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27 Things I Make Instead of Buy to Save Money

Are you looking for ways to save money? You're not alone! It can be tough to keep up with when you have surprise expenses.  By changing some of our daily habits, my family started to make some of our household items instead of buy them to help use reduce waste, save money, and frankly because it can be more convenient. I added the items on this list bit by bit over the years. Please do not think you have to make everything all at once! Sometimes I don’t have to make more of something because I made a bit too much the first time and we are still going through it (looking at you Must Can All the Jam! bender a few years ago.) Other times, it’s a one and done kind of thing like sewing on a button, and sometimes I buy the item instead of making it (like yogurt) because I’m too busy with other life things to keep up with the supply and demand.   Save this list of money saving ideas to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share it with your friends!  In othe

How to Make and Can Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce the Easy Way!

Normally I like to use Roma tomatoes to make tomato sauce because I think they are a little sweeter instead of the epic load of Beefsteak tomatoes I bought for a song at a farm stand on their last day of the season but it can be done and taste delicious! My husband said it would be more work to use Beefsteak tomatoes to make and can them into tomato sauce but it really wasn’t. AND it doesn’t a fancy food mill or tomato strainer either!

Basically because I don’t have one.

how to can blender tomato sauce
Save this home canning recipe and tutorial to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share it with your friends!

I wish I could tell you that this a quick, easy, and lazy way to can tomato sauce but with 30 pounds of tomatoes to preserve, it was still work.  However there are a few tasty shortcuts you can safely make when preparing your tomatoes and making the sauce to make up for the canning process that for safety’s sake  you shouldn’t take any shortcuts at all.


How to Make an Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe the Lazy Way

 There are a ton of thick, flavorful Italian tomato sauce recipes out there for canning.

This is not one of them.

My goal is to make and can a mildly flavored tomato sauce similar to the kind you buy in the little 8 ounce can at the grocery store. That way, I can use it to make a variety of recipes instead of only Italian recipes if I flavor it like a spaghetti sauce – although you can if you like. One of the things I absolutely recommend that you use throughout this process is several good kitchen timers like this one. There were times I had 3-4 different timers going to time items going at different stages of the process.  (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

Also, streaming your favorite music helps loads. I like use Amazon Music Unlimited. You can get an Amazon Music Unlimited FREE trial here!


Easy Blender Tomato Sauce Recipe

1. Wash, core, and cut the stem and any bad or bruised spots off of the tomatoes.  I recommend using a tomato knife like this one because it is designed specifically to cut squishy  tomatoes without smashing them like a regular knife does.


How to peel tomatoes the lazy way
Slicing and dicing!

2. Drizzle a baking dish with olive oil (I buy my olive oil by the gallon here) to keep the fruit from sticking, put the tomato into the baking pan, top with another drizzle of olive oil to keep them from burning, and a few shakes of garlic powder (you can find garlic powder here,) onion powder (you can find onion powder here,) and salt. I didn’t measure the amounts but you can if you like. I measured with my heart – as one does when it comes to garlic.


easy oven roasted tomato recipe
The tomato skins are so much easier to peel after they come out of the oven!

3. Bake the tomatoes in a 350 degree (F ) oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Personally I think the tomatoes are a little more flavorful if you oven roast them for a full hour. In this case,  I had so many tomatoes to process I found it easier to be organized if I worked in 40 minute increments based on the how long my pint jars of tomato sauce need to be in the water bath canner. 


4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and put them into a blender. I find that using a spider strainer like this one makes scooping soft tomatoes from the dish easier. You can also  pour the leftover olive oil and tomato juices from the pan into the blender. Olive really makes tomato sauce recipes sing! Use the food chop function on your blender to thoroughly chop the tomatoes. Then use the Blend function to turn the skin, seeds, pulp, and juice into sauce. Yep. I thoroughly blend all parts tomato into a sauce. I don’t strain it. I don’t food mill it. I don’t think the skins or seeds make a difference one way or the other in taste (and frankly no one has notices.) 

quick and easy blender tomato sauce recipe

I don’t even have a fancy Vitamix blender like this one. I have a good Oster blender that blends fruit skins so well in smoothies I don’t even notice them in my drink. Oster discontinued the model of my blender buy you can buy a similar high speed Oster blender here. It is definitely worth the upgrade! 


