Nothing tastes better than home canned tomatoes. Once you being this endeavor you will have to continue. Store bought will never compare to the flavor of your own home canned tomatoes.
Things You Will Need
1 bushel canning tomatoes (found end of August and September)
1 clean kitchen
1 pack of 12 wide mouth canning lids and jars
2 large cooking kettles - one for blanching and one for cooking tomatoes
at least 4 clean dry towels
at least 2 wet clean clothes
1 small pot with water for boiling water for lids
Step 1A bushel of tomatoes will produce approximately 12 quarts. It depends on how good and dense the tomatoes are. In one kettle boil water. When it is boiling add tomatoes making sure the water covers them. Let them sit it the hot water until the skin cracks on one of them then remove them all and let them cool to the point of handling. This process is blanching. It makes peeling this skin much easier. Do about 1/3 of the bushel. This will give you about 4 quarts.
Step 2When the tomatoes have cooled enough for you to handle, core and peel the skin off. Make sure to cut out any bad or discolored spots. Quarter them and put them in your cooking kettle. (if any have a soured oder do not add it to your cooking kettle. I like my canned tomatoes chunky, but not too chunky so I chop at the tomatoes as they are cooking. Leave at least one inch from top of kettle to allow for the foam that is going to be produced as your tomatoes cook. Cook at the highest temperature you can without scorching the bottom. Stirring frequently.
While your tomatoes are cooking and you are stirring, prepare an area for your canned tomatoes. Place a towel down in a draft free area. Gather your clean jars - dishwasher clean are best if you have one. If not wash your jars in hot soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Put one tablespoon of kosher salt and one tablespoon of vinegar in each jar. Don't forget to keep stirring your tomatoes. You should start to see some foam accumulate. Some people scrape off the foam. I just keep stirring until it disappears and the tomatoe color deepens into a richer red.
Step 4Now, turn on the little pot with water to boiling. Add in your lids. Let them boil 2 -3 minutes and turn off. Set your clean canning jar (with the salt and vinegar in it) by the kettle of boiling tomatoes. I set it on a small plate for easier clean up. Caution! There will be splattering. Put your funnel on your jar and ladle in your tomatoes. Be careful to not splash yourself. This is really hot liquid! Fill up to the threads on the jar. If you overfill your jar will not seal properly. If this happens refrigerate and use as soon as possible.
Take your wet cloth and wipe the outside threads and the top of the rim to remove all tomatoe residue. Now, take the dry clean cloth and dry the rim. With your tongs grab a lid and dry thoroughly. Please the lid on the jar. Take a ring and screw it on. Not too tight, just snug. Wipe off with wet clothe and place on towel in designated area for your jars. Repeat the jar filling process.
Step 6When placing your jars on their towel, keep them close together, but do not let them touch. Cover them with a dry clean cloth and keep them from any draft. While cleaning up your kitchen you will hear a little metal sounding pop. It takes approximately 15 - 30 minutes. This is your sound indicator your jars have sealed properly. Some take longer than others. Your visual indicator is the indent on your lid.
From start to finish for 4 quarts it takes about 1.5 hours. The results are very rewarding especially during the cold winter months when you are whipping up your famous chili or goulash.
Tips & Warnings
Allow enough time. This is not something that can be rushed. Remember you are dealing with very hot liquid that splatters a lot. Clean up can be kept to a minimum if you clean up as you go. You have to stay in the kitchen the pretty much the whole time anyway so you may as well stay busy. Keep children and animals away from the kitchen if possible.
P.S. This may be an old wives tale - I am told if you are canning while pregnant the jars may not seal properly!