Hot Italian Sausage In Tomato Sauce

Update: This recipe won a 1st place Blue Ribbon at the 2013 Arizona State Fair in the Canning Meat category.

Italian Sausage in Tomato Juice


I’m trying to delve deeper in to the world of canning. To try more meats. And specifically, to can more things that are closer to ready to eat.

We were at the grocery store looking for pork to smoke (a whole different post) when I saw packages of hot Italian sausages on clearance for half price. In the past I would have frozen them. But I figure, why not put em in a jar?

The National Center For Home Preservation says to brown sausage and then process it in water, stock or tomato juice. My thought process was this: water would be a waste. Why remove all that flavor into water that would likely be drained out anyway. Stock sounded ok. But all I had was previously home canned smoked chicken stock. And that didn’t sound that great. So that left me with tomato juice, which I didn’t have. But what I did have was previously home canned tomatoes.

I figure hot italian sausage is destined to be in pasta sauce at some point in the future. So why not process it in tomatoes now? I grabbed a wide mouth quart of canned tomatoes off the shelf. The immersion blender fits right in the top, and in no time it was a quart of tomato puree. I put that in a pot with a pint of water to make my tomato juice.

I placed the sausages in a pan and browned them on both sides.

Once they were brown I cut each sausage in to 5 pieces.

Place the pieces in a quart jar. This took a little bit if engineering. But luckily years of playing Tetris paid off. Just make sure you’re filling voids in the jars where you see them. In total I cooked 6 pounds of sausages that ended up filling 4 quarts.

Heat the tomato juice to a boil and cover the sausage pieces with the juice. Leave a 1″ headspace.

Use a plastic utensil to remove any air pockets or bubbles. Why plastic, you ask? Because metal can cause micro scratches and fissures in the glass. This can be the catalyst for thermal fractures in the future.

Top with lids and bands and place in a pressure canner at 11lbs for 75 min for pints or 90 min for quarts.

Use this chart to adjust for altitude.

Always turn off the heat and allow the pressure canner to cool by itself when the time is up.

The finished product looks like this. Not too bad. Sometimes canned meat looks like a lab specimen. This looks more like Spaghettios.

I’m huge on making my own pasta sauce right now. Generally it’s 2 quarts of tomatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, squash, peppers, wine, balsamic, and spices. In theory a jar of sausages can be added, without taking the time to defrost and brown the sausages, cook them through, and letting them simmer in the sauce. The flavor’s already in there.

Happy canning.

9 Responses to “Hot Italian Sausage In Tomato Sauce”

  1. 1 dragonflyzia July 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I can’t wait to try this! i just have to get over the fear of my pressure canner that is still in the box.

    • 2 joan williamson September 16, 2015 at 10:52 am

      Get over the fear and just follow the directions. I’ve been successfully canning for years and love trying new things. I’m doing tomato sauce with hamburger and sausage now. It will be wonderful to pop open a jar and have dinner ready in minutes in the middle of winter while the cold winds blow. My homemade tomato sauce with meat!!!

  2. 4 avwalters July 21, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I confess I only do straight tomatoes–sauce, whole and diced. I’m still to scared to can meat–afraid I’ll poison my family.

    • 5 joan williamson September 16, 2015 at 10:56 am

      You’ll be fine. Just remember to cook it for 10 minutes when you take it out of the jar. Put a bit of lemon juice in there to keep acidity up. You can tell by the smell of a jar has gone bad. There’s no way you won’t notice it. That rarely happens. Don’t keep canned food more than one year, though. That’s kind of hard to go by when you still have full jars one year later, but I do it to be safe. I’ve only had one or two go bad in years of canning. Best wishes to you.

  3. 6 Mayjaymayjay April 21, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Do you think this will work using the water bath canning method? I want to do fresh tomatoes ans plain smoked sausages,

    i wan

    • 7 arm2008 May 15, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      No. Meat MUST be pressure canned.

    • 8 joan williamson September 16, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Definitely NO. Invest in a pressure canner. It will last for years. I’ve got the same one working that I bought so long ago I can’t remember. I’ve also got a huge supply of jars I’ve been building up for years. Most are full now from our garden. Only about four dozen left. Good luck to you.

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