This is a ready to “heat and eat” home-canned pure bolognese-style spaghetti sauce, with ground meat in it.
This recipe requires a pressure canner. If you don’t have one, make instead a pasta sauce for canning in a boiling water canner, and fry up ground meat to add at the time of serving.
See also: All pasta-sauce recipes for canning; Meat sauce.
There is a meatless version of this Spaghetti Sauce whose processing time is two-thirds less. (For pints, 20 minutes for meatless versus 60 minutes for this one.)
There ends up being very little meat in this sauce. Some people may decide that this version with a very small amount of meat in it may not be worth the extra time and bother. If this is your thinking, you may wish to consider instead just canning the meatless version, and canning pints of ground meat separately, then combine for serving. Or, cooking up ground beef and adding to the meatless version at time of use.
Or, if you really have your heart set on a one-jar solution, look at this Meat Sauce recipe . It has over ¾ lb (350 g) of meat in it per pint (half-litre) jar, and you can make it out of season: it uses canned tomatoes.
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: Pressure canning only
Yield: 9 x half-litre (US pint) jars
Headspace: 3 cm (1 inch)
Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)
Processing time: Half-litres (pints) 60 minutes; litres (quarts) 70 minutes
Spaghetti sauce with meat
- 14 kg tomatoes (30 lbs)
- 1 kg ground beef (Or sausage meat, venison or ground turkey. 2-½ lbs)
- 175 g onion (finely chopped. 1 cup / 6 oz)
- 5 cloves garlic (washed, peeled, minced)
- 150 g celery (OR green pepper. Chopped. 1 cup / 5 oz)
- 500 g mushrooms (fresh, sliced. 1 lb / optional)
- 2 tablespoons oregano dried
- 1 ½ tablespoons salt (OR non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub)
- 2 tablespoons marjoram (dried. optional)
- 4 teaspoons parsley (dried, optional)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- Hull and peel the tomatoes.
- Remove cores and quarter tomatoes.
- Add to large pot.
- Boil 20 minutes, uncovered, then press through sieve or food mill.
- Spray a large skill lightly with cooking spray. Add ground beef, let cook 3 to 5 minutes till it starts releasing juices.
- Add the onion, green pepper, and mushrooms (optional). Let cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and the mushroom slices have shrunk. Add to the tomatoes.
- Add the seasoning from the oregano down to the black pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and let simmer uncovered until reduced by half. This will take 2 to 3 hours, so you may want to do this at off-peak rates if they apply where you live.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Ladle into either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart) jars.
- Leave 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Put in pressure canner.
- Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)
- Processing time: Half-litres (pints) 60 minutes; litres (quarts) 70 minutes
Processing guidelines below are for weighted-gauge pressure canner. See also if applicable: Dial-gauge pressures.
|Jar Size||Time||0 to 300 m (0 - 1000 feet) pressure||Above 300 m (1000 ft) pressure|
|½ litre (1 US pint)||60 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
|1 litre (1 US quart)||70 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
How to peel tomatoes.
How to pressure can.
When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.
More information about Salt-Free Canning in general.
More information about canning tomatoes in general.
- Yes, you must peel the tomatoes. The processing time was developed based on the assumption that you reduced the bacterial load by peeling the tomatoes.
- The USDA warns not to increase the amount of onion, pepper and mushroom. However, at time of use, when you open a jar of this spaghetti sauce, you may adjust it however you need to for the exact dish you are making. For instance, you could stir in a jar of drained, home-canned mushrooms or peppers .
- Instead of green pepper, you can use 125 g (1 cup / 4 oz ) of finely chopped celery. But you can’t use both, owing to the warning above about increasing vegetables.
- To save work on sauce day, you could do the ground meat and veggie part the day before, and refrigerate overnight.
- Instead of 4 teaspoons of dried parsley, you can use 4 tablespoons of fresh, minced.
- Instead of 14 kg of fresh tomatoes, you could use canned tomatoes. The University of Alaska extension gives this direction for the recipe with canned tomatoes: “7 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes, drain through a sieve if very watery.” Suggestion and measurements for canned comes from: Lewis, Sarah. Canning Soups and Sauces. UAF Cooperative Extension, Juneau District. Family and Community Development Faculty. November, 2014. Page 4. That equals in total 6 litres / quarts of canned tomatoes. What commercial manufacturers mean by crushed varies. Some manufacturers mean chunks in a watery juice, as in diced or chunks, others mean more like a smooth, thick tomato sauce. Those sauce-type brands will entail less simmering. If you have home-canned tomatoes, use jars of what the USDA calls “crushed”, which is more of the chunks in a watery juice type. If you feel the mixture you end up with in the pot is too “dry” you could add another can of tomatoes: it’s okay to lower the density in a pressure canning recipe.
- Do not try to thicken this by adding tomato paste or any other thickener including starch thickeners.
