It’s pretty safe to say we’ve had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year – over 320! And, while I love a good garden tomato freshly sliced and salted, there’s just so many you can eat before you realize you’re on the verge of burning out and still not making a dent in the crop. So, in order to save the tomatoes, and still have some garden fresh tastes long into the winter, I opted to can most of our crop. Canning is a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort, especially come January when you’re snowed in and really just want a warm, hearty soup. At that point, there’s nothing better than being able to pull out your own garden’s produce and whip up a bowl of pure comfort.
To can, I follow the super simple steps my Grandmother taught me:
- Find a large stock pot and fill it 3/4 full of water
- Place pot on burner and turn heat to medium-high
- Add tomatoes to the still-cool water, until the pot is full and the tomatoes still have a bit of room to float around
- Boil tomatoes until their skin cracks
- Remove tomatoes from water and let them cool a bit (We had so many tomatoes that we boil in batches until all the tomatoes have cracked open)
- Peel and core the tomatoes
- Drain the water, put the peeled/cored tomatoes back into the pot (for diced/crushed/pieced tomatoes give them a rough chop before dropping back into the pot)
- Add a tablespoon or so of salt and simmer the tomatoes for about 15 minutes
- In the meantime, get out your sterilized jars and can lids.
- Bring a small saucepan 1/2 full of water to a simmer. Drop the sealing lids in the hot water for a few seconds to soften the wax.
- Once the tomatoes are finished simmering, pour them into your sterilized jars. Fill only to where the threads begin on the jar’s top.
- Wipe the mouth of the jar clean, top with a waxed sealing lid, and loosely screw on the rim.
- Let the jars sit until you hear that classic “pop” indicating that the jars have sealed.
- Once cool, store your now canned tomatoes away in a cabinet for use later.
- If you have any jars that failed to seal, store those jars in the refrigerator and use them within a couple of weeks.
Note, there are several ways to can, some call for additional processing. This is the method that works for me. And so far, I’ve gotten over 10 quarts of tomatoes canned and ready for the winter.