Yesterday was my first day off from working on my book.  It was like I was bird flying free.  The thing I wanted to do most was clean and can tomatoes.  The girls wanted to help a young mother clean her home because she had a baby not too long ago, so my normal canning buddies were gone.  I looked around the room and noticed two little boys who were looking for something to do.  They were happy to know I needed them to join the canning crew!  The evening before, the entire family set out to pick about three bushels of tomatoes.  My friend, Debi Pearl had some extras, so we were blessed to pick more at her place.

When I can, I CAN!  I do not do little batches everyday like some women do.  I do like to get a big job done and then move on to other things.  I guess I learned that method from the Amish and they are pretty practical!

After I cleaned the kitchen really well, detailing all my cabinets and scrubbing my floor, my husband said, "Why are you cleaning it before we start canning?"  I reply, "Because I love cleaning and I love to have everything set before I start a big project."

He carried in one bushel and brought it to the sink and started washing tomatoes.  As they were clean, he handed them to me for cutting.  I set up a cutting board over a scrap bucket (the scraps were going to be fed to our piglets–nothing goes to waste on our farm).   As my husband and I were working on the tomatoes we were talking about all kind of things.  It felt like such a dream!  I can't explain how sweet it was to spend that time working side by side.

Next thing you know, Junior comes along and says, "Can I wash the tomatoes, please?"  Mark quickly steps aside as his little guy starts washing tomato after tomato and stacking them on my cutting board.  Then I started talking with Junior and the conversation was just as sweet as before with his daddy.  I thought, wow, this is the life.

Here is my cutting board.  See how handy it is for working up the tomatoes?  It is a great assembly line.  Junior washes the tomatoes, I cut the cores out and cut them in quarters.  Next I put the scraps into the bowl below and the good tomato pieces into a bigger bowl to the side.


I look behind to see my amazing husband working with Michael our 10-year-old son.  They are happily grinding up all the tomatoes that I supply them with.  When my bowl is full, Mark grabs the bowl and carries it over to their station to dump it into their bigger pan.  Mikey loads up the blender with tomatoes and gives them a grinding.   That is his favorite job.


After the tomatoes were pureed, My husband would dump them into a big stock pot to bring to a boil.


We ended up with three large stock pots full of tomato sauce.  I added my spices which are

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • basil
  • oregano
  • celery seed powder

After I brought it to a boil, I added tomato paste to thicken it.  Mark and I filled all the jars and water bath canned them out on our deck outside.  That was nice to have an old turkey fryer burner set out there to keep all the heat and mess outside.  Altogether we ended up with 52 quarts of delicious spaghetti sauce!  It was about a 2 hour job with our amazing team work!


The best thing about yesterday was having fellowship with my boys.  I will never forget the conversations while we were busy creating something useful.  Being productive with your children is more precious than gold.  Here is a video clip from our Homesteading for Beginners Vol. 1.  You can see how we have made a family tradition of canning our spaghetti sauce each year.  The kids are very small in the video, but starting them out small helped teach them the value of working hard for something together.  Many hands make light work!

Just for a reminder…

Tea Time Talk Show Tuesday Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  at 10 am CST will feature Co-Host Owen Newman

  • The following Tuesday will be featuring Owen Newman from the hills of TN talking about homesteading and the simple life.  He has a lot of wisdom and experience living with less and making the most of each and every resource they are given.  If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email or message on facebook from the keeper of the homestead page.  

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0 thoughts on “Canning Spaghetti Sauce with My Boys

  1. Hi Erin, I was just wondering what your measurements for the tomato paste and spice were. I was just getting ready to do this with my kids as well but have never been really please with the taste and texture of ours, so I would love your recipe. Also, how long are they in the water bath? Thanks so much for your blog!

  2. Hi Erin
    You are amazing. I just wanted to let you know how much I am looking forward to your book! I appreciate all your posts even though I am a terrible commenter!
    Have a lovely day

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