- Acceptable safe ways to adjust flavouring at the end would include adding onion powder, garlic powder, salt or salt sub, black pepper, chile flakes, stevia, more brown sugar, oregano, marjoram, parsley, etc.
- The book “So Easy to Preserve” lists different kinds of meats that can be used: beef, sausage, venison or ground turkey. You can use all of one meat, or combinations. Yes, that is right, they do authorize ground turkey in this recipe: one of the rare ones where its use has been given the nod.
Spaghetti Sauce with Meat. In: Andress, Elizabeth L. and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Bulletin 989. Sixth Edition. 2014. Page 69.
Spaghetti Sauce with Meat. In: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Page 3-14.
Spaghetti Sauce with Meat. In: Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Ball / Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto: Robert Rose. 2015. Page 406.
- Swapped fresh parsley for dried;
- Added marjoram suggestion;
- Reduced oil from 4 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons to reduce Weight Watcher points;
Nutrition calculated using extra-lean ground beef.
Per 125 ml (½ cup / 4 oz):
- 137 calories, 333 mg sodium
Sugar and salt-free version
Per 125 ml (½ cup / 4 oz):
- 129 calories, 42 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 3 points.
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.
|↑1||Suggestion and measurements for canned comes from: Lewis, Sarah. Canning Soups and Sauces. UAF Cooperative Extension, Juneau District. Family and Community Development Faculty. November, 2014. Page 4.|
If you just use the meat in the base of the sauce, and then remove it, do you still need the pressure cooker or can you do the water bath method?
You would still need to pressure can.
I’m curious as to why the cooking times for this recipe are different from the standard 75 / 90. There is meat in this recipe which usually requires longer cooking times. Any idea?
If we had to surmise, the surmise would be that it’s likely because there’s only a small amount of meat in a sauce which would allow for more rapid and thorough heat penetration, and that lab testing revealed that that meat was receiving sufficient heat penetration to sterilize it thoroughly. You’ll see this in several recipes which have a small amount of meat in them.
is it safe to replace the peppers with carrots in this recipe? Is there a guideline to what type of vegetable tweaking is okay? E.g. replacing bell peppers with celery is safe, replacing it with something else wouldn’t be safe.
That recipe is from the USDA so you could ask the National Center about swapping peppers with celery, though I suspect they will say that canning recipes are meant to be followed as written. Everything we have been able to find out about tweaking of recipes, is on this page: Safe Tweaking.
Why do we not need to add an acidifier to this recipe but we do for tomatoes we pressure can without meat.and other non acidic additions like peppers and mushrooms. Could we remove those and can just tomatoes at this time and pressure?
Hi Katie, that topic is covered here: https://www.healthycanning.com/why-do-some-tomato-products-need-acidification-but-not-others/
Hello, I love the idea of making this but am curious whether it will be safe to add fresh basil & dried fennel to it? I always like to add these things to my sauces. I have a pressure canner. Thanks!
For guidance, see safe tweaking page: https://www.healthycanning.com/safe-tweaking-of-home-canning-recipes/
This sounds really good, are you recipes tested for safety?
See section called “Recipe Source”
Can I safely add more ground meat?
No. If you want a recipe with higher meat content, use this recipe instead: https://www.healthycanning.com/meat-sauce/
I need a great spaghetti sauce with ground beef and mushrooms that does not take forever to get into the jars.
See this page for various home-canned spaghetti sauce ideas.
Can you use ALL onions instead of green peppers or celery? Also, I read so many canning recipes where you have to add citric acid, lemon juice or vinegar to each jar before canning. I am reluctant to do this as it will change the flavor of the sauce.
Most people wouldn’t agree about the flavour change, but taste is a personal thing and “de gustibus non est disputandum.” In any event, this recipe doesn’t call for it.
It’s safe to omit the green pepper and celery. As to whether you can instead use onion in their place, ask a Master Food Preserver, as they are trained in USDA recipes such as this one. Here’s a link to FB groups for them, they are always eager to help : https://www.healthycanning.com/master-food-preserver-help-groups/
This is a delicious pasta sauce and well worth the effort gaining experience in. Good luck!
Can you use jarred spaghetti sauce
Just buy jars of spaghetti sauce with meat already in it.
Can I pressure can 1/2 pint jars spaghetti meat sauce. For how long.
When you use a smaller jar, process for the same processing time as for the suggested jar size, unless a separate processing time for the smaller jar is given. So, in this case, use the processing time for pint jars. See: Jar sizes.
The reason you add lemon juice or vinegar to the jar is too increase acid levels to protect from botulism. This is why it is very important not to deviate from the recipe when using a boiling water bath. In this recipes case you are pressure canning (higher temperature) and thus killing even botulism spores in the process so we need not worry about the low acid (no adding lemon juice) or altering the recipe as you wish for the most part. Most all canning with meat needs to be pressure canned as meat is very low acid.
In short, don’t add lemon juice or vinegar as it is not needed when pressure canning.