Canning Tomatoes: my secret obsession

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In another universe, I am kicking Betty Crocker’s ass with my domestic skills; you know, the one where I don’t have 4 kids and 2 businesses and 4 horses and whatever other annoying shit fills up my day. But today, I brought out my inner domestic goddess, the one that wants to actually create a sustainable homestead and not just stare at the book about how to do it that is collecting dust on my night stand, the one that wants to bake fucking pumpkin bread from scratch and feed her kids only organic shit from her own garden.

So today, I canned the shit out of these tomatoes. And it was amazing and I drank wine and listened to music and laughed with an old  friend. And it was oddly therapeutic…..until the school nurse called and said one of my kids puked and needed to get picked up, which brought me right back to the universe I live in where I don’t get to kick any Crocker ass :/

Anyways, back to the tomatoes. Canning tomatoes is a lost art. For me, it is all about tradition and family and good food. I come from a big Italian family and I can remember canning with my dad and nonnie when I was little and getting that same feeling of accomplishment I feel now when I pop open those jars to use in sauce. It has become more of an event every year than a chore. I invite over a few friends, open a bottle of wine, eat a bunch of tomatoes and Italian bread, and have a good time.

Apparently this is me having a good time. Where has this filter been all my life!?

Now, everyone does it differently and I have experimented over the years with different techniques and ways of doing it and have finally found one that is relatively easy, yields the most sauce, and has the best flavor and consistency.

Here’s what you’ll need for my method:

  • A victorio strainer (can be found HERE and are on sale. A great kitchen gadget for preserving. I also do my applesauce and salsa with it. It saves hours!!)
  • plum tomatoes (These are the best for canning. They have the most pulp to skin ratio and the sauce comes out nice and thick) You’ll need about 25 pounds to yield 7 one quart jars
  • A large sauce pan to boil down the sauce
  • 1 quart mason jars and lids
  • a pan large enough to submerge the mason jars under an inch of water
  • large bowls

Start the sauce!

  1. Wash the tomatoes unless you like grit from your garden in there (or someone else’s garden…let’s not lie…I didn’t grow all of these)!
  2. Depending on how big your tomatoes are, either quarter them or cut them into 1/8ths. I don’t cook mine beforehand, the Victorio does a great job with out them being soft from cooking down. One less step you have to worry about. 
  3. Next, run them through the strainer. My 6 year old did this, so you know it’s super easy. The Victorio does all the work and removes the bitter seed and skin leaving you with a nice sauce base.
  4. After you discard the skins and seeds, pour the sauce into a pan and boil down to the consistency you like your sauce. I usually reduce by about 1/3 to leave room to reduce more when I actually cook the sauce later on.
  5. Last step is to can them in a boiling water bath. I only add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart jar and process them for about 30 minutes in the boiling water. This is a great site if you aren’t familiar with that process HERE

I usually average 7 quart jars of sauce per 25 pounds of tomatoes. and don’t feel like you need to grow your own to get fresh sauce. I usually pick mine up from a farm stand and mix them with my own, as long as they’re fresh, you’ll preserve the taste of summer from anyone’s tomatoes.

They also make great neighborly gifts. And before you get all judgy, remember, this is my one thing! I’m a trainwreck at everything else, but I can tomatoes like nobody’s business LOL

Happy Canning Friends 🙂


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