Makes 8-10 500 ml (16 oz) jars
- 4 – 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced or chopped small in food processor
- 3 cups sweet pepper (any kind), diced small**
- 10-20 cloves garlic, minced
- 22 cups of washed, peeled or unpeeled*, diced small**green tomatoes
- 10 Tbsp spaghetti sauce spice****
- 3 cups tomato juice (24 oz or 750 ml)
- 2 cups water (16 oz or 500 ml)
- 1/8 cup sugar (25 grams or 31 ml measuring spoon full)
- 1 Tbsp salt (20 grams or a 15 ml measuring spoon full)
- 1 tube (200 gram) of tomato paste (or equivalent, approx. 7 ounces or 200 ml)
- 1.5 Tbsp dried crushed basil leaves(1.5 grams or 22 ml measuring spoon full)***
- 2 Tbsp dried crushed oregano leaves (2 grams or 30 ml measuring spoon full)***
- 1 cup red wine (optional – suggest something strong and dry like a Shiraz, but any will work fine)
Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute onions, garlic, peppers and spice (not the herbs) until onions soften.
Add the tomatoes and toss to coat with the other ingredients. Add the water and tomato juice, mix well, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it has all softened nicely and begun to reduced in volume.
Prepare your jars (about 8-10 500 ml (16 ounce) and their accompanying lids): wash bottles and lids with hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly with hot water, then rinse again for good measure. Put jars and lids into large pot and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize. Set aside and keep hot.
Continue cooking the sauce until it has almost reached the thickened consistency that you prefer. This may take up to an hour depending on your appliance and pot. If you like a super chunky sauce, proceed to step 6.
CAREFULLY pour batches of the sauce into your blender and/or food processor (which has been sterilised prior to use) and process to a consistency you like. I do a bit of both, making a combination of smooth sauce and slightly less smooth sauce and then combine them back into the same pot.
Add the tomato paste, red wine (optional), sugar and salt to the sauce and continue cooking gently until it reaches the consistency you like for your pasta sauce, then add the dried herbs and cook for another couple of minutes.
Carefully pour or spoon the sauce into the sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Carefully wipe the rims and threads to ensure there is no sauce on them that would prevent a good seal. Put the lids on and tighten, but don’t pull a muscle tightening them too tight!
At this point you should process in boiling water (canner) for 10 minutes.
Carefully move jars to an out-of-the-way area where they won’t get bumped, and allow to cool completely.
Once jars are cold, wipe them all down with a clean damp cloth to remove any sauce on the outside of the bottle. Check the lids. Any jars with lids that have not popped down should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a week. Label all the other jars and store in cold cellar or other cool dark area where you keep your preserves.
Where’s the Meat?
This sauce is vegan, however if you prefer meat or TVP in your pasta sauce, when you go to use the sauce, cook your meat or TVP and add it at that point. You cannot safely can spaghetti sauce with meat in it unless you use a pressurecanner!
Talk to me about sugar and salt!
You will find recipes with considerably more salt and sugar in them. I prefer to eat as little salt and sugar as possible, so do not add a lot to anything I cook (baking is another story!). If you want to add more to taste, by all means do so.
* When cooking a sauce like this I rarely put myself through the tedious task of plunging the tomatoes into boiling water and peeling them – I chop them small, so when cooked, any peel in unnoticeable, and I get the added bonus of extra fibre! Please note, the measurement is of the usable chopped tomatoes themselves (measure as you go), not of whole tomatoes before chopping!
** As I have readers around the world, I do try to put measurements in all formats, however I do not always weigh ingredients as I prefer to work with North American measuring cups and spoons. So unfortunately, I cannot tell you what these ingredients are in a bushel or peck or ounces or grams as I did not weigh them. If you do not have North American measuring cups on hand, the easiest solution is to find a cup or mug that holds 240 – 250 ml of water and use that as your measuring “cup”.
*** You will notice this recipe calls for dried herbs, as opposed to my usual mantra of fresh herbs only. You are free to use fresh herbs (just triple or quadruple the amounts in volume, not weight). I used dried as I find that fresh herbs are a luxury and flavour is best uncooked or slightly cooked at most, so when I am making something that is cooked/processed like this, I use dried.
**** My spaghetti sauce spice came from the spice market in Istanbul. I have no idea what is in it, but judging from the taste I would guess it has paprika, oregano, basil, parsley and dried garlic in it.