I am firmly convinced that canning the marinara should be a regular family ritual. There is something special about making your own sauce from scratch for the people you love. It’s so individual to your own tastes that it really feels meaningful to complete the process and makes preparing the sauce later on for dinner an absolute breeze.
Before I learned to make marinara from scratch the basic process of making pasta for me involved buying a generic spaghetti sauce, adding fresh chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic as well as dried seasonings and cooking it forever until the flavors combined. Now that I have a sauce with everything I need in it all I have to do is brown the meat and add the sauce. When it is warm, it is ready to go. That is a massive time saver.
25lbs fresh tomatoes
4 Bell peppers
1 large bunch basil
4 bay leaves
Garlic to taste
Seasonings to taste
3 cups sliced mushrooms
24oz tomato paste
1 bottle of strawberry wine
3 tbsp of lemon juice per jar
Before considering canning anything please check out this post on the basics of canning. I cannot stress enough to not alter the ingredients in a water bath canning recipe, especially one like this involving vegetables. Also, with big recipes like this make sure you have enough pots. This is a very large recipe, the intent is to make 10 quarts of sauce. The normal 8 quart stock potI use is obviously not going to work. In order to make such a large recipe I had to use the same 16 quart stock potI normally use for canning. It was an ideal size for cooking this recipe. Unfortunately using the same pot to cook and can in can easily wreck a canning recipe. If the jars are allowed to cool too much between filling and canning you risk breakage. If at all possible avoid this, but if you have to do it, prep your boiling water in other pot so the wash and change out can be as quick as possible.
The first step is to remove the tomato skins. While skins are fine in fresh dishes, they can become rubbery and tough in preserved food. Removing the skins is extremely easy. Drop the tomatoes, a few at a time, into boiling water until you see the skin crack. This should take 30-60 seconds. Immediately submerge the tomato in a bowl of iced water. The skin should slide off with ease.
Chop the tomatoes into no larger that quarters. Coat the bottom of your pot with olive oil. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring periodically, if you like crush the fruit with your spoon to speed the process. Chop and add onions, peppers, garlic and basil. Add bay leaves and spices. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, stirring from time to time, keeping the bottom of the pot clean.
Add in mushrooms, wine and tomato paste. Simmer for another hour or until suitably thick. If you like a thicker sauce, add more tomato paste. If you plan to simmer the sauce when you make your meals leave it a little thinner. The tomato paste can go into the sauce at any time, I mostly save it until this step so that I can use the wine to clean out the cans rather than adding extra water to the sauce. You will find in using fresh tomatoes it takes a long time to reduce the water in the sauce.
Add 3 tbs of lemon juice to each jar, fill with sauce and can normally, processing for 40 minutes.