Marinara Sauce

8 cups crushed tomatoes or 2 – 28 oz canned
1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
1 large onion chopped
2-4 cloves garlic chopped – or used what comes in a jar like I do – I put in 3 heaping tablespoons
2 whole bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt (I cut that to 1/2 as we are watching our sodium)
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes – or put in ground black pepper if you prefer

I put all ingredients in the large crockpot and stir.  Let it cook on high for at least 8 hours – I then take the lid slightly off to vent and let some of the moisture escape so it will thicken a bit.  Stir as needed – all crockpots are different so check until you know how it is with yours. When you feel it is thick enough then using a blender – or food processor put in small batches and run to smooth it out.  I do this in about 4 or 5 batches as you can not get too much in your blender or the top might pop off – also make sure you hold your lid down firmly.

When it is all smooth can the method you prefer.  I do boiling water bath and I know not all agree with doing tomato products that way but I have always done it that way.  I add one tablespoon of lemon juice to the bottom of the hot sterilized jar and add your tomato sauce to within a 1/2 to 1 inch of the top. Seal with clean sterilized lids.  I then put in my boiling water bath for 35 minutes for pints – you might be able to do that for less time but that is what I do.  From this recipe you should get about 4 pints – maybe less.  I had more tomatoes and I made a batch and a half last time and I would have gotten 5 or 6 pints if I hadn’t used some for supper.

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