kept running into the problem of not being able to find our regular can of pizza sauce at grocery stores. We tried others, but I was never happy with them. I made a promise to myself that I would make a batch of pizza sauce as soon as I could get my hands on some summer fresh tomatoes. The images you see in this post are the result. It’s the best pizza sauce you’ll ever taste!
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THE GREAT PIZZA DILEMMA
Ordering Pizza is a nightmare in our home. A few years ago, we managed to find a pizza joint that all three of us could agree on. The pizza is not too greasy, the thin crust is just perfectly thin enough, and the sauce is neither too thick, too spicy, or too sweet. And, they happen to have a regular deal which consists of three pizzas, any size, with a total of 9 combined toppings. Now, you may be asking why a family of three needs to order three pizzas. Well, it’s simple: one meat (for me), one with just mushrooms (for McKenna), and one with black olives (gross!) for John.e.
Mckenna will eat nothing but mushrooms and cheese on her pizza. Yes, it’s easy, but it can be infuriating when you’re trying to order pizza for more than one person. I can eat anything on pizza, but tend to favour pepperoni and bacon. And, John.e likes black olives. Seriously disgusting. So, you see, three pizzas are necessary.
Did you just suggest we order a half-and-half pizza? That would work, but a half-and-half pizza will not work if I’m the one sharing it with the vegetarians. Meat cannot come anywhere close to their food. And, on the flip side, I won’t even physically touch olives – black or green – so that leaves that half-and-half option out. Do you see the dilemma?
MAKING DOUGH FROM SCRATCH VS STORE-BOUGHT
There are a few ways that you can prepare this pizza. First, you can prepare the pizza dough from scratch by following the directions in this recipe card. It’s my favourite pizza dough! It’s light, but not too airy. And, it falls somewhere in the middle so that it’s not a thick or pan crust, but it’s not thin either.
Secondly, you can purchase raw pizza dough in most grocery stores. It’s usually found in the deli section and comes in a plastic bag. Thirdly, you have the option of buying one of those pre-baked pizza crusts. I have purchased them in the past and have always had a good experience with them. Usually, they come with a packet of pizza sauce too.
Lastly, you can make this pizza on a flour tortilla! Yes! It’s a great way to get a super thin and crispy crust. We make them often when we’re in a hurry. I just shared a recipe recently on how to make one using leftover turkey and stuffing! So, you now have plenty of crust options.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Tomatoes – This recipe will yield 6 half pints (250mL or 1 cup) of pizza sauce. Roma or plum tomatoes are the best type of tomato for canning.
- Onions – You can use white or yellow onions.
- Garlic – There might seem like there’s a lot of garlic in this recipe, but keep in mind that you’re making a batch of sauce.
- Salt – Some people do not salt sauce when making it, but prefer to salt it when cooking the sauce to eat. I salt it when I’m making it, because I think the sauce tastes better if all ingredients are canned together.
- Italian Seasoning – There are many differing Italian seasoning blends out there. Use the one you’re most comfortable with. I have a great homemade Italian Seasoning Blend if you want to make up your own.
- Sugar – Pizza sauce nearly always has a bit of sweetness added to it. If you’re a pizza sauce purist, you can skip it.
- Lemon Juice – I always preach that fresh lemon juice is best, but when canning, you will want to use a bottle of lemon juice. It is pH balanced, so you know that you’re getting the right amount for safe food preservation.
- Olive Oil
HOW TO MAKE CANNED TOMATO SAUCE
PEELING THE TOMATOES
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Next, fill a large bowl half full with cold water and add a few cups of ice. While the water boils, sort through the tomatoes. Do not use any tomatoes with any bruises or spots on them. Score the bottom of the good tomatoes with a sharp knife. Scoring means to just slightly cut through the tomato skin in an X pattern.
Working in batches of 15-20 tomatoes, place the tomatoes into the boiling water and allow them to sit for one minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the bowl of ice water. The ice water will stop the cooking process and cool the tomatoes so that you can touch them. After a minute, you can peel the tomatoes by pulling the skin off in four large sections from the scoring X pattern you created at the bottom of each tomato. Place the skinned tomatoes into a bowl. Continue to do this until all of your tomatoes are peeled.
PREPPING THE VEGETABLES
Next, peel and quarter the onions. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to a food processor and pulse until they form a very fine puree. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Transfer the pureed onion and garlic to a large stock pot.
Add the olive oil to the pot and cook the onion and garlic mixture over medium heat for five minutes. In the meantime, quarter the peeled tomatoes and cut away the stem. Puree the tomatoes in batches as well. Once pureed, add them to the cooked onions and garlic. Once all of the pureed tomatoes are in the pot, add the salt, sugar, and Italian seasoning; stir well. Cook the sauce for four hours, stirring often. While the sauce cooks, prepare the jars and your canner.