5. Pour the tomato sauce from the blender and into a pot on the stove. Reduce the water in the tomato sauce by allowing it to simmer on the stove for 30 to 40 minutes.  Once about half of the water has been reduced from the sauce it is time to can it.


How to Can Tomato Sauce

You will need:


Food grade citric acid powder for canning


Canning Jars – you can use whatever size canning jar is best for you. Most use pint or quart jars. I am using jelly jars which are half pints. The only difference is that the size of the jar determines how long it has to be in the water bath canner.


New canning jar lids – you cannot safely reuse canning jar lids! The lids will not seal properly and could lead to botulism growing in your preserves!


Canning jar rings – I like these stainless steel canning jar rings because they are less likely to rust.


Canning funnel – I like this graduated canning funnel because it has a removable filter!


Water bath canner


Canning jar lifter




This tutorial is based on the directions from Ball. If you unsure about how to safely water bath can tomato sauce I recommend you buy The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving here. It is the Gold Standard for all information about canning and preserving food safely!


Step by Step How to Can Tomato Sauce Tutorial

1. You will first need to clean and sterilize your mason jars and jar rings. It also helps to work with hot to warm jars when canning food because hot food or  a pot of hot water can make room temperature jars crack. I use my dishwasher to clean, sterilize, and keep my jars,\ and canning jar rings warm while I am canning.


2. You will also need to warm up the brown enamel ring on the underside of your NEW canning jar lids (also called disks) so the lid will create a proper airtight seal when being processed in the water bath canner. I keep mine in a hot pot of water on the stove while I’m canning. To keep from burning your fingers, you can remove the lids from the hot water with a magnetic lid lifter (it looks like this.) I use a silicone oven mitt similar to  this one even though it is a little kludgey I use it mostly because  I keep forgetting to buy a lid wand until I’m in the middle of a home canning project and realize, “hey I should buy a jar wand.”

how to can tomato sauce
You might want to open a window because as you can see from the photo, every pot you use for canning is going to create steam in your kitchen.

Warning: You cannot reuse canning jar lid (disks) to can food! You risk the jars not sealing completely which can lead to dangerous bacteria growing in your canned goods.


3. Water bath canning is only for acidic fruits (tomatoes have seeds. That makes tomatoes a fruit even though we treat it like a vegetable.) We need to make sure our sauce is acidic enough to safely can by adding food grade citric acid or lemon juice to each jar before we ladle in the sauce. How much you need to use will depend upon the size of the jar you are using.


  • Pint jar -  Add 1/4 teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice


  • Quart jar - Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid or 2 tablespoons lemon juice

how to can blender tomato sauce recipe
I searched the Ball book and several state extension office websites to find out how much citric acid I needed to add to half pint jars and couldn’t find it. I added the same amount as the Pint jar recommendation.


4.  Using a canning funnel, ladle warm tomato sauce into hot/warm jar, leaving 1/2 and inch of headspace from the sauce to the top of the canning jar. Remove the air bubbles from the sauce with an air bubble removal tool (it looks like this.) Wipe any excess tomato sauce from the outside and top of the jar to allow the jar to seal properly. Cap the jar with a warm canning jar lid and ring. Screw the ring onto the jar to fingertip tight. The jar is now ready to be processed in the water bath canner.


how to make and can oven roasted tomato sauce
The red pot in the background is a second canner.

5. Place the jars on the rack in the water bath canner full of boiling water. Make sure the water covers the top of jars by at least 1 inch. How long the jars of tomato sauce need to be processed in the water bath canner again depends upon the size of the jar and the altitude of where you can canning them. Check your local state extension office for the proper water bath canning time for your altitude. It may differ from mine. Since I am using both half pint and pint jars (sometimes in the same rack in the canner,) I used the time for the larger jar and processed all of my  the jars in my water bath canner for 40 minutes.


6. Remove the jars from the water bath using the canning jar lifter. Hold your breath until you hear the lids seal with a pop!


7. Repeat forever until you run out of tomato sauce, jars, lids, rings, or sanity.

Looking for more tomato canning tips, tools, and ideas? Check out the following optons - and more! below!

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Liz said…
Great tips, thank you for sharing with us on Fiesta Friday.