In past years, I have had tomatoes coming out of my ears. I don’t have a lot of tomatoes this year, unfortunately. But I do hope to gather enough in the next couple of days to can some crushed tomatoes. I love crushed tomatoes primarily for Taco Soup, but these tomatoes are also a great base for all kinds of sauces. Taco Soup is one of my go-to recipes for busy fall nights. Everyone loves it and that makes Mama happy.
When I first started canning tomatoes, it was a long and drawn out process. First, I washed all the tomatoes and cut off the blossom end and stem end. Then I blanched the tomatoes in boiling water and removed the skin. Then I removed the seeds (and half the tomato). Then I boiled what was left. And finally, I canned the crushed tomatoes in my water-bath canner.
When I was in Missouri at my parents’ house a couple weeks ago, I helped my mom can her tomatoes. Last year I developed a new procedure for canning crushed tomatoes and I taught my mom. Here’s what we did:
First, we washed the tomatoes and cut off the bad spots.
Then, we skipped two of the most time consuming steps – blanching and removing seeds. Instead, we put the tomatoes in the food processor and pureed them – skin, seeds, and all! It yields a lot more this way because we didn’t throw away half the tomato.
After we were happy with their consistency, we ladled them into sanitized jars, added 2 TBS bottled lemon juice per quart to protect against botulism, and processed them. My mom uses a pressure canner. She processed her quarts for 15 minutes. I use a water-bath canner and it takes quite a lot longer – 45 minutes for quarts according to my Ball Blue Book of Preserving – my “Bible” for home food preserving!!
In my experience, Roma tomatoes produce the best stewed tomatoes because they are less watery than other varieties. This year I planted primarily Roma tomatoes, but apparently, I did not plant enough. I’m just not getting the amount I usually do. Live and learn, eh? Next year, my garden is going to be 4 times the size it is this year…and I will be canning crushed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, salsa, sauce, all kinds of stuff. Can’t wait.