August 31, 2015

Crushed Tomatoes

Another item checked off my canning bucket list: tomatoes.

My friends and I got our hands on a bushel (53-ish pounds) of San Marzano-type tomatoes and spent six hours blanching, peeling, de-seeding, cooking and processing them.

By the end of the night, we admitted defeat. We only had several pounds to go but could not bare to look at another tomato. Canning is exhausting on such a large scale, and I am sure tomato remains coated every surface of the kitchen.

However, it was all worth it. After five batches, we ended up with nineteen 1L (quart) jars of crushed tomatoes / tomato sauce / tomato juice.

Pro tip: having company and drinking wine helps with the canning process.

Chunkers was not very helpful and claimed my box as his own.

Looking forward to the taste of summer when I'm knee deep in winter.

Photo credit to my canning and drinking partners, Jen and Ray.

Crushed Tomatoes
From Canning For a New Generation
Makes about 7 pint (500 ml) jars

Note: we initially cored the tomatoes to help the skin separate from the flesh during the blanching stage but found that it wasn't necessary, as the skin came off anyway.

7 pounds ripe tomatoes, preferably Roma
Citric acid (1/4 teaspoon per pint jar) or bottled lemon juice (1 tablespoon per pint jar)
Salt (optional)
Basil leaves (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Near the bowl of ice water, have ready a medium bowl (for the peels and seeds) and a 6- to 8-quart serving pan (for the crushed tomatoes).

A few at a time, drop the tomatoes into the water; after 30 seconds, remove them with a slotted-spoon to the ice bath to cool. Pull off the peels and cut out the core (or dig it out with your thumbnail). Rip each tomato into pieces and scrape most of the seeds out into a bowl with the peels. Put the seeded tomatoes in the preserving pan. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes. (Reserve the peels and seeds for another use.)

Wash the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot, and put the flat lids in a heatproof bowl.

Set the pan with the tomatoes over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.

Put 1/4 teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice and (if using) 1/2 teaspoon salt in each jar. Ladle the hot tomatoes into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top. If desired, tuck a basil leaf into each jar. Use a chopstick to remove the air bubbles around the inside of each jar. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it's just finger-tight. Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 35 minutes to process. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the centre of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn't sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately. Label the sealed jars and store.


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