If you planted some tomato plants in your garden like my husband did this year, and if they produced a ton of tomatoes, then you might want to give this a try.
1 tsp. canning and pickling salt per quart jar
1 tbsp. bottled lemon juice per quart jar
– Wash as many quart jars as you think you might need for this project with soap and warm water.
– Put the empty, clean jars in a boiling water bath canner and fill with hot water.
– Put the lid on the canner and bring the water to a boil to sterilize the jars. I use a plug-in burner because my stove is glass-top and putting a boiling water bath canner on a glass-top stove can break the glass (it gets pretty heavy!).
– In a small pot, bring some water to a boil. Turn off the heat then add the jar flats.
– Select the tomatoes you want to use. Here’s what I have.
– Wash the tomatoes with cold, running water.
– For the next step, you’ll need a tomato shark like this or just a paring knife.
– Remove the calyxes.
– Now to remove the skins. This would be a convenient time to have an expandable blanching basket like this. If you don’t have one, just use a slotted spoon.
– Bring some water to a boil in a large pot on the stove.
– Meanwhile, in the sink, fill a large bowl with water and add ice to it.
– Once the water in the large pot has come to a boil, fill the expandable basket with some tomatoes and lower them into the water (or just carefully drop some tomatoes into the water if you don’t have the basket). Try to select tomatoes of approximately the same size.
– Boil the tomatoes for 30 seconds, give or take. You know they’ve boiled long enough when the skin starts to crack like this.
– Once they have finished boiling, quickly remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and lower them into the ice water.
– If you did this process correctly, the skins should easily remove. If you are having a hard time getting them off, you probably didn’t boil them long enough.
– The tomatoes should look like this once peeled.
– Now to chop up the tomatoes. I put my cutting board on a baking sheet because the tomatoes make a juicy mess and this way the baking sheet catches it.
– Chop the tomatoes into cubes (see how juicy they get?).
– Carefully remove one jar at a time from the boiling water and pour the water out of it.
– Get each quart jar ready by adding 1 teaspoon canning and pickling salt and 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice.
– I like to put the salt in a little bowl like this because it’s easier to measure it.
– Now just start stuffing the jar. The juices from the tomatoes will fill in all the nooks and crannies. Stuff the jar tightly. Remove some of the juice if you have to to stuff more tomato chunks.
– Keep stuffing until there is 1/2″ headspace.
– Run a plastic spatula several times around the inside edge of the jar to remove air bubbles. Make sure there is still 1/2″ headspace (add or subtract tomato chunks or juice as needed).
– Using a moist rag or paper towel, wipe the sides and top of the rim clean.
– Using a magnetic wand (or tongs), remove a flat from the hot water in the small pot.
– Place the flat on the jar then adjust the ring. Tighten the ring just until it exhibits resistance.
– Carefully lower the jar back into the boiling water with the jar lifter. Be sure there is a rack in the bottom of the canner so the jars don’t directly touch the bottom of the canner.
– After all the completed jars are in the canner, put the lid back on and return it to a boil. Once it is boiling again, boil hard for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
– Once the jars are done processing in the boiling water bath, pull them out and lay them on a cooling rack covered with a towel to cool. The tomatoes may have floated to the top like mine did.
– As the jars cool, you may hear the “pop” of the domes in the lids pulling in. This is good, it means it’s forming a seal! Once the jars have cooled, remove the rings and test the flats by trying to pull them off. If the flat pops off easily with your hands, then it did not seal properly (do not reprocess such a jar; put it in the fridge and use it). The flats should have to be removed with a church key if they are properly sealed.
– Store the jars without the rings in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.