The end of summer is here and it’s time for me to harvest all of my tomatoes! I have had a bumper crop this year and don’t want any to go to waste. Kevin and I have enjoyed them in soups, salads, sandwiches and jams — the list goes on and on. I really wanted to hold on to the summer flavor all year long and so over the past few days, I’ve been canning each and every remaining tomato. No small feat!
Canning used to seem like something only our grandmothers did, but with everything food-related being so popular these days, canning is a hip project. Tomatoes are so easy to can and they retain the flavor of summer in the jar. In the midst of a cold dark winter here in the Northwest, I love to open up my canned tomatoes and make delicious sauces and soups.
If you haven’t canned before, starting with tomatoes is easy. Follow my steps and you’ll be eating summer fresh tomatoes year round.
Step 1 Wash and sterilize jars. Wide mouth pints and quart jars are the best. Most people only do quart jars. but I like to do pints as well for recipes that call for a smaller amount of tomatoes. Once the jars are sterilized, I like to keep them warm in a 200 degree oven on a baking sheet. This way they are ready for you.
Step 2 Peel tomatoes. Wash all of the tomatoes and then with a sharp knife, score an X in the bottom. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop 4-5 tomatoes in at a time; remove the tomatoes after between 30 seconds and 1 minute. Plunge the tomatoes into a bowl of ice water and remove. Doing this will allow you to slip the skins right off.
Step 3 Core and cut. Core each tomato and cut each one in ½ or into quarters, if large. Make sure you pour any juice that accumulates on the cutting board into the bowl with the cut tomatoes.
Step 4 Fill jars. Most canners hold up to 7 jars at a time, so I always pull 7 jars out and start by putting 1 teaspoon of canning/pickling salt into each quart ( ½ teaspoon for pints). Now, fill jars with tomato pieces and press down to fill jar with liquid. Take a knife and go around the edge to remove any air bubbles that are trapped around the tomatoes. Poor more liquid in, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
Step 5 Top the jars. With a warm damp cloth wipe the rim of each jar and place a warm top on each, using the ring secure the top.
Step 6 Place into your canner. I use a steam canner, but the most common is a water bath. Process according to your manufactures specifications. For my canner, I wait until it hits the green zone on the dial and then process for 45 minutes for quarts and 30 minutes for pints.
Step 7 Remove the jars carefully from the canner and place on the counter or table until cooled. The lids should pop closed.
Step 8 Enjoy you summer tomatoes anytime throughout the year.