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Making & Canning Marinara Sauce, Quart Jars

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Marinara comes from the Italian word for sailor "marinaio" and is traced to Naples in the 16th century. Experts state it was made in the port of Naples for storage on ships. Canning, as we know it, wasn't developed until the early 19th century, so onions would not have been included in a stored marinara on board a ship.

If marinara sauce had been stored in jars or casks, the top of the sauce may have had a layer of olive oil to seal it from air exposure, which would account for the high quantity of olive oil in most recipes. We don't believe the original recipe would have used an excessive amount of olive oil in preparation, only in conservation. In our canning recipe, we recommend making marinara sauce for canning with a light amount of olive oil and then adding additional fresh olive oil when finishing the dish. We list the salt and pepper as optional for certain diet restrictions.

This marinara sauce should ONLY be made in the with the freshest and ripest of tomatoes, when the tomatoes and basil are at the height of their ripening season. This is usually from July 15th to the end of August in the northern hemisphere.

Note that we use a lot of garlic in this marinara sauce canning recipe. You may try the 1 pint marinara sauce recipe for dinner as a test before canning.

Make sure to see other tomato canning recipes, including canning tomatoes in quart jars, low acid tomato sauce recipes or tomato sauce with meat at our Canning Tomatoes (Recipes) page. Also, see Making and Canning Marinara Sauce in Pint Jars.


1 Quart

6 Quarts

7 Quarts 8 Quarts 9 Quarts 10 Quarts 11 Quarts 12 Quarts
Fresh Tomatoes

5 lbs.

30 lbs.

35 lbs.

40 lbs.

45 lbs.

50 lbs.

55 lbs.

60 lbs.

Olive Oil 1 Tbsp. 1/4 cup 1/4 cup 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. 1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp. 1/2 cup
Garlic 4 cloves 24 cloves 28 cloves 32 cloves 36 cloves 40 cloves 44 cloves 48 cloves
Small Minced Onion (optional) 2/3 onion 4 onions 4-2/3 onions 5-1/3 onions 6 onions 6-2/3 onions 7-1/3 onions 8 onions
Chopped Fresh Basil 1/2 cup 3cups 3-1/2 cups 4 cups 4-1/2 cups 5 cups 5-1/2 cups 6 cups
Bottled Lemon Juice 2 tablespoons per quart, 3 tablespoons if using onion
Salt (Optional) 1 teaspoon per pint
Pepper (Optional) 1 teaspoon per pint

    Yields will vary based on the water content of the tomatoes.

    Before beginning, wash tomatoes, cut away stems and discolored portion of tomatoes.

    1. Blanch, peel and deseed the tomatoes.
    2. Chop tomatoes.
    3. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan.
    4. Peel and mince garlic. Add to olive oil sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
    5. Add optional onion and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until transleucent.
    6. Add chopped tomatoes.
    7. Bring the tomatoes to a simmer and cook until reduced by one third to one half, depending on your preference for thickness.
    8. Add fresh basil at the end of the simmering process, or about 5 minutes before you are ready to can.

    For canning:

    1. Add bottled lemon juice to each empty pint canning jar, plus optional salt and pepper.
    2. Canning using hot pack method with 1/2" of headspace
    3. Processing with a Water Bath for 40 minutes for quart jars, at 212 degrees.
    4. For elevations above 1,000 foot level see Altitude Time Adjustments.
    5. After processing, place the jars on a towel, separated by 1" to cool.
    6. Labeling and Storing

    Equipment Needed:

    This recipe is not tested by the USDA, but follows USDA guidelines for canning and processing time.

    Video and instructions for canning tomatoes at home, making and canning homemade tomato sauces and homemade salsa canning recipes.

    Video 3: Home Canning Tomatoes, Home Canning Tomato Sauce,Home Canning Whole Tomatoes, Home Canning Crushed Tomatoes, Home Canning Salsa

    This third video will teach you how to use a waterbath canner for home canning tomatoes in several ways; home canning whole tomatoes, home canning diced tomatoes, home canning tomato sauces and home canning salsa.


    Peel, quarter and remove the seeds.Combine water, spices, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a large, heavy pan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring continuously to avoid lumping of cornstarch.Add fruit and bring up to simmer, cooking for about five minutes, stirring continuously.
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