This recipe is a bit of a cross between pasta sauce and crushed tomatoes. It’s a little thicker than crushed tomatoes, so you should be able to use it as a pasta sauce with just a slight bit of simmering in a pot. It’s delicious: it’s got garlic, onion, olive oil and oregano in it. Just a classic Italian combo!
This is an older recipe that has been carried forward in various Ball Blue book editions for some time now. The exact roasting procedure for the tomatoes that Ball suggested didn’t work as well for us as does the newer roasting steps they are using in their more newly-minted books. So the second time, we followed their more recent steps for the tomato roasting part. See Recipe Notes if you are interested.
This is a tested recipe from Ball. (Yes, it’s safe to use oil in tested recipes that call for it.)
If you wish to double or triple the batch, just do the math first on paper.
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (pint) jars OR litre (quart) jars
Processing method: Water-bath canning
Yield: 4 x litre (quart) jars
Headspace: 2 cm (1/2 inch)
Processing time: Either size of jar for 85 minutes. Adjust time for altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.
Note: we haven’t listed steam canning as an option for the processing method as researchers recommend steam canning sessions no longer than 45 minutes for fear that some smaller models of steam canners may run dry.
Yield: 4 x litre (quart) jars
Serving size: 1 cup (250 ml / 8 oz)
Fat: 8 g
- 250 g peeled, chopped onion (1½ cups / ½ lb)
- 6 kg Roma tomatoes (12 lbs)
- 4 bulbs of garlic
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt OR non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Citric acid OR bottled lemon juice
- Peel onion, chop, set aside
- Wash tomatoes. Roast tomatoes on a grill or under a broiler, turning as needed, to blister all sides. Put the hot tomatoes into a paper bag, close the bag, and let the tomatoes sit in it for about 15 minutes.
- In theory, the peels should be easy to peel now. (They weren't: see recipe notes.)
- Peel tomatoes, and core them.
- Cut tomatoes in half, seed them.
- Cut tomatoes into 2 cm (1/2 inch) chunks, add to a large pot.
- Place whole unpeeled whole garlic bulbs on a piece of tin foil. Drizzle the oil on them. Seal them in the foil. Bake in oven at 175 C / 350 F for 30 minutes, or until tender.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Separate cloves and peel.
- In your large pot, combine the onion, tomato, garlic, and all remaining ingredients except the citric acid / lemon juice.
- Bring pot to a boil, then lower to medium heat until mixture is piping hot. (Caution: pot bottom can scorch easily.)
- Ladle hot tomatoes into heated half-litre (pint) OR litre (quart) jars.
- Leave 2 cm (1/2 inch) headspace.
- To half-litre jars, add ¼ teaspoon citric acid OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- To litre (quart) jars, add ½ teaspoon citric acid OR 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Debubble, adjust headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Process in a water bath canner.
- Process either size of jar for 85 minutes.
How to water bath process.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
For salt substitute, Herbamare Sodium-Free was used as it is non-bitter and non-clouding.
Alternative roasting procedure
We found Ball’s suggested roasting and peeling method for this recipe to be labour intensive. The “paper bag” treatment left tons of skin stuff on and led to an hour or so of very frustrating pick-picking to try to get it off. So, the second time around making this, we borrowed the more straight-forward roasting methods that Ball is now advocating in its more recently published recipes. Here’s how we approached the roasting the second time around.
- TOMATOES: Washed tomatoes, cored them. Cut in half lengthwise (top to bottom.) Used spoon and / or fingers to dig out seed sacs. Placed tomato halves upside down on baking sheets lined with tin foil (for easier cleanup, optional.) Baked at 175 C / 350 F for approximately 25 minutes or until skins started to wrinkle and char. Removed from oven, let cool to be safe to handle. Then pinched peels off. Gathered up tomatoes, chopped. Put in pot. Poured into pot any juice on the tray.
- ONION: Took 1 medium and 1 small onion (equals 1 1/2 cups when peeled and chopped.) Washed. Left the peel on. Cut in half, placed cut side down on tray to roast with the tomatoes as per above. Then, when cooled, peeled and chopped it.
- GARLIC: We just roasted it with the tomatoes as per above.
- And then pick up recipe at step 10 above, where everything gets combined, etc.
- Instead of Roma, you can use another paste-type tomato.
- Yes, they mean whole bulbs of garlic, as in a bunch of cloves. Feel free to dial that back, or leave out entirely if your audience is not big garlic fans.
- Instead of bulbs of garlic, you could use 2 tablespoons minced garlic from a jar, skipping the oven stage and adding directly to the pot.
- Instead of fresh oregano, you could use half a tablespoon of dried.
- The citric acid / lemon juice, and the heat processing, is what assures the safety of this recipe. Don’t skip either step.
- If you have a heat diffuser, you might wish to use it during the simmering stage to prevent scorching.
- The seasoning is something you can safely change to suit your taste, provided you stick to dried herbs. You could for instance use lime juice instead of lemon juice, and some ground cumin etc to give it a Mexican spin. (Lime juice is even more acidic than lemon juice, so you can safely make the swap in that direction.)
- We saved the tomato peels for dehydrating and then grinding into tomato powder.
- Roasted Roma Tomatoes. In: Ball Blue Book. Muncie, Indiana: Healthmark LLC / Jarden Home Brands. Edition 37. 2014. Page 33.
- Also appears in: Ball Canning Back to Basics. Healthmark LLC / Newell Brands. Birmingham, AL : Oxmoor House. 2017. Page 148.
Per 1 cup / 250 ml / 8 oz:
- 227 calories, 326 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 6 points
- Weight Watchers SmartPoints®: 9 points
* Nutrition info provided by MyFitnessPal
* PointsPlus™ and SmartPoints™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® registered trademarks.