My photo
Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

For Your Information

Please watch this area for important information like updates, food recalls, polls, contests, coupons, and freebies.
  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

Popular Posts

Monday, May 19, 2008

Canning Spaghetti Sauce with Meat

Like most folks I enjoy using convenience foods from time to time. Unlike many I tend to make a lot of my own convenience foods. I've mentioned the quick meal starts I keep on hand in the freezer as well as various convenience foods I can. A couple of months ago I made a large batch of spaghetti sauce with meat . When I say large I mean about 22 quarts. Normally I make this size when doing up several trays of lasagna for the freezer. Any remaining sauce is froze for later use. This time I made the sauce for fresh eating with the full intentions of canning some of it. Why? If we were happy with the results then it would make a nice convenience product for my pantry.

Home Canned Spaghetti Sauce with Meat

Anytime I can something for the first time, I do a small batch test run. This is not for the canning process itself but rather as a quality test as to whether we like the final product. That way I can do any necessary tweaking or decide whether or not to can more based on the results. I did a test run for canning my homemade spaghetti sauce with meat. What I'm looking for in a test run is how the food reacts to canning. Some foods will change which will affect the way the food is used later. So I'm looking for flavour, consistency, texture, colour and quality. How the food looks in the jar is important as well because we eat with our eyes first. The food should visually beg to be tasted!

The test run of the spaghetti sauce with meat was six 500 ml (pint) jars processed according to the method below which follows the Ball Blue Book using my own homemade spaghetti sauce with meat. After processing the sauce was stored for a little over a month before opening and testing. I have to say I am impressed with the results. There was very little change due to the canning process.

Method: Prepare the sauce. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1 - inch headspace. Wipe the rims. Adjust the two piece lids. Process at 10 lbs pressure, 1 hr for 500 ml (pint) or 75 minutes for 1 L (quart) at altitudes up to 1,000 ft above sea level. For higher altitudes adjust pressure according to the chart found here.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Well, you just can't get any easier than this for a meal! I cooked spaghetti to al dente in salted water with a little olive oil, then drained. Anytime you use cooked tomatoes always add just a smidgen of olive oil as it releases the lycopenes from the tomatoes making them accessible to your body aka olive oil makes tomatoes healthier for you. At the same time I warmed two jars of the sauce in a saucepan on the stove. Sorry but I'm not a huge microwave fan as I do think it changes the flavour of some things. I ladled the sauce onto the hot spaghetti then garnished with fresh grated Parmesan and black pepper. Served with a tossed salad the whole meal was ready in less than 15 minutes! Oh and my husband thought I had made the sauce that day so this will be one sauce I will be canning up a lot of.

19 food lovers commented:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mom! I made homemade spaghetti this week which my brother loves. He is in the military and is overseas so I was thinking how I could some overseas. My internet search guided me to your website. How do you think it would work to go ahead and add the cooked spaghetti noodles to the sauce with meat before canning? (Since he will have no way to cook noodles there.) Thanks so much for any help!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi and thanks for visiting. Sorry but the USDA recommendations are that pasta should not be added to anything home canned. The concern with pasta is the starch content that would make the product to thick to safely home can (safety issue). The second problem is the pasta would basically turn to mush when home canned making it rather unappealing (quality issue). The best you could do is pressure can the meat sauce and send it. I would be concerned about being able to send in glass mason jars due to possible breakage but if well packed should get there safely.

Kim and Dan said...

We would like to try this you have a recipie for the spagetti sauce?
Kim and Dan

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Kim and Dan. Thanks so much for visiting. Unfortunately my spaghetti sauce with meat is one recipe that will not be published for personal reasons. If you are looking for a good and safe recipe to start with go the the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. I think this is the same recipe as in the Ball Blue Book. Once you have that recipe do a little tweaking while keeping within the safe guidelines. Do not eliminate the acidification which calls for 2 tbsp of vinegar. If you are concerned that there might be an off taste from the vinegar substitute with 1/4 tsp citric acid per 500 ml (pint) jar. Citric acid will provide the necessary acidification without affecting the taste.


Anonymous said...

I have been canning sauce w/meat for over 5 years and never had a problem. I can them it on the stove, boiling. Someone just told me that this method is not safe and could become contaminated? Is this true or ok to continue. I use sterile containers and add the sauce boiling hot, then boil for 10 minutes. We use the sauce within a year.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous and thanks for visiting. No, your product is definitely not safe and should not be consumed. The contents should be discarded immediately.

Processing spaghetti sauce with meat using the BWB method is not considered safe because it is a low acid product that if not pressure canned could harbour C. botulinum spores responsible for botulism. The toxin produced by the spores cannot be seen or tasted and only a very, very small amount will cause serious illness and/or death. A 10 minute BWB is not long enough or at a high enough temperature to destroy the spores. A BWB is 212ºF whereas a PC processes at 240ºF. Spaghetti sauce with meat should be processed using a pressure canner at 10 lb of pressure for 60 minutes for 500 ml (pint) jars or 75 minutes for 1 L (quart) jars. The pressure given is for a weighted gauge pressure canner at altitudes up to 1,000 feet above sea level. Pressure should be adjusted if using a dial gauge pressure canner and timing should be adjusted for altitudes higher than 1,000 feet above sea level using the chart in the archives.

Anonymous said...

So i canned my very first batch of spaghetti with meat and I used the pressure cooker I was wondering do you have to use vinager or citrus when using canned tomatoe sauce and paste for you base and not fressh tomatoe? I am just worried about the whole botulism issue?

