I really enjoy canning. The first time I did it I was really hesitant. Now I have a system where I can get it done really quickly. The longest part is waiting for the water in the water bath canner to boil. I like to use all kinds of tomatoes from big slicers to little sauce tomatoes. Just mix them all together for a better final product In my opinion. Here is my step by step method for canning tomatoes.
Assemble the canning jars, new lids, rings, water bath canner, another pot large enough for two jars to fit, slotted serving spoon, and tongs. Fill the large pot up with water and place it on a burner set to high. Once the water is boiling put two jars in and two lids. Boil for 30 seconds. Repeat until you have done all the jars and lids.
Begin to boil the tomatoes. Prior to putting the tomato in cut an X on the bottom so the skin will peel off easy after boiling. See picture below. Let these boil for 30 seconds or so until the skins lift off easily. (I have never over cooked these before and I have let them boil for several minutes as I describe below).
Pull the tomatoes out of the water and put them all on a plate. (Note most canning guides tell you to put the tomatoes in ice to stop them from cooking. I don't do that though. I think it is a waste of ice and I am sure this is not how they did it in Little House on the Prairie. Yeah I don't think they canned back then either, but you get my point.).
Pick your next tomatoes and cut an X in them. While the second batch is boiling start peeling the skin off the first batch. I pull the skin up to the top and then cut the top with the skin off. Then core (cut out the center white area) the tomatoes. Note if I get real lazy I don't core every tomato. At this point you can cut up the tomato if you like. I do not because I make what I call a stewed tomato. I use it in chili and spaghetti and the chunks literally dissolve in whatever I use them in. If it is a smaller tomato I put the whole thing in, but if it is a large tomato like a Mortgage Lifter I will cut around the core and put it in the jar in pieces.
Pull out the second batch. I do not make it through cutting up the first batch before I pull out the second batch. I use a two or three plate rotation during this part of the process. I continue this rotation of cutting the X, boiling, removing and cutting until all the cans are full.
Clean the top of the lid with a clean towel. This is very important as the lid may not seal properly if the top is not cleaned.
Put on the top and the ring. Do not over
tighten the rings. Hand tight is what I do. Put the cans in the
water bath canner and fill up the canner with water until the jars are
completely covered. Put it on the range on high and wait for the boil.
Once the water boils I boil for an hour and a half (or one night I started
at midnight and fell asleep and did not wake up when the timer went off and I
woke up to smoke at 5 in the morning-I definitely don't recommend that method.
Legal disclaimer-reference the Ball Blue Book or the University of Georgia
has a good publication for processing times. Ball recommends 1 hour 25
minutes.). Then pull out the jars with the tongs. Or you could buy a jar
lifter which is about $12 at anywhere you get canning supplies. Tongs make
it interesting to lift a hot jar. Then wait for the pop. If the jar
doesn't process you can try to process it again (Take off the lid, clean the top
and try again) or use the tomatoes within the next day or so.
posts will have my homemade spaghetti recipe and chili recipe.