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HOW TO WATER BATH CAN
STEP 1: PREPARING THE JARS
Some canners say that if you need to boil the jars longer than 10 minutes, then you don’t need to sterilize the jars. I say no! Canning is not as simple and cheap as frying an egg. It takes time, and an investment if you don’t already have the equipment. Eliminate any risk whatsoever by always sterilizing your jars. It’s easy to do and your Canned Pizza Sauce will thank you! Wash the jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse the jars well under running water to get rid of any soap residue.
Transfer the jars to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Using a jar wrench/lifter, lift the jars out of the water, tilting to pour out the water. Be careful; it’s hot! Stand the jar up onto a baking sheet. Once all of the jars are on the baking sheet, place them into your preheated oven at 200 degrees F. This will keep them hot and away from any contamination.
STEP 2: PREPARING THE SEALS AND RINGS
Mason jars are equipped with three parts. The first is the jar. The second and third parts combine to form the lid. The flat disc with the rubber ring on the bottom is the seal. Finally, the circular part that actually screws onto the jar is called a screw band. Depending on the brand or the recipe you’re reading, the names of these things can vary. But, they all do the same thing.
The screw bands never come in contact with the food, so they do not need to be washed or sterilized. But, because I want to eliminate any risk of contamination, I make sure they’re clean. After all, they have been sitting in a warehouse before they got to the store, and then finally, to me. That’s too many germs for my comfort level! I wash them in hot, soapy water, rinse them well, and transfer them to a bowl until I need them. The sealing disk/sealing ring needs a little more consideration.
If you look at the bottom of the lid, you will see a reddish-brown rubber ring. It’s attached to the lid. This ring has a huge job! It is pretty much in charge of keeping your food safe for long-term storage. Place the lids into a glass bowl. I like to separate them so that they are not all stacked. When I’m ready to ladle the food into the jars, I pour a kettle of boiling water over the lids so that they are sterile and the rubber band softens. That’s it. You have now prepared your jars. Next, we need to get the canner ready!
STEP 3: PREPARING THE CANNER
You can buy a canning pot, but you don’t have to do that. Any stock pot will do just fine. Be sure that the pot is tall enough to hold enough water so that your jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Fill the canning pot accordingly. Also, be sure to insert a canning rack or mat into the bottom of your pot. If you buy a canning pot it will come with one. Otherwise, you can buy them for any pot size. Never let your jars touch the bottom of the pot when boiling. They could easily break and your Canned Pizza Sauce will be lost. Once you’ve done this, bring the water to a full boil.
In most cases, if you’re new to canning, you might notice some white residue on the jars after all is said and done. This can easily be cleaned off once the jars are cool. A few tablespoons of white vinegar in the boiling water helps to eliminate most of it. I use it every single time.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to keep a kettle of boiling water close by. Depending on how many jars you need to process, you might have to boil them in batches. You will be surprised at how quickly rapidly boiling water can evaporate. Having a kettle of boiling water will allow you to easily top up the canning pot without altering the temperature of the water.
STEP 4: FILLING THE JARS
Depending on the recipe, filling the jars is quite easy. Having some inexpensive equipment on hand can make this process much easier. Invest in a canning funnel. It will help you ladle the food into the jars without making a mess. Remember to pay attention to the recipe’s recommended headspace. This is the amount of empty space from the top of the food to the very top of the jar. Also, it’s imperative to keep the rim of the jar clean to ensure a good seal. You will also need a bubble remover. You can buy these, but I’m not a fan of them. A clean wooden chopstick does the same thing. Removing bubbles will prevent mould from growing.
Lastly, you will need a magnetic lid lifter. Remember how I said the flat sealing lids will be submerged in a bowl of boiling water? Well, you can’t just pick them up with your hands. First of all, it’s hot! Secondly, you will want to eliminate the risk of any contamination. Do not touch the underside of the lid. Period! Using a magnetic lid lifter will allow you to pick up the lid and position it right onto the rim of the jar without ever touching it.
Finally, you will need to screw on the metal screw bands. In most cases, the food in the jars is scalding hot, so you can’t touch the jars to tighten the lids. But, that’s a good thing! You should never over-tighten the lids. Place the screw band over the jar and tighten it with one hand. It should be snug, not tight. Now, that’s it! You’re ready to boil these jars!
STEP 5: BOILING THE JARS OF FOOD
Carefully lift the jars of Canned Pizza Sauce straight up using a jar wrench/lifter. Lower the jar into the pot of boiling water. Fill the canning pot with jars in this manner. Don’t jam the jars in; leave a little bit of space between the jars. I aim for about a centimetre or a finger’s width. Remember, you can process the jars in batches.
Once the canning pot is loaded, place a lid on the pot, and start your timer according to the recipe you are following. If the water is not at a full boil, do not start timing until it is! When the time is up, use the jar wrench to lift the jars straight up out of the water. Transfer the jars to a flat surface that has been lined with a few layers of kitchen towels. Allow the jars to fully cool – at least 24 hours! Finally, wipe the jars down, label them with contents and date, and store them in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry.
