If you asked people what the number one thing they would like to can is, I think most people would answer tomatoes. Tomatoes are such a fundamental part of my diet. Canning tomatoes is very easy, because tomatoes have a high acidity level, which means that you can can them without using a pressure canner. Other veggies, like corn, cannot be canned with a regular canner.
Last year I canned some tomato sauce. I thought that it was alright, but I decided to just can tomatoes by themselves this year. I prefer adding the other ingredients fresh because I think the flavor is better. Also, I can use the tomatoes in other recipes as well. In the picture above, you can see that I also preserved some pickled hot peppers and some marinated sweet peppers. The harvest season is definitely upon us!
Canned Crushed Tomatoes
- 20-25 lbs tomatoes
- vinegar or lemon juice
- 12-14 pint jars with 2 piece lids
- salt, if desired
Prepare a large bowl by filling it with water and ice. Keep more ice on hand for when the ice melts. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanch tomatoes in the water for 30 seconds, and then submerge them in the ice water. Peal off the skin of the tomatoes. I found that the whole blanching, submerging, and peeling process worked best in batches. I don’t have any pots or bowls that can hold 25 lbs of tomatoes!
Cut out the center stem scar, and squeeze out the seeds (be careful at this point because sometimes the seeds can squirt out the wrong end…I ended up with a lot of tomato on me). Cut the tomatoes into 4 pieces.
In a large pot, layer the bottom with tomato pieces. Smash them with a spoon, or with your hands. Keep adding tomatoes, smashing them as you go, until the pot is full. Heat the tomatoes over medium-high heat, stiring constantly until the mixture is boiling. Turn heat down and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in each of the jars. If you want, you can also add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Pour the tomatoes in the jars, leaving 1/4-1/2 inch of headspace. Close the jars with hot 2 piece lids. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 35-40 minutes.