It’s late May, and the tomatoes are quickly ripening on their vines all over town. I’ve been harvesting 3-5 big tomatoes per day and the Springdale Farm farmstand tables are overflowing with all kinds of heirloom tomatoes. Time to start canning!
I picked up some gorgeous ripe tomatoes from Springdale, to supplement my own garden tomatoes for my first canning of the season. In the last few years, I’ve made tomato sauce with basil, salsa, tomatoes and green chiles, and I can’t even remember what else, but when it comes time to pull our a jar of tomatoes in the Winter, its usually just plain old crushed tomatoes that I reach for. They can be the base of anything, and you can always build a sauce later by adding herbs, onions, and whatever else you want.
So, for my first canning of this tomato season, I decided on simple crushed tomatoes.
Each tomato gets scored on both sides, to facilitate peeling of the skin.
Then, working in batches, each gets a quick turn in boiling water to loosen the skin.
Once they are cool enough to handle, each tomato gets peeled and cored.
I don’t use a knife to chop them, I just de-seed with my hands and crush the tomatoes into a pan, where they get simmered for about 5 minutes, while I line up the sterilized jars. You always want hot product to go into hot jars.
This year, I used citric acid (leftover from cheese-making), rather than a Tbls. of lemon juice. 1/4 teas. in each pint jar should raise the acidity without adding flavor. I also added some salt for flavor.
Fill the jars leaving a quarter of an inch of head space, then water bath process for 35 minutes. I started with nearly 12 pounds of tomatoes, which yielded 5 pint jars. There will be more canning sessions like this, until my pantry is filled with tomatoes for the long season until they are back. Tomato security.