Some people remove the screw bands after the jars have cooled for 24 hours. I remove them just to check if there is a good seal. I put them back on once I’ve checked. It’s up to you if you want to leave them off. If you notice that a jar has not sealed, you can either discard it, or refrigerate it for immediate consumption. Only do so if you are 100% sure the food has not been compromised and that it is safe to eat.
ONCE THE SAUCE IS COOKED, IT’S TIME TO CAN!
With your pot of cooked, piping hot sauce nearby, line up your jars. Add one teaspoon of bottled lemon juice to each jar. Next, using a canning funnel and a ladle, spoon the sauce into the jar, leaving a half inch of headspace. Use the non-metallic bubble remover to remove any air bubbles. Wipe down the rim of each jar with a damp paper towel to ensure none of the sauce has come in contact with the rim.
Carefully remove the sealing discs from the hot water with a magnetic lid lifter. Position the sealing disc directly onto the lip of the jar. Do not touch the underside of the lid. Screw on the screw bands until firm – do not apply pressure! Just use your fingertips to tighten the screw bands. Using the jar lifter, place the jars into the water bath canner with the boiling water. Place a lid on the pot and boil the jars for 20 minutes.
Carefully remove each jar from the canner using the jar lifter. Do not tilt the jars or try to wipe them dry. Place jars onto a wire cooling rack that has been covered with a clean kitchen towel. Leave the jars to cool for a minimum of 12 hours. Once cooled, wipe the jars of any residue that might have been transferred to the outside of the jar during the boiling process. Label the jars and store them in a dark, cool cabinet.
STORING CANNED TOMATO SAUCE
Once you have safely removed the jars of processed Canned Pizza Sauce from the canner, and they have cooled completely, it’s time to store them.
Storing properly is just as important as every step you take to ensure your efforts are safe and sterile. The first thing I like to do is wash the jars. Sometimes, the jars will be covered with a residue from the boiling process. This is normal and will depend on your water source. If I can in our city apartment, the jars are not too cloudy at all. But, at our home in the country where we use well water, the jars will have a chalky, white residue on the outside.
You can wash the jars under warm running water with a little bit of dish detergent. Dry the jars well with a clean towel. Next, it’s important to label them properly. Trust me – if you fall in love with canning, you’ll come to rely on labels. In the beginning, I could easily mistake a jar of canned tomatoes with a jar of salsa or a jar of sauce!
Your label should include the name of the recipe and the date you made it. Store the jars in a cool, dark place. You don’t need to push them all to the back of the corner in your unfinished basement! Any pantry or cabinet will do as long as it’s not directly above a heat source. I store mine in a built-in pantry under the stairs. Just keep them cool and away from direct light to prolong the shelf life.
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Canned Pizza Sauce
- 6 250ml mason jars with screw bands and new, unused sealing discs.
- Pressure Canner
- Jar Wrench/Lifter
- Canning Funnel
- Non-metallic Bubble Remover
- Magnetic Lid Lifter
- 15 pounds plum (roma) tomatoes
- 1 large white onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons Italian Seasoning https://www.lordbyronskitchen.com/italian-seasoning-blend/
- 3 teaspoons bottled lemon juice
To Prepare Mason Jars:
- Wash mason jars and screw lids in soapy water and rinse soap off well under running hot water. Place clean jars on a baking sheet and place in oven preheated to 200 degrees. Set screw bands aside. Next, boil a kettle of water and pour into a clean glass bowl. Carefully submerge the sealing discs in the bowl of hot water. Set aside.
- Next, peel and quarter the onions. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to a food processor and pulse until they form a very fine puree. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Transfer the pureed onion and garlic to a large stock pot.
- Add the olive oil to the pot and cook the onion and garlic mixture over medium heat for five minutes. In the meantime, quarter the peeled tomatoes and cut away the stem. Puree the tomatoes in batches as well. Once pureed, add them to the cooked onions and garlic. Once all of the pureed tomatoes are in the pot, add the salt, sugar, and Italian Seasoning. Stir well. Cook the sauce for four hours, stirring often. While the sauce cooks, prepare the jars and your canner.
- Remove the sterilized jars from the oven. Add half teaspoon of bottled lemon juice to each jar. Ladle the sauce into prepared mason jars using a funnel to prevent the mixture from touching the rim of the jars.
- Wipe down the rim of each jar with a damp paper towel to ensure none of the sauce has come in contact with the rim.
- Carefully remove the sealing discs from the hot water with a magnetic lid lifter. Position the sealing disc directly onto the rim of the jars. Do not touch the underside of the lid.
- Screw on the screw bands until firm – do not apply pressure! Just use your fingertips to tighten the screw bands.
- Using the jar lifter, place the jars into the water bath canner with the boiling water. Place a lid on the pot and boil the jars for 20 minutes.
- Once done, carefully remove each jar from the canner using the jar lifter. Do not tilt the jars or try to wipe them dry. Place jars onto a wire cooling rack that has been covered with a clean kitchen towel.
- Leave the jars to cool for a minimum of 12 hours. Once cooled, wipe the jars of any residue that might have been transferred to the outside of the jar during the boiling process. Label the jars and store in a dark, cool cabinet.
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