Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Canning Tomatoes

Every year my husband and I look forward to a weekend of canning tomatoes. We make a day of it and start out early at the farmer's market buying the tomatoes, and then bringing them home and doing the work. It is so satisfying to have a bunch of gorgeous jars of tomatoes and brings a taste of summer all year long.
It started about 10 years ago when I was in the Master Food Preserver Class with me canning a mere 25 pounds. We ran out that year so the next, with the help of my husband, we canned 50 pounds. That was sufficient for a couple years but last's a beautiful morning at the farmer's market and my husband talks me into 75 pounds. We still have a couple jars left from last year but last weekend at the market, my husband looked at the 3 boxes (75 lbs.) and decided we needed one more. So...100 pounds of tomatoes.
We are a pretty efficient canning team. The night before we load up the dishwasher with the jars and then sterilize them first thing in the morning while we go to the market (our dishwasher has a sterilize setting - if yours does not, you need to sterilize them in boiling water). When we get home, one of us washes the tomatoes & lids and replenishes the ice in the ice bath while the other boils and skins the tomatoes. Then one of us cuts them up and the other prepares the jars with lemon juice or vinegar (you need to add a little acid in case the tomatoes do not have enough). The several hours of prep work (and please do not let this dissuade you from canning - 100 pounds is a little overboard) are nothing compared to the processing of the 100 pounds. Each batch of jars needs to process in a boiling water bath for 85 minutes.
So, after a long day, we had about 40 quarts of beautiful, delicious canned tomatoes that we will use for the rest of the year for pasta sauces and soups.
I should probably get a word or two in about the frugalness of this activity. Each 25 pound box was $14 (some weeks they are only $10-12) - bargain! Here is the recipe from the Illinois Extension for canning tomatoes. If you only do 25-50 pounds it's a real joy.
Canned Tomatoes


  1. WOW! What organization & teamwork!

  2. BK in Traverse CityOctober 16, 2009 at 7:04 AM

    I love your web site! It is almost inspiring me to cook!

    BK in Traverse City