Are you guys canners and preservers too? From a young age I remember my mom peeling tomatoes and packing them into hot jars for processing. Then we used those tomatoes for soups and other dishes all winter long. One of my very favorite things is when she’d mix in a jar of canned tomatoes with a batch of baked macaroni & cheese. Talk about a simple one-dish meal that will knock your socks off…
So, I guess it was only natural that I began to “put things up”, as the old-heads like to call it. I started several years ago with tomatoes, probably because they are one of the most straighforward and easy. I remember thinking the first time I did it – that it was such a mess, that it was going to take forever, what a pain in my ass, etc. But the second time I canned, things went much smoother. You just have to find your routine and rhythm in the kitchen, and it gets easier! Now I love making different kinds of pickles, and being creative with fun flavor combinations for jams. It’s easy to get yourself hooked, so here’s fair warning!
And, the results are undoubtedly worth it. These quart jars that I packed full of local, ripe summer tomatoes are equivalent to a little more than a 28 oz can of store-bought tomatoes. As with all other DIY things we tackle, you know exactly what is going into them – which is always a win in my book. And, they’re so pretty sitting on your pantry shelf all winter long. A taste of summer at your fingertips, all year long!
DIY Canned Tomatoes
ripe red tomatoes (3 lbs. tomatoes per quart)
bottled lemon juice
pickling salt, optional
quart-sized Mason jars
Prepare canning jars and lids according to manufacturer’s directions.
Peel and core tomatoes. Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato, and place them in a bath of boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until skins begin to blister. Remove them to a dish filled with ice water and carefully peel the tomatoes and remove the core using a pairing knife. If the tomatoes are large, halve or quarter them.
Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp pickling salt (if desiered) to each quart jar.
Pack the tomatoes into jars, pressing gently on tomatoes until the juices fill in the spaces between the tomatoes. Leave 1/2-inch headspace for processing.
Using the handle of a rubber spatula or a butter knife, remove air bubbles by running the handle along the inside of the jar.
Carefully wipe rims down for any moisture and add the canning lid.
Process in boiling water bath for 45 minutes, or at 5 lb pressure for 15 minutes in a weighted guage pressure canner.