Heirloom Tomato Sauce for Canning

If there is one thing I wish I put up more of each year it would be this Heirloom Tomato sauce. My older son has adoringly nick named it the “special sauce” and I can’t think of a more fitting name.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce | mountainmamacooks.com #canningweek14

Without a doubt, canning marinara is the most tedious and labor intensive thing I can. It’s truly a labor of love. It’s a full day endeavor and it takes a lot of tomatoes and yields a fairly small amount for how much work is involved. With that being said, it’s also the most rewarding thing I put up. This sauce surpasses any jar you can buy in a store and you can’t beat the ease for a quick weeknight dinner over some steaming hot pasta. The first year I canned this I made a double batch and put it pints instead of jars. My husband loved it so much that I’d come home from running errands and he’d be making himself a mid afternoon snack of a big ol’ bowl of pasta. I had to put an end to that pretty quickly so he wouldn’t eat it all before October!

Heirloom Tomato Sauce | mountainmamacooks.com #canningweek14

I don’t want to scare you from making this because it’s truly worth the effort! It’s definitely a job for two people though. One person will be overwhelmed and work all day. And more than two people means too much work for too little yield. Trust me when I tell you that two people is the perfect number to tackle this sauce! I’m lucky that I have a dear friend that loves canning as much as I do. She picked up almost 70 lb of tomatoes on Monday and we spend all of Tuesday and the better half of Wednesday putting up a batch of this marinara and a ton of crushed tomatoes.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce | mountainmamacooks.com #canningweek14

You can bet that I hid these 3 quarts and will be rationing them out over the winter months. If I can bring myself to go at it again, I’ll make another batch and let my husband binge on an afternoon bowl of spaghetti but until then I’m hiding the “special sauce”. If you give it a go, you’ll totally understand.
Canning week might be coming to an end but I just might have a few more recipes to share with you in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for following along all week and be sure to visit Completely Delicious to get this recipe for Peach Jalapeño Chutney recipe. And The Vintage Mixer for this Apricot Shrub for Homemade Sodas recipe.

And last but not least, don’t forget to enter our canning week GIVEAWAY! Have a great weekend, everyone! xo

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Heirloom Tomato Sauce for Canning

  • Yield: 6 quarts 1x


A homemade marinara that is the epitome of summer. Heirloom tomatoes, garlic and white wine make for a killer tomato sauce recipe for canning!


  • 16 lb heirloom tomatoes, picked over and washed in throughly in warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 36 small cloves garlic, peeled (about 3 heads)
  • 3 cups olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 6 cups dry white wine
  • 12 stalks fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half and remove core and scoop as many seeds out as you can. Save seeds, cores and any accumulated juice in a separate bowl and save.
  3. Lay tomato halves in two roasting pans, cut side up. Sprinkle half the chopped garlic and dried thyme over the tomatoes and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Roast uncovered for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove tomatoes from oven and let cool until easy to handle.
  5. Remove the tomato skins and add them to the bowl with the seeds and cores. Add tomatoes to a separate bowl.
  6. Heat remaining olive oil in a large stockpot and add onions. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes until nice and soft. Add remaining garlic and cook an additional 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium high and add white wine. Simmer for 20 minutes or so until wine is reduced by just over half.
  7. Meanwhile, mash the roasted tomatoes with your hands and then stir them into the simmering onion mixture. Using a fine mesh sieve, place the tomato seeds, cores and extra juice over the pot and press them so that all the additional tomato juice drips into the pot. Discard the seeds and skins. .
  8. Bring the sauce to a boil add the whole basil stalks (don’t chop the basil!!) and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove basil and add a tablespoon of salt and lemon juice. Cook 5 minutes more.
  9. Ladle marinara sauce into 6 quart size sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the tops of the jars with a clean, wet paper towel. Center a lid on each jar and screw band on just finger tight. Process jars in a hot water bath for 40 minutes.


For each 1000 feet of altitude over 3000 feet, add 5 minutes of processing time. At 7000 feet, I processed my jars for a total of 55 minutes.