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Container Gardening in the Pacific Northwest from Julie

(This post is written by Julie one of our top notch shippers at She loves cooking, especially from scratch and enjoys putting up her own as well!)

This year I am growing hot cayenne and Italian roaster peppers in containers, along with a variety of tomatoes, such as Viva Italia Roma and Bush Early Girl (pictured, with rhubarb in the back ground). I will be making marinara sauce, tomato paste, and sun dried tomatoes in olive oil with garlic and basil. Hoping to make ketchup this summer too!


Making these canned foods at home is easy and safe, providing nutritious and delicious food for your family year round. By picking fruits and veggies at peak season, you preserve the best tastes of summer.


Canned Marinara Recipe: Adapted from Ball Canning Company


20 lb tomatoes (about 60 medium)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup each of finely minced, fresh basil, parsley, & thyme; 2 tbsp sage & rosemary
¼ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice per hot jar
7 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Salt and Pepper to taste.

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) WASH tomatoes; drain. Remove core and blossom ends. Cut into quarters. Mix tomatoes, olive oil, and herbs in a large bowl and spread onto cookie sheets. Roast for 1 hour.
3.) SAUTE onion and garlic in a large pot in olive oil until transparent. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.) PUREE tomato mixture in a food processor or blender, working in batches. Strain puree to remove seeds and peel.
5.) COMBINE tomato puree and basil in large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until volume is reduced by half, stirring to prevent sticking.
6.) ADD ¼ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot jar. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
7.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check for seal after 24 hours. Lids should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

For more information on canning and safe preservation methods, please visit the Ball website for step-by-step instructions. Beginning canning kits are sold at many hardware stores, and even at Target. Be sure to pick up the Ball Blue Book! Canning may seem like a daunting task, but once you start, it comes easily, and is a lot of fun!

Happy Gardening,


2 thoughts on “Container Gardening in the Pacific Northwest from Julie

  1. Wonderful garden! I’ve only had home canned ketchup once, but it was unbelievably better than Heinz – well worth the effort.


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