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How do I? ...Can Tomatoes

Selecting, Preparing and Canning Tomatoes

Barbecue Sauce

  • 4 quarts (16 cups) peeled, cored, chopped red ripe tomatoes (about 24 large tomatoes)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1½ cups chopped sweet red or green peppers (about 3 medium peppers)
  • 2 hot red peppers, cored, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon canning salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (e.g., Tabasco®)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1½ cups of (5%) vinegar

Yield: About 4 pint jars

*Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

   1.   Wash and rinse canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's directions.

   2. Combine prepared tomatoes, celery, onions, and peppers. Cook until vegetables are soft (about 30 minutes). Puree using a fine sieve, food mill, food processor or blender. Cook until mixture is reduced to about one half, (about 45 minutes).

   3. Tie peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag; add with remaining ingredients and cook slowly until mixture is the consistency of catsup, about 1½ to 2 hours. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove bag of peppercorns.

   4. Fill hot sauce into clean, hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.

   5. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations in Table 1. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Barbecue Sauce in a boiling water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Half-pints or Pints 20 min 25 min 30 min 35 min

Note: There are many types of barbecue sauce recipes and the acidity will vary among recipes. This canning process is intended for this recipe and procedure.

Trade and brand names are used only for information. The Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences and College of Family & Consumer Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture do not guarantee nor warrant published standards on any product mentioned; neither does the use of a trade or brand name imply approval of any product to the exclusion of others which may also be suitable.



This document was adapted from "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.

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