Today we have another flashback to summer post. Canning tomatoes. I was going to do salsa, but the first steps of salsa are the same as canning tomatoes, so we really need to cover canning tomatoes first.
Canning tomatoes starts with getting some tomatoes. Really not cost effective to buy your tomatoes at a grocery store, maybe at a farmer's market. But it's for sure cost effective if you grow your own or get them from a friend that planted 100 tomato plants and has "a few" extra tomatoes (really, that's where I got most of mine this year). Wash the little guys off.
Get a pot of water boiling. After your tomatoes are washed, put them in the boiling water a few at a time. I have a really cool wire basket thing that holds my tomatoes while they're in the pot then I can lift them all out at once--saves lots of time over fishing out individual tomatoes.
When they've been put in the cold water, it's time to core and peel them and cut off any bad parts you didn't already get rid of. If the bad part isn't too big, I just let it stay on the tomato until I get to the core/peel stage. Then I have a knife handy and just do all the cutting at once. It also helps the tomato stay together in the boiling water if you don't have chunks cut out of it.
Coring is pretty easy. Get a sharp knife and cut a cone shape out around the stem or where the stem used to be. That's it.
Heat up your lids. Really, it used to be that this wasn't so important--I used to put lids on jars cold all the time. But the lid manufacturers have gotten cheap and are not putting as good of gummy stuff on the lids and it really needs to be heated or it won't stick to the jar right away and your liquid will leak out while your stuff is canning. Just my theory, but it's backed by lots of my own kitchen evidence.
After your tomato pot is nice and hot (like boiling for a while) and you've skimmed off any extra juice you want to get rid of as well as foam (this pureed stuff foamed, I don't remember my chunked tomatoes foaming), it's ready to go in jars. Put 1 T lemon juice and 1 tsp salt in each quart jar, then pour the tomatoes in to fill it up. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings and put it in your water bath canner for 30 minutes.
When it's done canning, pull the jars out and let them cool off. This stuff is great for chili and soup base or whatever you use canned tomatoes for. Yummy yum yum.
NOTE FOR ROMA TOMATOES: If you have roma tomatoes, you can skip the whole boil and peel section. Their skins don't separate, so they can just be washed, cut the stem end off, and cut them as desired and put them in the pot to heat up. They also are a "thicker" or "meatier" tomato--not so juicy, so you won't have to skim much juice while it's boiling. Romas are awesome. Especially for salsa. But alas, romas weren't free this year, so I didn't can any. :)
P.S. Have you entered the giveaways for the herb seeds and the foodsaver yet?