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Every year I do my best to grow a plethora of tomatoes for canning purposes. A few years ago I decided to try making some fresh, homemade spaghetti sauce. I’ve made some mistakes along the way, however I’ve learned from them and now I have this easy and delicious homemade spaghetti sauce recipe for you using garden fresh tomatoes! That’s right, the tomatoes you are growing right in your own backyard, buying from farmers markets or even picking up from the store.
Before we get started, here are a couple of helpful tips to help make your spaghetti sauce turn out the best it can.
Quick Tomato Tips
Peel your tomatoes: Make sure you peel your tomatoes. If you don’t know how to peel tomatoes I created a handy step by step tutorial. If you don’t peel your tomatoes the skill rolls up and adds an unpleasant texture to your spaghetti sauce. I thought I’d try skipping this step in order to speed up the process. Trust me, don’t skip this step. It really does make a difference.
Deseed your tomatoes. Okay, this one is more of a personal preference, but it does affect your sauce. You’ll get a more watery sauce if you don’t deseed them and you might even over cook your spaghetti sauce trying to cook it down more.
When I deseeded three of the four quarts of tomatoes I used in this recipe I was able to eliminate approximately 2 cups of liquid. That’s quite a bit when it comes to making a sauce, and trust me, you won’t miss that liquid in it! Also, I’ve heard other people say the seeds can create a bitter flavor in your sauce. I left the seeds in about one quart of the four quarts of tomatoes I did in order to boost it up to the quart mark and I didn’t notice it affecting the flavor, but I probably would have if I would have left it in all four quarts.
The flavor comes from the tomato meat not the liquid and seeds. Pay attention to what you’re using in your sauce to come up with the measurement levels. You really do want it to have more of the meaty part instead of the liquidy, seedy part. Deseeding tomatoes is easy and I included it in the tutorial for peeling tomatoes.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s create some homemade spaghetti sauce with garden fresh tomatoes!
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Garden Fresh Tomatoes
Prep and Cook Vegetables
First heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is heated add approximately 1.5 cups each of diced sweet yellow onion, green pepper, and celery. Stir to coat, then let them cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, or until onions are starting to get soft and transparent. (The size of the pot and the amount of vegetables you have will affect the cook time).
After these vegetables are tender add in a couple of teaspoons or so of garlic and stir to heat up. Next add in four quarts of peeled and deseeded tomatoes (for this batch I deseeded three quarts and left the seeds and extra liquid in one quart to help it make up to the four quart mark).
Don’t forget a Splatter Screen. Tomato based sauces and soups tend to splatter as the tomatoes cook down and bubble up. My stove is usually a mess. I always make sure I’m wearing an apron or old clothes that can handle a few extra tomato splatter stains.
After a few hours of stirring and simmering it will look a little something like this after the tomatoes cook down.
Add in a quarter to half cup of cooking Sherry or red wine if you have it. Let it simmer for another ten to fifteen minutes to cook off the alcohol and blend its flavor into the spaghetti sauce. This addition gives your sauce a little extra depth of flavor. For me it’s exactly what it needs to make it have a great flavor without a lot of extra ingredients. I like to keep my sauce fairly basic and easy to make.
I like my sauce a bit chunky, which usually means just a bit thinner. I’m okay with that. Continue cooking it down to the desired consistency (knowing it may not get extremely thick).
If you like less chunks and a thicker sauce it’s time to grab an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one, but a food processor or blender will work well too, just a little extra transfer of sauce around the kitchen. The immersion blender just goes right into the saucepan to blend everything up into smaller bits for a thicker sauce. This is how the rest of my family prefers it. Sometimes I’ll transfer just a little sauce to a smaller pot for me so we all can have our sauce the way we like. Usually I just leave it all in one pot for less dishes.
After your sauce is cooked down to the consistency you’re happy with, blended or not, it’s ready to serve. One of my favorite ways to serve up this sauce is to put the prepared spaghetti into a skillet, then top it with some sauce. I let that cook while monitoring it and stirring/tossing frequently to help the sauce cook into the pasta. If you need more liquid grab a bit of the starchy pasta water. You know you should always save back a bit of your spaghetti water when you drain it, right? Just in case.
That’s it! Your very own homemade spaghetti sauce with garden fresh tomatoes! No sugar added because the tomatoes are really sweet just the way they are. I love it!
Quick Preservation Tips
You can freeze this sauce for up to a year. When I freeze it I like to store it flat in gallon freezer safe bags. It saves space and thaws fast.
If you’re looking to can this recipe please be aware that it may not be acidic enough for a water bath canner and I would recommend using a pressure canner instead. If you add meat to this recipe you will have to use a pressure canner. Meat is never safe processed in a water bath canner.
- 4 quarts of peeled and deseeded tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 to 2 cups of diced green peppers
- 1.5 to 2 cups of diced celery
- 1.5 to 2 cups of diced sweet yellow onion
- 2 to 4 tsp minced garlic (personal preference on garlicky flavor)
- 1/4 cup dried Italian seasoning (more or less per flavor preference)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup cooking Sherry or other wine of your preference
- Peel and deseed 4 quarts of tomatoes. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot on medium heat until it starts to shimmer or is heated completely, then add in the green peppers, celery, and onion. Stir occasionally to coat with the oil and cook until soft. I usually cook until the onions are starting to go transparent. Then stir in garlic and heat an additional minute stirring to prevent garlic from burning on the bottom of the pot.
- Pour in the four quarts of tomatoes and stir to combine. Add in Italian seasoning and Sherry and allow to heat through. Reduce heat when spaghetti sauce starts to bubble and splatter. Cook for approximately 2 to 3 hours until sauce is reduced stirring occasionally and keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn. Adjust heat accordingly.
- If you would like a chunkier spaghetti sauce it's done when it reaches the consistency you are happy with. If you would like a less chunky spaghetti sauce use an immersion blender to blend the sauce to desired consistency.
- Serve with pasta.
What is your favorite thing to add in to spaghetti sauce? Tell me in the comments.