Canning Pasta Sauce for Long Term Preservation

Ashley Hetrick
By Ashley Hetrick August 24, 2017 09:13

Canning Pasta Sauce for Long Term Preservation

Simple, easy to cook meals with minimal preparation and cleanup are ideal in a survival situation. Pasta cooks quickly with just heat and water, and it can last for decades if stored properly. Canned pasta sauce doesn’t last a lifetime, but it’ll retain peak flavor for about 2 years after canning, and will be perfectly fine to eat for at least 5 years, likely much longer.

The addition of a flavorful and hearty pasta sauce not only adds variety to your pasta, it also adds much needed calories and nutrition.  Rather than canning up a simple light low calorie marinara, I like to make a hearty sauce that transforms simple pasta into a feast just by popping open one shelf stable jar. Even if you have nothing else at hand, just a single quart jar and a pound of pasta is a full satisfying meal for four adults in an emergency.

Related: Pressure-Canning Hamburger Meat for Long Term Preservation

Consider adding mushrooms, onions, peppers or other vegetables to your sauce to increase the nutrient content. Sauté vegetables briefly in olive oil to improve their flavor, and ensure that you’re incorporating a bit of olive oil into the sauce for both flavor and calories. Also consider adding in half a bottle of a full flavored dry Italian wine.Other Ingredients

Pasta Sauce Canning Safety

Pasta sauce can safely be canned using the water-bath method if you take the necessary steps to ensure that there’s enough acid in the sauce. While most people think of tomatoes as an acidic food, they’re actually much less acidic than most fruits that are being water-bathed canned. Your average tomato is right on the borderline for acceptable pH level, and once you add in other high pH ingredients like onions and mushrooms, the sauce will have to be acidified to ensure safe canning.

Most canning instructions will have you put a tablespoon of lemon juice into the bottom of jars before filling. The lemon juice acidifies the sauce, and ensures that it’s within the acceptable range for water bath canning. The juice is put directly into the jar because it’s hard to estimate exactly how much sauce you have in your sauce pot, and it’s safer to directly add a tablespoon to each pint jar or 2 tablespoons to each quart. I prefer to add balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice because the flavor in the balsamic vinegar complements the sauce.

If you’re worried about whether or not your recipe is acidic enough and don’t want to change the flavor by adding additional acid, pressure canning is a sure fire way to sterilize just about any pasta sauce recipe. Keep in mind that any recipes that contain meat must be pressure canned, as you cannot water-bath-can meat products. But to be sure your food is safe for consumption, you should check the government’s instructions and recommendations here.

Related: Debunking Expiration Dates: What You Need to Know

How to Water-Bath Can Pasta Sauce

Fresh or canned tomatoes are both acceptable for home made pasta sauce. If you’re using fresh tomatoes, they should be peeled and seeded. The peels and seeds cause the sauce to be bitter and will give it an off flavor over time as it’s stored in your pantry. Peel the tomatoes by dropping them into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds and then removing them into a sink full of cold water. The heat shock will make it very easy for you to slide the skins off with your fingers.

Once the tomatoes are peeled, slice them in half along their equator to expose all the seed pockets. Hold them over a bowl and squeeze the tomatoes half in your hand to squeeze out the seeds. Chop the remaining tomato into chunks and put it in a pot.

Related: 10 Long Shelf-Life Canned Foods Every Prepper Should Consider Stockpiling

If you’re making a smooth marinara instead of a chunky sauce, using a home food mill saves a lot of time and effort. Chop the tomatoes with skins and seeds intact and process them through your food mill which will separate out the skins and seeds for you, leaving nothing but smooth tomato sauce.

Add the tomatoes to a large pot and simmer with herbs, spices, salt, red wine and sautéed vegetables of your choice. Cook on low until the sauce reaches a serving consistency. Cooking time will vary based on the type of tomatoes used.  For a shorter cook time and higher yield, choose roma or sauce tomatoes which have a lower water content.

Ladle the sauce into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Attach lids and bands, and process in a water bath canner 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts.

Allow to cool, and remove canning rings for storage.