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous and thanks for visiting. I'm hoping you mean used the pressure canner not pressure cooker to process your spaghetti sauce. All tomato products to be home canned need to be acidified with lemon juice or citric acid regardless if you used fresh or already processed tomaotes (tomato paste, canned tomatoes). Vinegar is used for acidification of some tomato products like chili sauce but not used for pasta sauces. HTH

Anonymous said...

If I were to use different sauces and spices added to ground beef, that is cooked first, can I then can this combination. I have a stove top canner. Is this safe? My grand dughter wants to take it with her when she goes off to school this fall.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous - spaghetti sauce with meat must follow a certain ratio of meat to vegetables and it must be processed using a pressure canner. It cannot be processed using a boiling water bath canner.

Anonymous said...

I have a great spaghetti sauce recipe that I'd like to can. It's made with canned tomatoes, sauce and paste and various meats. One of your posts states there is a meat to vegatable ratio. What is that ratio? I want to make sure I do it properly.


Garden Gnome said...

Hi Beth,

The NCHFP recipe can be found at That ratio is 30 lb of fresh tomatoes which is about 36 c of prepared tomatoes to 3 c low acid vegetables (onions, green pepper), mushrooms) to 2.5 lb of meat. The seasonings don't need to be considered in the ratio. The BBB uses the ratio of 5 lb meat to 9 c cooked or canned tomatoes to 2.75 c tomato paste to 3 c low acid vegetables (onions, green pepper) so you will want to use the second ratio if using already canned tomatoes and paste. You can use less meat but don't use more and again the seasonings don't affect the ratio.

Robbie said...

I too have canned my sauce using the boiling method. I also made a small batch run for testing. I seen in one of your comments that it is unsafe to can by boiling. It was over 9 months ago I out up the sauce & no health problems yet. I have one more jar, if it don't kill me I'll let you know. I will say this, during the boiling process, I took it to a very hard boil for an extended peroid of time. That may be my saving grace. I've enjoyed reading your page, keep up the good work! Robbie

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Robbie, please see my reply to Anonymous regarding processing spaghetti sauce with meat in a BWB canner. Your product is NOT safe to consume.

Botulism is caused by toxin released from the botulinum bacterium. It cannot be seen, tasted or smelled and yet the amount of a pin drop could cause severe illness or death. The toxin is not destroyed at the temperature a BWB gets (212ºF) which is why ALL low acid foods MUST be processed using using a pressure canner which reaches the temperature necessary to kill both the spores and deactivate the toxin (240ºF to 250ºF).

Anonymous said...

Hello. I recently canned a homemade recipe which uses tomato paste thinned with water and various meats. I cooked as normal and then pressure canned according to guidelines in USDA book for sauce with meat. This sauce does not have a high ratio of meat. The problem I am having is that the taste is off a bit, and even though it looks good in the jar, and even during reheating, it separates when applied to the pasta. water goes to the bottom, solids stay on top. This is well drained and not rinsed pasta. On one canner run the sauce actually came out with a burnt taste and smell which was not present when it went into the jars. I procesed for the proper time for my altitude in a weighted gauge pressure canner for the recommeded time. How can I avoid this separation?

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous and thanks for visiting. Certain meats react differently to the canning process so that may be part of your problem. I have not canned a pasta sauce using only tomato paste and water so suspect that is the reason for separation upon reheating the sauce. Had you used fresh tomatoes the answer would be different but at any rate excess water can cause separation. I really can't advise how to prevent this separation using the method of starting with tomato paste and water.

The burnt taste is due to caramelization during the processing which is an indication that batch was over processed. The vent time may have been just slightly longer or coming to pressure took longer or the cooling period was long or you left them in the canner cooling longer than the other batches.

George Gooch said...

Hello, I may be in way over my head here! I have a secret family recipe for a meat sauce, from a locally famous restaurant. This sauce is beef and pork with spices and a very small amount of tomato juice and ketchup. The recipe is large and even cut down I only want to cook it once a year or so and hope to can the sauce.

Do I have to use a pressure canner for this recipe? If so, I'm also wanting to start canning more food so what canner would you reccomend?

Thank you,

Garden Gnome said...

Hi George. Yes, your sauce would have to be processed using a pressure canner according to the meat guidelines at your altitude. The canner of choice depends on your needs. I highly recommend the All American canners for high volume canning that have no gasket but are more expensive. The Mirro canner is good for those doing medium volume and the Presto is good if you have a glass top stove.

Jenn wilson said...

Hi there Garden Gnome! My husband and I have just attempted canning spaghetti sauce with meat. We have the Presto canner. In Utah it calls for 11-15 pounds of pressure at 70 minutes. Once I had all my sauce cooked and ready to can, I wiped the rings with vinegar after filling and put 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per quart jar before I put the tings and lids on to can them. Once the processing was complete and pressure released, we took them from the canner and set aside to cool while we did the next batch. We noticed right away that the sauce was extremely dark but didn't think much of it. Last night we pulled one of the jars and had spaghetti for dinner. I was extremely upset to find that it has a burnt taste. I don't want to give up, but as you know, that's A LOT of work to not turn out as good as it should. I need advice desperately! My husband said we should not overcook the sauce and possibly not have it hot when we put it in the jars. Everything I've read says it should be hot. He feels that it cooks while its in the pressure canner so wants to try it that way next time...I need your help!!! Thank you so much!