Homemade tomato sauce

And the harvest begins!  First batch of tomatoes are picked and it is time to make some tomato sauce.  Making tomato sauce is a long time-consuming process, but it is a great feeling knowing that everything that is in it is something that I grew out of the garden. Except the onion….my onions have been horrible the last couple years.  This is a canning recipe so after you have it completed you can water bath can it.  Then enjoy it until next tomato season. This recipe is from the Ball blue book of canning.  I usually add extra garlic and the thyme to my sauce.


  • 20 lb tomatoes (about 60 medium)
  • 3 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely minced, fresh basil
  • ¼ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice per hot jar
  • 7 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
First picking of tomatoes
First picking of tomatoes


1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) WASH tomatoes; drain. Remove core and blossom ends. Cut into quarters. Set aside.
3.) SAUTE onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.) PUREE tomato mixture in a food processor or blender, working in batches. Strain puree to remove seeds and peel.  (I use an immersion blender and just puree seeds and peels.  It takes too much time to remove the seeds and peels.  And I have never noticed a taste difference.)
5.) COMBINE tomato puree and basil in large sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until volume is reduced by half, stirring to prevent sticking.
6.) ADD ¼ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot jar. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
7.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check for seal after 24 hours. Lids should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
sliced tomatoes stewing and cooking down.
sliced tomatoes stewing and cooking down.


Pureed tomato sauce reducing down the rest of the of the way.
Pureed tomato sauce reducing down the rest of the of the way.


curried beef jerky noodles

compleated bowl of curried jerky noodles.  Delicious!
completed bowl of curried jerky noodles. Delicious!

Now that I have dried out some jerky and veggies it is time to start trying them in quick recipes for hiking and hunting time. Better to try them out and adjust them to taste now at home then make something horrible to eat in the woods. This recipe is a variation of one that I saw in backpacker magazine. The original recipe called for some raisins in it. I am not a fan of sweet with my foods unless it is on its own.


  • 1⁄4 cup chopped jerky (regular or Cajun)
  • 1⁄4 cup dried vegetable mix
  • 1⁄8 cup raisins (Optional)
  • 1⁄2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 beef bullion cube
  • 1⁄2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 3 oz package chuka soba noodles whole or crumbled (also called chow mein noodles)

Cooking Instructions:
At home: Pack everything through the garlic in a sandwich bag. Pack the chuka soba in a second sandwich bag.

In camp/woods:
Add 2 cups water to your pot with the first bag and bring to a boil. Add in the noodles, return to a boil and let simmer gently for 3 minutes. Take off the stove, cover tightly and let sit for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, if desired.

Observations/things to tweak: Just as is this is a great recipe. The time to boil for the jerky and veggie mix needs to be increased to a couple minutes. The veggies and Jerky were still in need of a little more hydration. As a meal for camping this is very quick and easy. A handful of dried or fresh mushrooms would be a great addition. I didn’t think about adding them until after I finished it.