Related: How to Make Your Own Rocket Stoves (Tin Can & Long Burner Rocket Stoves)

Choosing a Recipe

Taste in sauce varies dramatically from family to family. Try out a few different recipes for home use without canning them and once you’ve found a version you enjoy, increase the batch size, add enough acid for safe water bath canning and get to preserving. For a place to start, try this recipe below:

Pasta Sauce Recipe for Canning

Yield: Roughly 9 Pints

  • 30 lbs tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery or green peppers
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 4 tbsp minced parsley
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 T lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for each pint canning jar
Jars Ready for Canning

Jars Ready for Canning

Add peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes to a large pot and simmer. Tomatoes Peeled, Seeded and Chopped

In another pan, sauté onions, garlic, peppers and mushrooms until browned. Add sautéed vegetables to the tomatoes, along with remaining herbs, spices, salt, oil and wine.Adding Red Wine Simmer on low until it reaches the desired consistency. Process for canning.Filling Canning Jars

And here’s the finished product:

Canned Pasta Sauce

Don’t forget to give yourself a big pat on the back.  This is a lot of work, but nothing better than popping the seal and enjoying the fruits of your labor or even sharing them with friends and family!

You may also like:

banner aquaponics23 Things a Prepper Should Never Throw Away. Why?

This Killer-Bug Is Set To Reach The US by The End of 2017 (video)

How To Make Survival Dandelion Jelly (2 yrs Shelf Life)

This Common Household Cleaner Has Over 50 Survival Uses

Pioneer Recipes That Survived The California Trail

Please Spread The Word - Share This Post
Ashley Hetrick
By Ashley Hetrick August 24, 2017 09:13
Write a comment


  1. Tena December 25, 20:18

    I don’t use wine in my cooking; I use Concord grape juice or white grape juice instead. It seems to work just as well; but is its acid level still ok for water bath canning for pasta?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tena January 9, 19:14

      For white wine you can use white cranberry juice.

      Reply to this comment
    • Martini September 17, 13:41

      My husband adds grape jelly to his spaghetti sauce (which is raved about by all who taste it).

      Reply to this comment
      • Country_Grl February 28, 19:42

        Martini – I was curious if the grape jelly that your husband uses for his spaghetti sauce was to replace another typical ingredient? Also, does he add any dry red wine as well, or just the grape jelly? Thank you!

        Reply to this comment
  2. bee January 18, 18:21

    I make may sauce with paul newman sauce , stewed canned tomatoes, tomato past and seasoning.
    lazy cook, but is very good.
    can I safly can this with hot water bath. if so how long will sealed jars last.

    Reply to this comment
  3. ldswoman February 8, 00:07

    you seem to be advocating a unproven water bath canning method. please change method to pressure canning as outlined in the National Center for Home Food Preservation!!!

    Reply to this comment
    • Rich August 29, 14:51

      These are old-time recipes. Your grandmother and older relatives would have done it this way on a coal or wood stove. If you are in a SHTF situation, you might not have the luxury of electricity for pressure canning. You still have to eat, and I doubt that anyone from a government agency will be checking to see if you are using APPROVED cooking or canning methods! This is a SURVIVAL article.

      Reply to this comment
      • Pam August 29, 22:30

        The only thing that matters in food preservation is safety from botulism. If you want to can foods without doing it safely, may I suggest dehydration instead? You can do it with almost all foods but without any botulism danger. Remember, people may look up to you as the person with all the answers. Don’t risk their lives assuring them that your methods or their methods are fine when they avoid good food safety techniques…

        Reply to this comment
  4. star March 6, 14:45

    Tomatoes are acidic and can be canned in a water bath. In the old days they put hay in a big boil pot filled jars with tomatoes minus lids put them in the hay to keep them upright and cooked that way then put lids on and stored . Some may say you cant do this you cant do that well oh our grandparents lived thru it . I myself do water bath canning other times i dont i just cook the food in a pot say for example chutneys , yes even veg chutneys as a lot of vinegar is added it is acidic , i boil my jars and lids add the food to it let seal then i eat it ! have not had any poison yet . Take green beans non acidic okay well one can make it acidic add a little vinegar to each jar and boiling water bath it . again never hurt me ! I have canned foods that is yrs old i canned i still eat and yes i can a lot . So do your research on what they did in the old days and you will learn a lot,

    Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment


Follow Us