Tomatoes, in my opinion, are one of the most versatile things you can easily grow in your garden. From salsa, to spaghetti sauce, bruschetta in a jar, crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and many more! With my produce baskets overflowing (not to mention all of the plants heavy with food in the garden), I needed a simple recipe that I can use as many, or as little, tomatoes as I wanted.
Before we delve too far into this, we need to review a bit of our tomato canning safety facts.
- Did you know that, unless specifically stated otherwise, tomatoes must be peeled before canning?
(UMN Extension, 2018); “Most bacteria, yeasts, and molds are difficult to remove from food surfaces. Washing fresh food reduces their numbers only slightly. Peeling root crops, underground stem crops, and tomatoes reduces their numbers greatly.”
- Did you know that tomatoes that freeze on the vine are no longer safe to can with?
(NCHFP, 2018); “However, new varieties, over-mature fruits, and tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines may have a pH greater than 4.6.”
- Did you know that if you freeze tomatoes (not on the vine), the overall density changes? Due to this, they are no longer safe to be used in all recipes.
(K-State Extension, 2017); “They will pack into the jars differently, absorb moisture differently, and the heat transfers through the jars differently. This could lead to underprocessing and spoilage. Tomato canning recipes are based on fresh tomatoes.”
You can can previously frozen (i.e. from a dedicated freezer appliance, not from the weather) tomatoes in a well-cooked product such as
(K-State, 2017); “a stewed or crushed tomato product, or made into tomato juice or sauce…not whole or quartered.”
[Yield: (1) Quart – scale the recipe as many times as you need]
(all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)
- 1 quart jar (plus flat lids and bands/rings)
[Hint: As always, I recommend an extra jar or two. ]
- 1 wooden spoon or meat/potato masher
- 1 water bath
- 1 funnel
- 1 jar lifter
- 1 stainless steel ladle
- 1 large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven)
- 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)
*Citric acid will have the least amount of acid taste once canned but may not be available to use. Some people say the vinegar may leave undesirable tastes.
**If your tomatoes taste too acidic when you are using them, the addition of sugar will help offset the acidity.
***Feel free to add any dried spices of your liking! Since the spices are added directly to the jar, you can make multiple batches with different flavorings.
****This recipes is best when scaled!
- Inspect each of your jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
- Place wire rack into bottom of water bath with ‘arms’ up to allow jars to be placed.
- Fill your water bath with enough water to cover each of the jars with 2-3″ of liquid and place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil).
- Start by removing the peel of all tomatoes.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Slice an X in each tomato and drop into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds.
- Remove the tomato from the boiling water and carefully remove the peel.
- Core all peeled tomatoes and remove any bruised spots.
- Quarter each tomato (it is optional to remove the seeds).
- Put 1/6th (roughly 7oz) of peeled and quarters tomatoes into your empty dutch oven.
- Using a wooden spoon or your meat/potato masher, carefully crush your tomatoes to extract the juices.
- While stirring, bring your crushed tomatoes to a boil.
- Once boiling, slowly stir in the remaining peeled and quartered tomatoes to your crushed tomato mixture making sure to not crush the additional tomatoes. (As the mixture cooks, the tomatoes will break down on their own.)
- While stirring constantly, bring the crushed tomato mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove empty jars from the water bath by lifting the wire rack and setting the arms on the rim of the water bath. Then, using jar lifter empty and remove the jar from the water.
- Using a ladle and funnel, add salt (optional – or any other desired dried seasonings), the required acidity of choice, and the crushed tomatoes into a hot jar keeping a 1/2 in head space. [Note: Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
- Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten.
[Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel.]
- Once finger tightened, return to warm water bath to avoid thermal shock. [Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.] Lower wire rack once full.
- Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
- Once boiling, set timer for 45 minutes
[Hint: refer to Elevation Rules to see how it changes your processing time].
- After 45 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
- Once again, lifting wire rack and placing arms on canner rim, use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
- Wait 12-24 hours before touching the jars. After 12-24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed). Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.
If processing in pints, use half of the required acidity and boil for 35 minutes (adjusting for altitude).
The crushed tomatoes can also be process in a pressure canner at 11psi for 15 mins or 6psi for 20 mins (both quarts and pints).
How to use your Crushed Tomatoes:
When you’re ready to use the crushed tomatoes;
- Dump and use as is (add sugar if too acidic)
- Add to home-made chili
- Blend and use in anything that needs tomatoes – sauce, homemade salsa, pizza, lasagna, … so much more
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