I love canning food in the late summer and early fall. For some reason I find it therapeutic. There’s nothing quite like turning twenty pounds of blemished tomatoes into eight or nine quarts of whole tomatoes that will add the perfect amount of garden zest to a crock-pot full of chili or soup in the winter. It’s amazing what you can do with this (which by the way I picked up at the Farmers Market for 50 cents a pound because my garden did so poorly):
If you’re not familiar with canning, processing tomatoes is probably one of the easiest places to start. All that is required is a water bath canner, jars, and lids. You’ll also want to use a jar lifter when removing the jars from the boiling water.
I’ve used the same USDA approved process for the last eleven years, and it is simple and easy:
Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse good.
Drop tomatoes into a pot of boiling water and let sit for 30 seconds or until skin has cracked. Remove tomatoes and set aside until cool enough to handle.
When tomatoes have cooled off, slip off skin and remove cores and imperfections using a corer, melon ball utensil, or knife. Fill jars to within a half to 3/4 of an inch of the top, squishing the tomatoes down so the juices cover them. Use a wooden spoon or a spatula around the inside of the jar to get rid of any air bubbles.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar.
Wipe down the jar rims and place new lids on jars and screw on. Process the jars by placing them in a water bath canner in boiling water for 45 minutes. I always start the water while I’m filling the jars so I don’t have to wait as long for the water to boil again once the jars are placed in the canner.
And wallah- awesome canned goodness: