October 12, 2011

Canning Chili Sauce Recipe

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I am about to introduce you all to a legit Pioneer recipe!  This recipe has been in my family for generations.  Literally.  My Grandma's Grandma's Grandma was making this Chili Sauce and it probably goes back even further than that.  Many generations of my family have enjoyed Chili sauce and I know you will too.  It's a bit sweet with a little savory mixed in and hugged by spice.  My favorite way to eat it is with Eggs.  Any kind of Eggs and you are in business..Scrambled, Fried, Ham & Egg Wreath, Egg in a Hole, Ham and Crescent Casserole, or your favorite Egg dish.

You will need Tomatoes, onions, Half Pint Jars (or whatever size you like I actually have Quart in the picture but those were used in another recipe) Pickling Spice, White Vinegar, Salt & Pepper, Sugar...
Cheese Cloth,
Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, and Nutmeg.  You do not need a second Pickling spice..I just like it so I photographed it twice.
and you will need a steam canner.
We always reuse bottles so if you are reusing bottles make sure you have new lids.  The rings can be used over and over but not the lids.

Wash the Tomatoes really well.

While washing the tomatoes start a big pot of water on to a good hot simmer.  Place clean tomatoes in the water and make sure they are fully submerged.  Allow them to simmer a few minutes until the skin starts to peel away from the fruit.

Remove the tomatoes and place in a cake pan and allow to sit until they are cool enough to touch.

Remove the core with a parring knife.

Then peel the skin off.  We just let the skin and peel hang out in the cake pan and clean it out after every batch.

Very nice.
Now slice the Tomato up into smallish chunks..about 6-8 pieces depending on the size of your Tomato.

Start a very large pot over medium heat.
You want to add 4 Quarts of Tomatoes.  We did a double batch.
Chop up your onions.  Go ahead and have a nice cry while you are at it.
Add the Onions to the Tomatoes and allow to cook for a few minutes.
Add in the Salt & Pepper.
Now combine the Ground Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Cloves.
Get your Cheesecloth ready and a piece of clean cooking twine or string.
Pour the Pickling spice onto the Cheesecloth.  Remember I doubled the recipe so I used the whole bottle.
Pour the Nutmeg Mixture on top of the pickling spice.  No need to mix this is just for flavor.
Gather the corners and make a cute little spice bundle.  Tie together with the string or twine.
Toss it into the Tomatoes.  Stir it around and make sure it gets submerged.  You want that flavory goodness all up in these tomatoes.
Add in the Sugar
And White Vinegar.

Give everything a good stir.  Check out the spice Bundle..looking great.

You want to stir frequently to avoid burning.  Nothing is worse than burnt Chili Sauce.  I like to squish the spice bundle up against the pan with the stirring implement to help release flavors when I stir.  Cook for about 4 hours allowing everything to reduce down.

4 hours later..oh boy, this is getting good.  Now that everything is reduced down and lovely we are ready to start on the bottling.
Start a small saucepan on to boil and add the lids (just add the amount of lids for the bottles that will fit in the steamer at one time.)  Boil according to package instructions.  I just let them boil until I'm ready for them.

Grab the measuring cup and trusty funnel and fill the half pints up to the bottom of the ring zone.

Oh yea!  Notice that the rims get a bit on the messy side.  This is not good.
Grab a paper towel and get it moist.  You don't want it super soggy..just moist.
Run it along the rim making sure to get inside and outside the bottle clean.  Otherwise you will have a real mess on your hands.  I skipped this step one year and luckily the bottles sealed..not so lucky they were very hard to open and a gooey mess.
The lids will be hot so I just grab them with a fork and put them on top of each filled bottle.  Tighten the rings around each bottle and stick in the steam canner.

Fill the steam canner bottom with water all the way up to the bottles.  Turn it on Medium high and wait for the magic to happen.
Once you've got a good steam coming out you can set the timer and allow it to steam for 65 minutes.  If you do more than one batch make sure you fill the water up before each batch.

When the steaming is done turn the bottles over onto a towel on a heat resistant surface.  We one put the bottles on a table and it burned into the varnish a little bit.  Learn from our mistakes.

When you turn them over make sure they sealed and label the bottles with the year.  Enjoy!

Canning Chili Sauce Recipe
Source:  Pioneer Relations

4 Quarts Tomatoes, sliced
1 Pint Vinegar
1 C Sugar
2 C Chopped Onions
2 TBSP Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Cloves
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Bottle Pickling Spice

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly.  Add to a simmering pot of water and remove once the skin starts to peel away from the fruit.  Remove the core and skin from the tomatoes and cut into smallish chunks.  Add Tomatoes to a Large pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped Onions, Vinegar, Salt & Pepper, and Sugar.  Using a piece of Cheesecloth (or a clean foot of a nylon as my ancestors used to do) create a bundle with the spices and Pickling Spice.  Tie with a string or cooking twine and stir into the Tomatoes mixture.  Stir often to avoid burning.  Allow the mixture to cook for 4 hours uncovered to reduce.  Press the spice bundle against the side of the pan to help distribute spice flavor.

When cooking is done place the Chili Sauce into clean mason jars.  I use half pint but if you have a larger family you may want to use larger jars.  Meanwhile bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil to soften the lids.  After filling the jars make sure to wipe the rims clean to ensure proper/clean sealing of jars.  Top with a softened lid and close tightly with rings.

Place the Steam Canner over Medium-Medium High Heat and fill with water all the way to the top.  Add the Mason Jars and Place lid on.  Once you have a solid steam coming out of the Canner set the timer for 65 minutes to allow the jars to steam.  Once the time is over take the bottles out carefully as they will be very hot.  Turn them over on a towel on top of a heat safe surface and allow to cool.  Make sure to label the Bottles with the year so they don't get mixed up.

Enjoy! Pin It


  1. Yummmy!!! Why don't my kids like this? I am force feeding it to them every time we have eggs starting now!

  2. Hi Jullee, I agree with Heather....YUMMMMY!!!! I love how so many generations have been making this chili sauce - so cool and special. This looks and sounds so good! I also love that it's a little sweet and savory! Pinning. Thank you so much for linking your family recipe to Inspiration Cafe's Link Party!

  3. I do a lot of canning but I've never seen one of those steamer canners. You learn something new every day. The smell of chili cooking means fall to me!

  4. Jullee its so not fair that you and Heather have these awesome family recipes! If I ever get to the States I'm gonna insist your whole family cooks for me! Love this sauce!!!

  5. I have never canned anything, but this recipe makes me want to go out and buy a steam canner! Thank you for sharing it at the Inspiration Cafe's first link party! Happy to be your newest GFC follower!

  6. Replies
    1. I don't see why you couldn't add chilies in to add some spice. This chili sauce is pretty sweet and very mild..but adding some peppers could really add some depth.