Homemade Pizza Sauce – Yes, You Can!
I decided to make homemade pizza sauce this year. With a little help from a store-bought mix, tips from my sister the sauce-n-ista, and some handy tomato processing tricks, I learned it can be done in a snap. In other words, it’s not hard at all but it will definitely take some time. Plan 2-3 hours per batch if you’re working alone — or maybe you’re really fast and in that case, set your own pace!
The thing about canning pizza sauce is that it’s done in steps: prepare the tomatoes, puree the tomatoes, add spices, simmer and then, pour into jars and process. Yeah, it’s that easy! Only it’s not. Not really. There are some definite tricks you need to know and I’ve tried to photograph the process every step of the way.
Step 1: Pick or purchase fresh tomatoes.
You’ll need approximately 18 medium or larger tomatoes. I mixed and matched my varieties, too. Wash them clean. Then set a huge pot of water to boiling. If you have something big enough to hold all of the tomatoes and water at once, superb. If not, work in batches.
Step 2: When water boils, add tomatoes for three minutes.
I used a ladle to carefully lower the tomatoes into the pot of boiling water. Put the lid on and boil for three minutes.
Step 3: Remove tomatoes from boiling water and plunge into ice water.
I just fill my sink with cold water and ice cubes. Scoop tomatoes from the boiling pot to the sink. Allow them to cool for another three minutes. Some of the skins may begin to peel immediately.
Step 4: Remove the skins.
They very nearly rub off in an entire piece. I think removing the skins is my favorite part of this whole process!
Step 5: Core the skinned tomatoes.
There’s probably a neat little tool to do this, but I just stick the knife in, make a few cuts and push the core out with my thumb. It’s very easy to do. Then break the tomato with your hands and place in the bowl of a food processor.
Step 6: Puree until smooth.
Pulse your food processor until tomatoes are smooth, then pour the juice into a large stock pot. Work in batches until all 18 (approximately) tomatoes are pureed.
Step 7: Spice it up and sweeten the deal!
I used Mrs. Wages pizza sauce spice packets to make my sauce. It calls for 5 Tablespoons of sugar per batch. We added a bit more, as well as extra garlic and onion powder. Adjust the seasonings to your family’s preference. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is cooking, sterilize your canning jars (I use the dishwasher). Next, heat a canner 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil. Place canning jar lids in a small saucepan of water and bring to a boil, also (they need to be hot when affixed to the jar). When the timer rings, your jars are ready and the water in your canner is boiling …
Step 8: Fill the jars with pizza sauce!
Fill jars to 1/4″ from top. A jar funnel makes this very simple. Wipe the jar rim with a clean, dry cloth before you tighten the lids. When all sauce is in the jars, lower them into the boiling water of your canning pot. Set the timer for 40 minutes.
Step 9: Final resting place.
When sauce jars have processed for 40 minutes, carefully remove from the water with a jar lifter and place on a dish towel on your counter or a table — someplace where they can seal, cool and rest for at least 24 hours. And now’s the time to start a new tradition! In our family, when you hear the ‘ping’ of a jar sealing you must shout, “Hallelujah!” It’s very satisfying.
Step 10: Back to the future.
Sometime this winter when the snow flurries fly and your family is gathered in the kitchen, make homemade pizza. And enjoy your very own homemade pizza sauce. It tastes so much better than store-bought … love makes it so!