My canning season is in full swing. I love this time a year as much as I hate it. If you have not canned I will say that it is so rewarding. It is a lot of work but at the end of the day, when you look at all the jars of food you have canned, you feel amazing.
I love knowing everything that goes into the food that my family eats. I know that I do not use chemicals or preservatives. It is also great for food storage and emergencies. For me, whole tomatoes are essential. I use them for salsa, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup and many more things. If you start with one thing I would choose this. It is simple and versatile.
What You Will Need:
2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds tomatoes per quart
Bottled lemon juice
Quart Jars with Lids and Rings
Select fresh tomatoes. Wash tomatoes and drain.
Blanch tomatoes for 1 minute. Remove from water and immediately put into ice water. Peel off skins; peel any bad areas; cut out core. Clean your jars very well and then add 1 TBS lemon juice to each pint jar, 2 TBS to each quart jar.
Pack tomatoes into hot jars(I like to put my jars through the dishwasher and take them out hot from there. If you do not have a dishwasher you can run hot water over your jar to get it hot) It is important to not put hot liquid in a cold jar. It will make the jar crack; press gently on tomatoes until the natural juice fills the spaces between tomatoes, leaving ½ inch head space. Add ½ tsp salt to each pint jar, 1 tsp to each quart jar.
Remove air bubbles by sticking a butter knife down the sides of the jar. Go around the jar until there are no more bubbles coming to the surface.
In a small sauce pan bring lids to a boil for one minute. This gets the rubber around the ring soft and promotes the sealing process. While the lids are coming to a boil, wipe around the top of each jar. Make sure the are clean and have no juice on them. **This is a very important step** Failing to do it will make it so your jars do not seal.
Put jars down in the water. Make sure they are completely cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil and process pints and quarts 1 hour and 35 minutes in a boiling-water canner.