It's the most wonderful time of the year… no… not THAT time of the year. It's pepper harvest time! WOOHOO!! Granted, you'll find us getting just as excited over tomato harvest, corn harvest, Brussels sprouts… you get the picture.

Right now though, as we stroll through the markets, we're seeing the welcome sight of peppers in all shapes and sizes starting to come on. Shades of reds and greens, yellows and oranges… it's definitely time to start taking advantage of this variety and availability of fresh peppers.

One of our favorite uses for this peppery bounty is our pepper sauce. (Wait… what? Oh… that's another post… sorry 'bout that…)

One of our favorite uses for this peppery bounty is our pepper jelly. (That's the right one for this week? Okay… good…) Along with our peach salsa and garlic plum sauce, this is one of our most requested recipes so we thought we'd just put it out there for y'all. Make it hot or make it sweet… just make a batch right now and enjoy it all winter.

Today’s episode is one that is near and dear to our hearts: Tomato Canning.  We always have a few dozen jars of home canned tomatoes in our pantry to use in everything from Chili to Lasagna.  Tomatoes are a staple in our house so it was important that we learned the right way to put them up… but being the kind of guys that have a lot of other things to do we also needed the process to be fast and easy.

Without further adieu here is a step by step tutorial for canning your own tomato sauce. Although there are many canning options available, for ease and no fail results start with water bath canning. These instructions are only good for tomatoes… for other fruits and veggies please consult the Ball Blue Book of Canning.

Supplies Checklist
Items on this list can be found in your local grocery or hardware store during spring and summer or online anytime.  They can also be found in our Amazon Affiliate Store.

  • Glass jars: Pint or quart size jars produced for canning purposes only. Don’t reuse mayo or jelly jars: they’re usually made of thinner glass and can easily break.
  • Rings and lids (flats): Either regular or wide mouth lids will work fine for tomato sauce/puree like we are making today. Make sure you purchase the right size to fit your jars.
  • Large Stock/Stew Pot or Big Ol’ Slow Cooker (We use 2 slow cookers… but we’re a little crazy)
  • Water bath canner or large stock pot:  A water bath canner is larger than most stock pots and has a rack on which the jars sit. Check your grandmother’s attic… I bet she has an extra one. If you don’t want to invest in a canner, any lidded stock pot will work as long as it can be filled with enough water to cover the jars, plus an additional 2 inches of water.
  • Funnel, non-metallic spatula, and jar lifter: All can be purchased in a single kit. Don’t attempt canning without these, in particular the jar lifter. It costs about $20 for a kit with everything in it. You can purchase a complete set online at
  • Immersion Blender aka Stick Blender
  • Fresh, fully ripe tomatoes: You’ll need roughly 20 pounds of tomatoes for a canner load of 6 quarts, or 13 pounds for a canner load of 8 pints.
  • Clean kitchen towels
  • Bottled lemon juice
  • Timer